The other day I stopped to talk to a visitor to the garden. She commented that she thought she'd come at the wrong time of year. The wrong time of year? Never! There is always so much to see. I told her about all the special plants and places, things to look out for, listen out for (birdsong) and fragrances to sniff out. By the end of our chat she was smiling and raring to explore the garden, full of enthusiasm.
So what might she have seen? To start with, the snowdrops and crocuses have been glorious in recent weeks, just coming to the end, and in their place snowflakes, anemones (Anemone blanda is our Plant of the Month) and daffodils are waking up to create another carpet of colour. Iris unguicularis (above) flowers throughout the winter and is gorgeous right now, Cyclamen coum cover the ground on Battleston Hill with bright patches of pink, and the hellebores are still smiling with their shy flowers. Walk around and take a deep breath of the sweet fragrance from the daphnes and winter-flowering honeysuckles - they are such good value plants, going for months!
Camellias grow all over the garden - from overlooking the Model Veg Garden (a hive of activity there too now) to Battleston Hill and the Wild Garden. So pretty, so many colours. Magnolias are preparing to show off their starry and goblet-shaped flowers too, and even before they come out, the furry buds are fascinating (and strokable) on elegant branches.
I asked this visitor if she'd ever been to the Alpine Display House. Every day of the year it is full to the brim with dainty alpine plants, and it's never a dull moment. And outside of it we're just finishing the brand new Crevice Garden by planting it up with hardy alpines. This exciting development is a new feature to help celebrate the centenary of the Rock Garden. (Visit the Alpine Garden Society's Wisley Blog here for more about this part of the garden.)
The Alpine Meadow is alive too. First we had the crocuses, and now the daffodils, including delicate hoop-petticoats, are in flower. Soon the dog's tooth violets will join them.
Coming up soon is the Orchid Display in the Glasshouse, and the Fruit areas are full of blossom (plum, peach, etc) in perfect time for the Grow Your Own weekend. In the Model Veg Garden Mario and the trainees have been busy digging over the plot, and the rhubarb is coming up quickly.
The Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden is getting fuller every day, with roses, herbaceous and woody plants, and now with handrails for the steps installed. Won't be long now...
It is always the right time of year at Wisley. I hope that visitor enjoyed her day.