Friday 11th September saw a group of members and friends gathered in the West Green car park for a coach outing organised by Mabel Clackson to the Mecca for gardeners, the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley.  To some it was an annual pilgrimage but for Beryl and I it would be a first visit for over 30 years.  We were keen to see if we remembered anything of that previous occasion.

Initial impressions were not promising with so much traffic it took over an hour for our coach to get in, but once through the entrance stile and armed with a most comprehensive guide of what’s to see and where to see it, the day promised to be a most enjoyable one.

Straight away we recollected the main building and the rectangular pond as you set off on your journey of exploration.  Later in the day we remembered the regimental rows of trial grounds seen from the hill.

On this particular day there was an extensive craft fair in the grounds (thus the traffic jam) which was comprised of a number of small tents rather than one large marquee.  The crafts on offer were exquisite but largely beyond our pocket and anyway we had come to see the gardens.

There is an awful lot to see at Wisley and several miles of footpaths. Without the map one would be doubling back on oneself many times.  However we planned our route and by the time we had to return to the coach we managed to cover pretty well everything although a bit sore of foot. We had taken sandwiches to save time but I understand the restaurant facilities were excellent but with long queues.

Of all the features we were most impressed with the huge multilevel glasshouse and spent quite a while exploring it.  We were also taken with the several sculptures dotted around the gardens and the view from the viewing platform on a little hill but with so much to see it is not possible to pick out all the interesting items. Sufficient to say, Wisley is a must for anyone with even only the slightest interest in gardening.  Thank you Mabel for organising the trip.

Peter Armstrong


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