We had to make a sudden journey last week to the furthest SE corner of the UK , unfortunately to attend the funeral of an aunt who lived in Kent. Where she lived in Margate is right on the corner of the British Isles and when we looked out to sea, I’m not sure if we were looking at the English Chanel or the North Sea, whatever it was, the wind was coming straight from Russia and it was freezing! We woke up the next day to a lovely sunrise and made the decision to call in at a couple of gardens on the way home.
Our first stop was at Wisley, the flagship garden for the RHS. This garden is just off junction 10 on the M25 motorway, how I hate all that traffic! Wisley doesn’t have a winter garden as such but we were sure we would find something to admire. In the photo above, compare the grass on the left in the sunshine with the grass on the right which is still frosted from the night before. I was so pleased to see my old friend, the red stemmed Cornus on the left.
They had even planted some in a large urn, yellow and red stemmed in together. These looked like some stems just pushed in for the winter, which is an idea which is easy to copy, then can be removed for summer bedding, by which time they will probably have rooted ready for planting elsewhere.
When I saw all the frost glistening in the lovely sunshine I knew the camera was going to be busy. I don’t know what the red leaf is from, there weren’t any red leaved trees or shrubs near where we were, but they look pretty together.
Mahonia Winter Sun looking beautiful in the winter sun!
Don’t the coloured stems of willow and cornus glow in the low winter sunshine.
When we got round to the other side, we found that the willow is Salix alba var. vitellina Yelverton. Coincidence – Yelverton is a village near us in Devon.
A lovely Japanese folly beside the lake.
In the foreground there are the remains of Gunnera, with their leaves placed over them to protect them from the frost. Over on the other side of the lake the red tree looking so beautiful is a Taxodium.
You know me, I can’t resist a lovely sculpture!! They look beautiful with the coloured stems in the background, double the effect because of the reflections!
More sculptures, but not so obvious this time. Bullrushes made out of willow on metal frames – very effective.
Walking round the lake we found a huge pool of beautiful golden leaves, all from the tree, Nyssa sinensis above.
Such a super sinuous seat! However we weren’t tempted to sit on it as it was still covered with a thick layer of frost!
Ducks are not keen to go into the water, not surprised as part of the lake was still frozen, they’re still trying to warm up in the weak winter sun!
A last look at the lake before we continue our walk, just love the reflections.
A row of frosted grasses glistening in the sunshine.
I found some flowers on Vibernum farreri braving the frosts that Wisley has had for a few days now.
Something has been wrapped up for winter protection, couldn’t find any labels so I don’t know what is hiding from the winter cold.
It’s not always the expensive plants that look the best. A clump of Lunaria annua, the common honesty, looked so fantastic, backlit by the sun.
A huge bush of Fatsia japonica was covered with flowers, I doubt if any insects were out the day we were there, but if it warmed up a bit, there would be plenty of food for them here.
A bit further round, we came to the stream garden and rock garden. I remember when this lovely sculpture of a brown bear with his fish was new, over the years he has started to grow a winter coat of moss to keep himself warm and cosy.
We found a container full of pitcher plants, sorry, the label was so worn, I couldn’t read it. I had no idea they were hardy, would have thought that they would all be collapsed in a heap at this time of year – it looked very happy in spite of the ice crystals!
Decorated with frost is Hebe lycopodioides, a large spread of it up on the rock garden, the frost almost looks like flowers.
The rock garden in its bleak simplicity, there is still beauty in the bare trees, the rocks, the frost, the bridge and the splash of red from the cornus. Just imagine it in a couple of months time when all the rock plants start flowering, it will be a mass of colour, so different from now.
Time to go now, we really enjoyed our visit to Wisley but it was now time to find somewhere for lunch and warm up, before visiting the winter garden at Hillier Arboretum, but that will be another post for another day.