|Bright and beautiful mixed border at RHS Wisley|
Last weekend the Sock and pal Lazy Trollop went to wonderful Wizzers for a talk by James Alexander-Sinclair. Although the Sock has seen James 'perform' on several occasions he has always been hosting an event or strutting his 'Three Men Went to Mow' stuff (latest very funny video here) so the Sock was looking forward to actually hearing James' musings based on his book '101 Bold and Beautiful Flowers'.
The talk started at 10.30 a.m with a cup of tea but sadly no biscuits!!! There was definitely a slight rumble of empty tummies echoing around the hall not least from the Lazy Trollop sat next to me. The talk commenced and James was as entrancing as expected, holding the audience in his thrall with his passion and wit..... all, that is, except for Mrs. Starchyknickers of Surrey at the back who suddenly broke in with "I have NEVER heard so much swearing in a talk before!" uttered in a tone of whining prissiness. Crumbs! We hadn't even got to the 'stems entwined like the limbs of lovers enjoying a post-coital cigarette' bit! All James' had said was that forsythias are horrible and we should get rid of the bloody things! James handled the heckler with aplomb! He hardly missed a beat, apologising sweetly like a slightly chastened schoolboy. Then he carried on smoothly with a talk that perhaps lacked the more X-rated similes some of us have come to hope for!
Clic on the pic to enlarge
The talk continued until 12.00 at which time we were told that James would also walk us around part of the gardens explaining where some of the planting principles had been put into action. This was an unexpected bonus and after a pleasant lunch (and an enormous slice of Wisley Banana cake which was so big LazyTrollop and the Sock shared) a small group of us (sans Mrs. Starchyknickers) set off for a jolly jaunt around the borders.
First stop the new Rose Garden designed by Robert Myers. The Sock isn't usually so bothered about roses - there is a formal rose garden recreated in a nearby park which is slightly tedious - but here the roses have been planted close together in blocks of colour and it will be interesting to revisit next year when the scheme has had chance to establish. Now the main attraction for the Sock is the bold drifts of colour from the herbaceous plants. The fabulous dark blue Agapanthus at the front is 'Taw Valley'.
On to the Piet Oudolf borders running downhill to the lake and Glasshouse. At first sight from the top these don't look particularly impressive but on inspection we found the most exquisite planting schemes.
Echinops abounded and this one 'Veitch's Blue' is a must for the Sock's front gravel garden. Note the lovely little ladybird enjoying it too
It looked stunning against the glowing silver of the eryngium
Drifts of echinacea pulled the eye across the borders running in a snaking stream down to the lake
You do need to be a bit careful at Wisley there are some very odd people about...
The talk and walk cost £20 for members (more for non-members) and included a voucher for £5.00 to spend in the Plant centre. Anyone who can visit Wisley without spending at least £10 in the plant centre must be a model of absolute restraint!
The talk wasn't full by any means and the Sock wonders if the price (the RHS set) put people off, particularly as the details on the RHS site and even on the day were a bit vague as to what was included. Several people mentioned they might have gone had it been cheaper although at that point they didn't know the walk was included. As a bit of market research perhaps readers could comment on this? Given we hadn't expected the walk and would have been happy to pay for the talk alone, the Sock felt we got a lot of James A-S for our money! (Actually the Sock and the Trollop also got treated to tea and a cake afterwards but don't tell the others as they'll be jealous!)
All in all a very good day out. Also worth mentioning that the Sock didn't realise that there was a whole series of talks and events going on at Wisley and will be enrolling on one of the photography days later in the year. Perhaps the RHS needs to look at the way it publicizes these things in order to bring them to more members attention?