Sometimes silence and solitude is welcome, especially when every other moment of the week (nay, the month) has been full of noise and 18 hour days. So at 7.30am on a Sunday morning I turned up to London Waterloo, spent 50 minutes on the train to West Byfleet and then 25 minutes cycling through the countryside to Wisley, spotting bunnies in the fields as I went. I arrived just a few minutes before the doors were open and was person No 2 through the door.
I took the photo below before any other visitor had stepped foot on the path that morning.
I walked to the top of the hill where the orchard cafe is located, found a good spot in the sunshine at one of the tables and sat there for an hour reading old issues of Country Life magazine. I then meandered around the garden, stopping here and there to read a bit more.
Wonderful blossom and tulips were aplenty.
I noticed lots of changes that have been taking place at Wisley. For example, the grass borders on the main lawn where the plant fayres take place have been completely removed and are due to be replaced by cherry trees. New paths have gone down, the avenue of “front gardens” has been closed (due for redevelopment) and an example allotment has gone in.
A new visitor centre is under construction (so parts of the car park are out of action), which makes cycling ever more sensible as you can arrive immediately outside the front door, rather than needing to park a mile down the road in the overflow car park and then entering via the arboretum.
Cycling from West Byfleet is entirely flat and there’s a delightfully-situated pub called The Anchor (straddling the canal) to stop off at for lunch or a cold drink on the way back to the station.
The camelias and magnolias were putting on a splendid show.
Wisley remains my favourite RHS garden. I never manage to see the whole of it on one visit, and I always see and learn something different.
When visited: April 2017
My earlier visits to Wisley