I took an unexpected visit to RHS Wisley in Surrey this week – my first time to this garden.
I was blown away by the beauty and variety of settings and plants, and in three hours only just scratched the surface of what there is to see.
I loved the functionality of it all too – this is a prime training ground for budding horticulturalists, and where trials are carried out to find the most reliable varieties for growing in this country. These are given the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) – so useful for us amateurs when buying plants. There is also a national collection of 125 varieties of rhubarb!
But of course it was the grasses I was most interested to see:
Formal lawns create neat platters of green to counter the frothy planting in the ‘Country Garden’.
The Alpine meadow was full of colour and insects. While I was there members of staff were mowing a sweeping pathway through the meadow so visitors can get right up close and personal with the swaying grasses. These will be left to drop their seed to grow next year before being cut down – so it is being managed like a traditional agricultural hay meadow.
More exotic grasses were doing their thing down near Wisley’s new greenhouse – this one has the most beautiful silky soft claret plumes – Hordeum jubatumfrom North America and North East Asia.
Finally – more grassy wildness and beauty at the Fruit Mount – filled with dancing oxeye daisies. This raised area has a winding pathway to the top – with apples trained along the handrail. At the bottom are varieties we enjoy eating now like Braeburn – you ascend the varieties become older and older, until at the very top you find one with no name, but known to have been grown pre-1500 – Wow!