Wisley an exceptional garden
Founded in 1804, the Royal Horticultural Society of England is now over 200 years old. This organization with just over 600,000 members is without a doubt the largest horticultural society on the planet. Wisley's magnificent garden is the jewel of this horticultural society which contributes greatly to the advancement of horticulture both in Europe and in the rest of the world.
THE LARGEST HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY IN THE WORLD
One of the main aims of the Royal Horticultural Society is to improve the health of humans, plants and the environment through the practice of ecological and sustainable gardening. With an annual budget of over £100 million, much of which comes from membership fees, the RHS is able to offer its members an impressive array of services and activities.
Wisley includes a superb collection of azaleas and rhododendrons, some specimens of which reach more than 5 meters in height!
Each member gets privileged access to the fantastic RHS website and receives a monthly copy of The Garden magazine. In addition to finding various information on plants, horticultural techniques and landscaping, you can learn about the latest developments in botany and plant biology. This company manages four libraries easily accessible to members and also produces numerous publications in collaboration with major publishing houses, such as Dorling Kindersley and Timber Press.
Thousands of people also take part in the exhibitions organized by the society, including the famous Chelsea Flower Show which has been held in London every year since 1912. The Royal Horticultural Society has five magnificent gardens, Bridgewater, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor and Wisley, which are visited each year by nearly 3 million people. These, as well as around 100 gardens in England, elsewhere in Europe and in North America, can be visited absolutely free on presentation of the RHS membership card.
The most important garden belonging to the RHS is Wisley. Created 220 years ago, this garden, with an area of 97 hectares, twenty more than the Montreal Botanical Garden, is certainly one of the most visited and appreciated in England.
Wisley comprises several sections, including a huge arboretum, an orchard, numerous greenhouses – including the famous Millenium Glasshouse built to mark the arrival of the new millennium –, an alpine garden and around fifteen landscaping dedicated to edible, useful and ornamental plants from all corners of the planet.
In addition, a new ecological building called Hilltop was inaugurated in June 2021. This house is actually a new center of horticultural excellence, a place where the RHS wants to inspire the next generation of scientists.
A new eco-friendly building dedicated to horticultural science called Hilltop was recently built in Wisley.
While all of the amenities that make up Wisley are worth visiting, here is a brief description of those that are among the most popular and attractive. First, let's mention Battleston Hill, a garden planted with tall trees at the foot of which grow an imposing collection of judiciously arranged shade plants. Located in this layout, the bamboo collection and the Jurassic Corner, made up of tree ferns and Wollemi pines, obviously strike the imagination.
The Wildlife Garden is made up of plants whose flowers rich in nectar attract many pollinating insects.
The garden facing the laboratories where scientists work to advance horticulture and biological sciences is also noteworthy. The smaller gardens, such as the Exotic Garden and the Walled Garden West, where many exotic plants grow, are certainly the most charming because of their enveloping and exotic atmosphere.
In addition to the beauty of the facilities, the organization that governs Wisley certainly impresses visitors. Whether it is the maintenance of the various plantations or the catering for visitors, everything is done here with rigor and efficiency. Here are some examples that will allow you to appreciate the great organizational sense that reigns at the HRH.
The reception in the garden is done in a friendly way, but also very efficient. Plans of the garden and information documents are readily available, the activities of the day are clearly indicated and an audio guide is offered to those who wish to maximize a short visit to the premises. The restaurants on site offer varied, healthy and very good quality food. In addition, meals are served on washable and reusable dishes. Many recycling and composting bins are also available to people. In fact, more than 1,000 cubic meters of organic matter is recycled every year in Wisley.
As a pleasant surprise, many of the plants grown in Wisley can be purchased at a large garden center located just near the parking lot.
Whether you want a pot or a tree fern, visitors can buy the accessories and plants that made them fall in love during their visit. In addition, a horticultural information kiosk is accessible during business hours. A gardener is happy to answer people's questions.
For more information: rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley