Well, after the glorious weather we've had over the Easter weekend I think we all feel that Spring has arrived. I love this time of year when everything is shooting out and sprouting up. It's a joy to walk around the garden looking to see what has survived another winter.
The area outside the Visitors Centre is a lovely welcome to the garden. The dark purple pittosporum provides a perfect backdrop to the tulips and grape hyacinths, photo 1.
My first stop is the Wisley Corner, photo 2. A perfect spot to sit and enjoy the view. The Ipheion uniflorum 'Wisley Blue' is spreading out nicely, photo 3. Opposite this area I noticed that the Epimedium warleyense is flowering, the delicate flowers are quite charming, photo 4.
The Rose Garden doesn't disappoint either. The rhododendron, magnolia and tulips are still flowering and provide a pleasing setting for the Market Cross, photo 5. The tulips are beautiful, photo 6. Also, here are two sophoras, photo 7. There are about 45 different species and come from the pea family, Fabaceae. The names are misleading because they refer to the size of the leaves not how big it will grow. They have pretty yellow flowers in the spring. The smaller shrub on the left is Sophora macrocarpa and will grow to about 3 metres. The taller tree on the right is Sophora microphylla which will grow to 8 metres. The taller one was propagated by Bryan Hewitt, who is understandably very proud of his success.
After leaving the Rose Garden I walked along to the Bamboo Walk. These delightful cyclamen really enjoy the conditions here, photo 8. Also here is an Anemone ranunculoides, also known as wood ginger. This is the only one here in the garden and it has just one flower so I'm pleased to have seen it, photo 9.
Next I walked across the New River Lawn into the Kitchen Garden. The West Facing Wall area has been cleared and weeded. Many of the plants have been saved and moved to other areas in the garden. This has now been planted with a selection of fruit trees including cherry, plum, quince and gage, photo 10. They will be fan trained against the wall as they were in Mr Bowles' time. In between the trees are elegant supports, photo 11. These have been made by Steph and some of the garden volunteers using the stems from the red cornus growing by the pond. They will have sweet peas trained up them this summer.
At the far end of the West Facing Wall I stopped to look across the garden. I love this view, photo 12. The whole area has been weeded and mulched ready for the coming season.
Whilst I'm in the Kitchen Garden I like to pop into the glasshouses. There's always something new flowering here and I found this striking Anthurium 'Black Queen', photo 13, and the delicate Streptocarpus 'Saxorum Santiago', photo 14.
Outside again and I have a comparison for you. The first photo of the rhubarb bed was taken on 24th March, photo 15. I love the fresh colours of the rhubarb that has just had it's 'forcing pot' removed. The second photo was taken on 24th April, photo 16. What a difference a month makes in this lovely weather. Opposite is the Fruit Arch. I was convinced that the conference pear trees would meet at the top this year but it looks as though I'm going to have to wait another year, photo 17.
Further along the path is the Prunus laurocerasus 'Camelliifolia' which is looking splendid this year, photo 18. It is covered with hundreds of small flowers which are very pretty and fragrant, photo 19. But this tree comes with a dark side too as the fruits contain cyanide!!
Before I left this area I noticed the fan trained trees on the back wall, photo 19. A glimpse of what the West Facing Wall will look like in years to come. Above the wall is the Tulip Terrace. The daffodils were still going strong, photo 21, and the pots have been amazing too, photo 22.
Then it's down to the Rock Garden. I noticed that the Lathraea clandestina, also known as purple toothwort, had started to flower earlier this month and I wanted to see how it was doing. I was not disappointed as it was in full flower, photo 23. This very pretty plant is actually a parasite that lives on the roots of many plants and trees.
Finally, I'm back at the pond. A different view for you, looking towards the Pond Terrace reminding us of how tranquil the garden can be, photos 24 and 25. I know visitors are a necessity and it is good to share but sometimes I like it when it's just me in the garden.
I hope you have enjoyed this wander through the garden with me.