My first trip to RHS Garden Wisley.
Friday, March 7, 2014.
Dear mummy, the word on the grapevine (well the world of Twitter) was that The Royal Horticutural Society (RHS) had a free entrance day across the country at their venues. MITK (Mothers in the know) highlighted this little gem on Friday morning and as the weather was so beautiful, mummy and I decided to go. The quickest way for us was up the M3 onto the dredded M25 and down the A3. Mummy was surprised just how well we were doing until we hit the A3.
Queues of traffic stacked up from RHS Wisley back up to the A3, oh dear we thought, hope it’s not too busy. We were wrong. The place was stacked. It seems everyone got the same Twitter message that RHS Wisley were opening up their doors for free today, saving a fee of £12. We queued for about 20 minutes to get into the carpark and thankfully I was dozing in and out of sleep, but mummy was frazzled by the time we got parked up.
So the first mistake – mummy decided to leave the buggy and carry me in her wrap, little did she know that I had other plans today…. As soon as we got pass the gates I wanted out and down walking with the rest of the little people. This is fine, but it was a VERY long walk to our objective which was the Glass House.
On the way we saw the old house (Laboratory) and the canal. The canal was a large rectangular shaped pond with a fountain in the middle of it. Looked very pretty in the midday sun.
Mummy carried me for a little while until I saw my next adventure, climbing the steps of the Rock Garden up to the Model Vegetable Garden. I thought this was great fun, climbing up all the little stone stairs. Mummy on the other hand was not impressed having counted 30 or so steps and having to hold onto my hand for dear life as I dragged her up the steep hill.
We stopped occasionally to look at the water falls and small flowers and before we knew it we were at the top looking down across the Rock Garden towards the Glass House. From this vantage point we could see how busy it was. Streams of mothers with pushchairs queue the pathways and families were sat outside eating at the Glass House Cafe.
We continued with our journey back down the hill, baby steps. Walking past the Wild Garden, mummy made a note to visit it, once she had gone back to the car and retrieved the sensible buggy. No map was handed out at the entrance so we were just following the crowds and occasionally looking at the signposts. We finally (after 30 minutes of baby walking) made our way to the Glass House.
An impressive glass structure only recently opened by the Queen in 2007. It’s was funded by private donations and entrance fees and was built to celebrate the RHS Bicentenary. It holds, not only the butterflies we are here to see today, but a world class collection of Orchids and Tropical Plants.
In the Glass House we enjoyed exploring the subterranean world of roots in a dark damp area. It was an interactive learning zone in an underground cavern. It demonstrated the importance of roots in plant life and how they are often forgotten but very integral to the longevity of plant life.
I liked the way the area was set up and enjoyed looking at all the screens, green lights and touching the twisted sculptural roots. Much fun was had in this area.
We ventured out into the bright light of the Glass House and decided to join the short queue to gain entry to see the butterflies. Mistake number two – we thought the queue wasn’t going to take long….it took nearly 1 hour!!! No pushchairs are allowed in the Glass House, lucky because we didn’t have one on us anyway. Mummy wrapped me in her sling for the first 20 mins and kept me occupied, but it wasn’t long in the dull, boring queue that I wanted to go for a walk and get down.
It was hot and sticky in the Glass House queue and people were getting impatient with several families bailing out after a 30 minute wait, we questioned why we were still queuing. Mummy let me have a little walk around while a nice person in the queue held our spot, then suddenly we were at the front.
Inside the Butterfly House it was very hot, no buggys we’re allow due to large Tropical Plants and thin paths. Mummy carried me around and pointed out the butterflies floating above our heads. They were very beautiful, swooping down to eat pineapple and other sweet fruits.
Mummy took some great snaps to show daddy when we got home. The butterflies would only be at RHS until the 9th March so I was glad that mummy took me to see them, it was worth the visit.
As we escaped the humidity of the Butterfly House we walked through a garden of Orchids. I have never seen so many in such a small space. The RHS sure did a good job looking after all these plants.
An overdue lunch break leads us to a very busy Glass House Cafe, luckily we manage to grab a baby high chair, but there are not many left and we see parents struggle to find some. Mummy didn’t have any cake, as she’s given up cake for Lent (very brave with all the lovely cakes on offer mummy!!)
We decide to head back to the car to get the buggy and mummy carries me in her wrap. I don’t remember getting back to the car, I just remember waking up in my buggy and mummy wheeling me around Seven Acres and the pond.
One of our favourite finds in Seven Acres were the Wildfire grasses, which were yellow with red tips and they looked awesome against the green and browns. Behind them we could see the lake and the Chinese Pavillion which was built in 2005. Lots of people were sat on benches soaking in the sunshine. Lots of daffiolds were in bloom in the Wild Garden and we stopped to look and smell them. Snowdrops were also still poking their heads up from the soil. We also noticed crocuses and primroses. My favourite flowers were the purple Toothwort with thin star petals. Very pretty.
On our way back to the car, mummy let me have a little walk before our long jouney. So much to see and do, we didn’t get round half of the site before it was time to go home and beat all the Friday traffic. Next time we will bring daddy and a picnic blanket. I think we will be regular visitors hopefully returning in June to see the roses.
Thanks for putting on this free day RHS, even though it was very busy we still enjoyed seeing the butterflies and the beautiful flowers.