Horticultural highlights at RHS Garden Wisley in 2016

Butterflies will be brightening up the winter days at Wisley. Shown here os the Asian Swallowtail bu

Butterflies will be brightening up the winter days at Wisley. Shown here os the Asian Swallowtail butterfly (Photo RHS - Julian Weigall) - Credit: RHS / Julian Weigall

In a gardening special, here we bring you an exclusive peek at what this year looks like for Wisley, the flagship garden of the RHS, and all the horticultural highlights to make a note of in your diaries

The rock garden at RHS Garden Wisley in the springtime (Photo RHS - Georgi Mabee)

The rock garden at RHS Garden Wisley in the springtime (Photo RHS - Georgi Mabee) - Credit: RHS - Georgi Mabee


Butterflies in The Glasshouse

Saturday January 16 to Sunday March 6

Beauty takes to the air in this yearly event as hundreds of butterflies fly among the jungle-like tropical plants of The Glasshouse. Keep an eye out for all the different species, such as the striking blue morpho, giant owl, king swallowtail and colourful Malay, and marvel at their splendour. Visitors can also learn all about these fascinating and colourful insects via interactive displays, and watch them feed from special feeding stations – the ideal event to bat away the post-Christmas blues.


A Sea of Crocuses

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Throughout the month

Crocuses take to the spotlight for February when the winter sun will shine on a sea of purple at RHS Garden Wisley. Sure to be a feast for the eyes, these beautiful flowers (including Crocus tommasinianus, which has flowers varying from lilac to deep purple) are a must-see for the green-fingered amongst you who appreciate all things pretty. Spilling over the Alpine Meadow, Bowes-Lyon Pavilion and The Pines bank, there’s no doubt that crocuses reign supreme this month.


Spring Plant Fair

Friday March 18 to Sunday March 20

March marks the start of the gardening year. Winter is over and spring is just around the corner! Well, what better way to celebrate than picking up some quality plants from specialist growers and nurseries at the Spring Plant Fair? With a wealth of different flowers and plants to choose from, there’s sure to be something to suit your garden. So, whether you plan on a horticultural makeover or just want to brighten things up a bit, this is the event for you!


Shohin Bonsai Weekend

Saturday April 2 to Sunday April 3

Japan comes to Surrey in April, when the whacky and wonderful world of the bonsai tree goes on show for all to see at RHS Garden Wisley. Displays by the National Shohin Bonsai Show and the Sutton Bonsai Society will offer an in-depth insight into the life of these mini trees, with demonstrations and workshops allowing the bonsai bonkers amongst you to really get involved. No two bonsais are the same, but which do you favour? Simple and straight? Neat and natural? They’ll all be on show here!


Spring Craft Fair

Thursday April 28 to Monday May 2

The spring gardens will play host to more than 160 exhibitors from across the country, with arts and crafts galore on offer throughout the weekend. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy from the best of the nation’s artists and crafters, who will be offering a wealth of unique items and gifts. Included in the fair will be the Festival of Silver, a collection of some of the finest contemporary British silversmithing, all available in the Glasshouse Gallery – sure to be a highlight of the event!

The Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden in summer is another highlight (Photo RHS - Lee Beel)

The Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden in summer is another highlight (Photo RHS - Lee Beel) - Credit: RHS - Lee Beel


A Range of Roses

Throughout the month

The Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden is the place to be in June as a rainbow of roses, showcasing all types available to gardeners today, will be planted to create a summer spectacle for the eyes… and nose! Over 150 cultivars and more than 4,000 roses, from English roses to species rarely seen in a garden setting, will be inter-planted with some 5,000 herbaceous plants in order to create a truly unmissable display – the ideal way to experience the world’s most celebrated flower. Remember to take your cameras!


Arts Fest

Sunday July 17 to Monday July 18

Poetry, circus acts, theatre, music, magic – you name it, the RHS Wisley Arts Fest has it all! An event where there truly is something for everyone, the festival – which will take place in the beautiful summer gardens – is an ideal day out for family and friends. Stay on the sidelines and spectate or join in with the fun at one of the many workshops – either way, you won’t want these action-packed two days to end!


Fruit Glorious Fruit!

Throughout the month

All horticulturalists know that the sun brings life, and nowhere is this more true or apparent than at RHS Garden Wisley. August will see vineyards full of ripening grapes, orchards bursting with early apples and pears, and the Glasshouse bearing many a sorbus berry. Mouths are sure to be watering as visitors can marvel at the Eden-like fruitfulness of the gardens in high summer – the ideal time to experience gardening and nature in all its glory.


Wisley Flower Show

Tuesday September 6 to Sunday September 11

This six-day floral extravaganza is set to see the end of high-gardening season off with the most colourful of bangs, showcasing the very best blooms of 2016. This flagship event, which last year was officially opened by none other than Bake Off star Mary Berry (read our interview at surreylife.co.uk) will feature 50 floral exhibitors, including 15 new nurseries, and more trade stands than ever before. Simply browse or buy, with a host of experts on hand all week to offer information and advice.


Autumn WoodFest

Saturday October 8 to Sunday October 9

Autumn days bring the promise of outdoor exploration and discovery, and this is at the heart of the October Woodfest weekend – two days of activities celebrating the very best of what the new season has to offer. Indulge in all things trees and woodlands with traditional crafts, exciting lumberjack sports and family activities inspired by the natural beauty of wood, and get involved with the outdoors in a way that only autumn can offer.


Christmas Craft Fair

Wednesday November 23 to Sunday November 27

It’s that time of year again! 2016 is nearly over, winter has arrived and it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. The RHS Wisley Christmas Craft Fair promises to be the perfect way to ease yourself in to the festive season, offering a shopping experience that is both productive and enjoyable. More than 160 exhibitors will be selling unique, personalised products, ideal if you’re looking for that special something that shows a bit more thought.


The Holly and The Ivy

Throughout the month Holly is at the forefront of all things Christmassy, and it really does provide the winter crown at RHS Garden Wisley, showcasing red, orange and yellow berries alongside its prickly green leaves at various points throughout the gardens. Visitors should also look out for the many species of ivy, varying in colours, shapes and sizes, all of which provide a late nectar source to insects. This winter wonderland of Christmas plants is sure to get anyone in the festive spirit! w

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