Monday, December 21, 2020

Day Trip from London

Just a sampling of the late autumn colors at RHS Garden Wisley.
I always find something interesting to see in the English gardens – no matter what the season.

By the first week in December, I was finally able to book a weekend time slot to visit RHS Garden Wisley, a 240-acre botanical garden located southwest of London in Surrey. It wasn’t raining for once, so we decided to bike part of the way to the gardens and organized another day trip from London. 

I’ve visited the gardens a couple of times, but hubby had never been. Normally, we would have planned our day so we could do something outdoorsy and then have a pub lunch, but alas, all pubs were closed because of new Covid-19 restrictions.

Even during a late English autumn, you’ll still find plenty to enjoy at RHS Wisley. Upon entering, there’s also a sign indicating which areas look interesting or have something currently blooming. I took a photo of the sign as well as the map so we could plan our afternoon.

Throughout the gardens, you’ll find several water features that are perfect for autumnal reflections. You may even spot the large koi in the pod or the grey herons that sometimes roost in the trees.


You’ll also find pretty berries such as the bright orange sea buckthorn as well as the peculiar purple berries on the “Imperial Pearl” (callicarpa bodinieri).

The Mixed Borders by the Glasshouse provides something of interest in every season – currently seedheads of perennials, some fennel-like plants and tall, golden grasses.

Surprisingly, the Rose Garden was looking exceptionally lovely even during the first weekend in December. I was surprised to see so many roses still blooming that we wondered if Wisley had a strange microclimate or if even hot water was pumped underground around the roses.

Check out the interesting purple color of the Rosa Rhapsody in Blue “Frantasia.”

Special Sculptures at RHS Wisley

Also, you can’t miss the four larger-than-life sculptures – called The Four Seasons by contemporary American sculptor and filmmaker Philip Haas. The figures are 3-D interpretations of paintings by 16th-century Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo and re-imagine the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in human form. The exhibition has been extended through May 2021, so you should have time to see it.

What’s your favorite season in England?


How to Reach RHS Wisley

Honestly, you need a car or a bike to easily reach Wisley. By public transport, you could take a train from Clapham Junction to West Byfleet and then walk 3.5 miles to the gardens. Our best option was to take the train to Weybridge and then cycle about 6.5 miles, one way, on fairly quiet country roads. Maybe next time, we’ll try cycling the entire 50-mile roundtrip to the gardens.

Christmas tree in front of the Glasshouse, which was unfortunately closed
due to Covid-19 restrictions.
A strange plant that looks like fennel, but doesn't smell like it.


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