Botanical Glasshouse, Wisley, London.

Botanical Glasshouse, Wisley, London.

RHS Wisley Garden near London

The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley in the English county of Surrey south of London, is the largest of four gardens run by the Society. Wisley is the second most visited paid entry garden in the United Kingdom after the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with over a million visitors a year. Wisley was founded by Victorian businessman and RHS member George Ferguson Wilson, who purchased a 60 acre (243,000 m²) site in 1878. He established the "Oakwood Experimental Garden" on part of the site, where he attempted to "make difficult plants grow successfully". Wilson died in 1902 and Oakwood was purchased by Sir Thomas Hanbury, the creator of the celebrated garden La Mortola. He gave both sites to the RHS the following year. Wisley is now a large and diverse garden covering 240 acres (971,000 m²). In addition to numerous formal and informal decorative gardens, several glasshouses and an extensive arboretum, it includes small scale "model gardens" which are intended to show visitors what they can achieve in their own gardens, and a trials field where new cultivars are assessed. Without doubts the most interesting glasshouse is the Bicentenary Glasshouse. This major new feature covers three quarters of an acre (3,000 m²) and overlooks a new lake built at the same time. It is divided into three main planting zones representing desert, tropical and temperate climates.