This year is my second year as a member of the RHS, and at the start of the year I wondered if I could manage to visit all four of their gardens. Some, I knew would be easier than others. Living in London, getting to Wisley in Surrey and Hyde Hall in Essex are relatively easy and are the gardens I’ve been to most.
The other two, Harlow Carr in Yorkshire and Rosemoor in Devon, I’d never been to, but with relatives in Devon I thought this was do-able. We were in Devon in March and it was on our ‘to visit’ list but our visit was cut short when the snow started to come in. We knew we’d be back later in the year, and so my plan was to sneak in a visit then. That was last weekend and even though the forecast was rain, we made it happen.
Though if we’d not made it to Harlow Carr, made possible by a tactical UK break, then maybe we’d have left it for another year. I’m glad we didn’t though as it’s nice to meet the challenges we set ourselves, even if visiting each of the RHS gardens in a year isn’t the most strenuous of challenges!
Wisley in Surrey is the RHS’ historic home and the RHS garden I’ve visited the most. The hot houses are always a favourite spot in January and February, as not only are they warm but they’re full of butterflies and exotic plants. Other usual haunts are the alpine houses and the vegetable garden, and I’m continually amazed by the Bonsai too.
I’ve only been to this garden a few times, despite the fact that it’s only in Essex but each time it’s been full of sculptures. They’ve had some building work done and it was great to see the new visitor centre and cafe open on my last visit. And I finally got into the new vegetable garden, which opened a week after my previous visit, bad timing or what?
My first visit was in July during our week in Yorkshire, and as you can tell from the photos we had great weather. I realised while creating this post that I’ve not shared much from there yet, but on the plus side there’s some sunny posts to look forward to over the winter.
The final garden and the last one I visited, after an aborted attempt much earlier in the year. I’m not sure why we haven’t been before when we head down to Devon normally at least once a year. It’s a place we’ll be going to again, and while it was full of autumn colours on our visit it’ll be great to see it in a different season to see how the garden changes.
So there’s a selection of photos from each of the four gardens, I’m not sure I’ll manage to get to them all again next year - but you never know. And then in 2020 the challenge increases as the new RHS garden in Manchester is due to open, now that I’ll be keen to see.
Have you been to any of these RHS gardens, or more than one?