Tuesday 12 August 2014

A sunny day at Wisley

The great parallel borders rightly attract huge interest and admiration, but look at how important the conifers beyond it are in giving height and diversity of shape to the whole landscape.

A meeting took me to Wisley on Thursday and for once I had a couple of hours free afterwards to actually get out and enjoy a walk round the garden. I've been visiting Wisley for over 30 years and I can honestly say that I've never seen the garden looking better: it's a real credit to the team looking after it. These are a few iPad snaps, hopefully conveying an impression of a great garden on a beautiful afternoon.

A bluish section of the herbaceous border. The shimmer of Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba' behind the Agapanthus is particularly lovely.

Stipa gigantea in the new rose garden - mixed planting at its best. Those important conifers are in the background again.

On the trial field is a trial of Stipa and relatives - a very interesting demonstration of a useful group of grasses. The blonde plumes of S. pseudoichu are very striking.

This the ichu of which the preceding plant was pseudo-, Jarava ichu, a grass from the Andean altiplano. Presumably ichu is a local name for it. Neither is well known and it will be interesting to se if they become established in general cultivation.

The Dahlia trial is just coming into full display. I liked the open-ness of 'Tom McLelland', as well as its flower shape and colour. It would work well in the border.

Outside the alpine house a huge bush of a shrubby Scabiosa (no label, perhaps someone will let me know?) looked as good in seed as it must have done in flower. 

It's good to see Bowles' Corner revamped and looking cared for again.

Hydrangea paniculata Vanille Fraise ('Renhy') looking stunning at the bottom of Battleston Hill, and nicely demonstrating the aptness of its trade name.

Lagerstroemia indica very seldom flowers well in this country, but this one is very happy in a warm corner by the Laboratory, clashing merrily with the brick wall.

The grass borders have been greatly enhanced by the planting of perennials among them, and the seam of Verbena hastata running through them is extremely successful.


  1. Dear John,
    wow, what a garden and what a variety!!! Thank you for sharing all this beauty!
    All my best from an Austrian Gardener

  2. John,

    Could the scabious be Lomelosia [Scabiosa] cretica?


  3. You make me very homesick for Britain! I love Wisley. Beautiful pix.

  4. Hi John. The Scabiosa is Scabiosa graminifolia. That clump has been there for longer than I worked at Wisley!

    Paul Cumbleton


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