David is home for a couple of weeks and the children are still at school (they break up tomorrow), so we took the opportunity today to do something they object to strongly – we visited a garden. We used to take them to visit gardens at every opportunity when they were little and had no say in the matter but these days they groan and roll their eyes and the older two flatly refuse to come. We can sometimes persuade the youngest but even she’s starting to turn. As a result we haven’t spent a day out at a garden for ages.
Wisley is a place we know very well. When we lived nearby, we’d go there for a weekend stroll and a mooch around the plant centre; it was a place we’d take visitors; I’d often meet up with friends and our babies/toddlers for the day; I worked as a volunteer in the Trials Department once a week for about three years. We both love the place and miss it, so we set off in the car this morning for a much-needed garden-fix and day of happy memories. I took loads of photos (under a flat sky and in dull light but they give you a taster) and we checked out all our favourite spots and the new planting schemes. One bed was being entirely dug over by about 10 gardeners, all plants carefully removed into crates and buckets – there’s a problem with bindweed in several of the borders apparently. One guy looked as though he was digging down to Australia, all in search of a pesky bit of root. Even in RHS gardens there are no short cuts.
We sat on a bench to eat our lunch and were entertained by a toddler chasing moorhens, another attempting to uproot a sapling and an extremely bold robin interested in our food. The time flew by. We could have spent at least another couple of hours wandering about and a fortune in the plant centre (we restrained ourselves to some seeds and bargain narcissi) but we had to tear ourselves away to beat the rush-hour traffic. The kids are all away on a school trip in May so we’ll be back again soon.