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‘A Garden…is the Purest of Human Pleasure. It is the Greatest Refreshment to the Spirits of Man’
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Despite the coldest Spring I can remember, the flowers at RHS Wisley in Surrey were doing their best to remind me that yes, warmer weather is on its way.
A few peonies were out in the sheltered Walled Garden while many of the rhododendrons and azaleas were flowering on Bottlestone Hill.
The gardens around the new horticultural scientific centre of excellence at Hilltop have been planted and will soon be open to the public. Colour was beginning to appear in the Rockery and although the Alpine Houses were closed because of Covid, the Alpine Meadow was stunning.
George Fergusson Wilson began creating the gardens at Wisley in 1878. Influenced by William Robinson of Gravetye Manor, Wilson received practical advice from Gertrude Jekyll. Jekyll wrote: ‘I have had the happiness of visiting Mr G F Wilson’s garden at Wisley, a garden which I take to be about the most instructive it is possible to see’.
Wilson died in 1902, and the estate was bought by Sir Thomas Hanbury. Hanbury gave Wisley to the RHS in Trust for perpetuity.
The Laboratory was designed in the vernacular style by Messrs Pine-Coffin, Imrie and Angell of London in 1914-16. It was purpose-built to house a lecture theatre for the training of student gardeners. It is soon to metamorphose into a shop while a new structure has been built for RHS scientists at Hilltop. The gardens around this new building have been designed by the award-winning Landform Consultants.
For more information on RHS Wisley and to buy tickets, visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley
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