Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Garden Visit: RHS Wisley

A couple of weeks ago we visited RHS Wisley, partly to see the Butterfly exhibit, but also to get an exotic plant fix.
Wisley is set in some 240 acres of Surrey countryside, just to the south of London. Whilst the grounds are attractively landscaped  our main reason to visit was the large glasshouse. The main glasshouse is still quite a new addition to the garden, opened by the Queen in 2007, and contains three main climatic zones.

As you enter the first area is lush temperate planting, many of the plants here are hardy enough to try outside, or can be used as accent plants, overwintered in a greenhouse. Although its always enjoyable to see plants we grow at home in a permanently warm environment.

Begonia peltata
From the lush area the atmosphere changes as the lush planting gives way to arid conditions, with a series of arid beds. Cacti, euphorbias, aloes, cycads and agaves are the main planting, and with the warm dry conditions are thriving.

Magnificent Macrozamias

Aloe enjoying the winter sunshine.

Aloe striata subsp. karasbergensis

A mass of Aloe flowers.

A long standing favourite of ours - Encephalartos horridus

The final large section is where the butterflies were kept, a warm humid section, the plants here are much more tropical, and on a cold January morning were a great plant fix.

Variegated Cyperus

Now this is an idea that we may just borrow!

We have been to Wisley a number of times, yet despite being members of the RHS, have yet to visit in the summer. Hopefully we will correct that omission this year.


RHS Wisley


  1. Of course the plants are gorgeous but I was struck by your first photo and how nice the buildings look. I woudn't consider one of those (should it suddenly appear in our backyard) an eye-sore.

  2. It is great to see that modern glass houses can be just as beautful as the great Victorian buildings many of the older botanic gardens have.

  3. Hi Mark and Gaz,

    I have awarded you the Versatile Blog Award. Please visit http://boonton-newjersey.blogspot.com/2012/01/holleygarden-you-have-made-my-day.html to accept it and see the rules. I hope you will do so. Thank You, KL

  4. Thank you KL, it bought a cheer this frosty morning :)

  5. Thanks for sharing. I have never been to RHS Wisley, which is something I must change this year!

  6. The Wisley glasshouses make the Edinburgh ones look a bit old hat neither Victorian or modern. But hey it's the contents we go for. Wonderful series of photos although I'm more into lush green than arid dessert.

  7. Hi David, Glad you enjoyed the photos, and you must get to visit Wisley if you can!

    Thanks Janet, we have not been to Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, something we are hoping to address. We also prefer the lush plants, but the arid section is so well done at Wisley.

  8. What a fabulous array of textures. I had no idea Wisley had such impressive glasshouses. At least you couldn't buy anything ;-)

  9. True Janet! Otherwise it can seriously hurt our pockets, ouch! :)


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