The big decision this morning was whether to go to Wisley or not. First thing the weather wasn’t good. In fact it was very wet. Then, gradually, the clouds vanished, the sun shone down and the sky was blue as blue can be.
Mirinda texted Australia saying she wasn’t Skyping this week because the sun was out.
We left the girls to a couple of Twistie sticks and headed up the A3 to the already crowded garden. At first I thought, perhaps the crowds were a result of it being Mothering Sunday. But, no, that’s next week (I think).
Perhaps it was because it was International Women’s Day though that didn’t make a lot of sense. Except in, perhaps, a stereotyping way. It was probably just because the sun was out.
We were rather lucky to get a parking spot in the first car park (there’s three for cars) and strolled across to the entrance, by-passing the ticket desk (Mirinda’s an RHS member and I’m her guest) and entered the glory that is RHS Wisley.
We figured we’d have brunch first. And I have to say that the eggs they use in their scrambled eggs are amazing. Free range and probably organic, if you never have another egg in your life, you have to have these.
The restaurant boasts that they supply as much produce from the garden as possible. The rest is sourced from as close as possible. Though I think my salmon was probably from Scotland rather than the rather large water feature above.
Of course, we wandered around to the glasshouse. Mirinda had a plan of attack. She wanted to visit the glasshouse and the alpines most of all. I wanted to see the bonzai alley but that would depend on time and weather.
What I hadn’t realised was that I also wanted to see, what I called, the Veg Heads. These are three dimensional versions of the type of paintings created by Italian artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Mind you, while Giuseppe managed Four Seasons in One Head, the four sculptures in the garden each represented a separate season.
Tomorrow sees the beginning of a series of sculptures scattered throughout the garden so these may be the advance party. Whatever they are, they are very clever. Mind you, if you were interested in buying one, you’d have to have a very big garden.
The glasshouse was as glorious as it always is. From the orchids to the dessert to the equatorial rainforest, each of the zones had to be walked through.
We overheard a young mother tell her younger son how a friend of his was now in Australia and would be experiencing the same heat and humidity he was feeling at the time. We exchanged knowing glances. Mind you, I said, that rather depends on where in Australia he’d moved to. I think he’d be used to Tasmania before arriving.
Actually, we had to go around the glasshouse twice because Mirinda had missed the dessert zone.
The alpines were next. They are up high, on a hill, giving an amazing view back towards the glasshouse and lower gardens. Beautiful. If one worked at Wisley one would never grow tired of the view. I’m sure. But the view couldn’t hold us back as we wandered through the alpine garden.
Most of the flowering alpines are in long greenhouses while other ones are dotted outside, between rock and crevice gardens. (I’m quite keen to build a crevice garden. All I need to do is find a load of Roman roof tiles.)
We headed back down the hill via the bonzai alley where we marvelled at the age of some of the Lilliputian trees. The twisted, tortured branches, the tiny pots, the love and care, they were all quite amazing.
The weather had been marvellous but it was destined to end. It was while we were admiring the sculpture of the diving woman that the spots started. She wasn’t bothered given she was wearing her swimmers and was made of resin but the rest of the population started heading for shelter.
We followed the swarming mobs to the covered bridge across the other water feature and headed for the garden centre.
I was thinking I’d be spared a garden centre this weekend. What a silly man I am sometimes. Obviously a visit to RHS Wisley would not be complete without the final trip through the garden centre, handily placed between the garden and the exit.
And then the rain pelted down. Great torrents of water splashing and sploshing on the many cars now abandoning the garden car parks.
Back at home, the sun returned (for a bit) and we relaxed.
A splendid day out.