a french garden


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Wisley in the wet

I am visiting the UK at the moment and last Tuesday my son asked if I would like to go anywhere.  The idea of going to the RHS Garden Wisley to see how the Magnolias were getting on was very appealing.  The Royal Horticultural Society call Wisley their flagship garden and it is situated between Cobham and Ripley to one side of the A3 in Surrey not far from the M25.  Not an auspicious location but you forget all about that once you go in to the gardens.

Magnolia bud

The Magnolias were indeed opening.

Magnolia

Some of the trees were breaking bud in abundance.

Wisley

Over a long view you can see the mixture of leafless trees and shrubs in flower.

Rhododendron (Golden Oriole Group)

Rhododendron (Golden Oriole Group)

The Rhododendron were also providing colour.

Rhododendron schlippenbachii

Rhododendron schlippenbachii

But I had come here to see what Magnolia were in bloom.

Magnolia stellata

Magnolia stellata

The Magnolia stellata was pristine.

Magnolia stellata 'Jane Platt'

Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’

And flouncy.

Magnolia cambelli

Magnolia cambelli

And all the Magnolias that were blooming were magnificent.

Stachyurus chinensis celina

Stachyurus chinensis celina

But of course at Wisley you can see some things that are more unusual.  This small shrub growing to only two metres produces its flowers in winter to late spring.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha is another small shrub I would love to have in my garden.  It has perfume and flowers at this time of year and is related to Daphne.

Osmanthus x burkwoodii

Osmanthus x burkwoodii

Another beauty I would like to add to my garden.

Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer'

Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’

Time was passing and the clouds were gathering when I caught sight of a tree in the distance that had an immediate appeal.  I photographed it and then checked on its name.  I was so surprised that I had admired the same tree in France but in the autumn when its leaves were a stunning red.  I was delighted to have seen it in the spring too – and still looking stunning.

Wisley

Wisley

‘The rain started and we decided to head to the cafeteria for lunch.  As the doors to the cafeteria opened the smell of baked potatoes and something else (soup?) rushed out and I veered away without looking at the source leaving my son to fend for himself in the hot food queue.  I grabbed a scone and joined the queue for coffee to be joined shortly by my son with a sandwich wrapped in clingfilm on a tray.  I drew my own conclusions about the choices of hot food.  After paying it was obvious that the place was completely full with no seating available but luckily a break in the clouds allowed us take our tray outside as it was a mild day.

Wisley it such a magic place but their self-service cafeteria inside the grounds lets them down badly.  I would recommend coming equipped with a picnic or using the expensive  restaurant.

Silver birch

Not wanting to end on a sour note, my son wondered if the white bark of the silver birch was intentionally polished by the gardeners as the lower trunk is whiter than the higher reaches.  Perhaps it is just polished by the hands of the many admirers that pass by and stroke it lovingly?

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