A few days ago, a group of us from Dixter had the opportunity to visit Wisley, one of Britain's most famous gardens. Wisley is the flagship garden of the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) for a reason: it spans an impressive 170 plus acres (gardened) and showcases a wide variety of beautifully designed garden spaces, a cutting-edge glasshouse, an orchard, an arboretum, and trials field, among other things. They are also one of the leading gardens for horticulture education and science in the UK. Wisley began on the principle of being an experimental garden, one that would help lead the way in the field of horticulture, and this is something they continue to strive towards to this day.
Wonderful autumnal hues in the Glasshouse Borders designed by Piet Oudolf
Unfortunately, it's a bit of a drive from Great Dixter, so we only had a 3 hour window to take it all in. I had the privilege of visiting Wisley in 2008, so although this visit was quick, I was able to prioritize. It was interesting to see things that have changed, or plantings that have grown in the last 5 years.
The Perennial Meadow has really filled in since I was last here
Some of my favorite spots are the Rock Garden & Alpine Houses, the Glasshouse Borders, the Perennial Meadow, and the Grass Gardens.
The Alpine Houses
View through the Rock Garden
Lovely Grass Garden composition by the restaurant
Great fall color on this Acer palmatum 'Elegans'
The whole garden has a wonderful balance of informal and formal elements and is maintained meticulously. The plant combinations and horticultural practices are some of the best you'll see anywhere, which is why it's a world-renowned garden and one of the most visited gardens in the UK.