June visit to RHS Wisley

Outings during 2023 have been very well attended and often oversubscribed. As you will know we were looking for one or more people to take on this role for next year, so we are pleased to report that Gordon and Vivienne Smith are volunteering time and expertise to help Sibyl and me with next year’s outings. It means we will be able to organise the usual number of visits in the summer months. 

An early start from Bridport for the lengthy journey to Wisley had us at the entrance by 11:30 when some of us joined an informative guided tour by a knowledgeable volunteer. The tour took us past some stunning flowering Dogwoods like Cornus kousa ‘John Slocock’; wonderful roses – the climber ‘Violette’ happily scrambling up a Scots Pine is new to me.  It’s easy to get carried away by the individual plants but what was particularly interesting on this visit was to see the impressive changes – RHS Hilltop, which houses ‘the home of gardening science’, is the centre piece of the new development with several attractive new gardens, World Food, Wellbeing and Wildlife demonstrate the RHS moving with the times.

Some of our old favourites, such as stunning mixed borders and the Jellicoe canal, are as we remembered from many previous visits but the wonderful Trials Garden, which used to be over the hill towards the South, has now been relocated to a more compact site nearer the heart of Wisley. Plants given AGMs or awards of garden merit, are selected from these Trial Gardens for the benefit of us everyday gardeners.

Piet Oudolf has been commissioned to rework his ‘Glasshouse borders’ but work had to be suspended to relocate a rare species of snail found on the site. We look forward to seeing the reworked garden when the snails have been moved on.

Despite being a long and very hot day, there was general agreement that it had been an enjoyable visit.

Cornus kousa ‘John Slocock’ in flower

Hilltop the new centre for Gardening Science in the background with wildlife tower