Coach Trip to Wakehurst Place 2012
(with photos by Gillian Archer)

The first of this year’s trips was a self drive/ have a lift visit to Wakehurst Place. We were very fortunate to have one of the few dry June mornings and equally favoured in having Rob as our guide. After a brief look at the Mansion, both inside and out, we examined the adjacent long border and then went into the Walled Garden. Both here, and throughout the morning, Rob gave little evidence of his claim to be “no horticulturalist” as he regaled us with interesting information about key plants, shrubs and trees.

Particularly impressive on our visit were several specimens of Crinodendron Hookeranum, none more so than the first one we were shown next to the Walled Garden. This tree takes a few years to get established, and needs a reasonable space for it will eventually grow to 20ft tall by 15ft wide, although it does take pruning. However the evergreen Lantern Tree, to give it its more manageable name, is well worth the effort. If you have not seen one before, it will grab your attention with its profusion of little red lantern like flowers between May and August (see Gill’s picture). We then looked at the Southern Hemisphere and Winter Gardens before inspecting the site of and the escape tunnel from, the “Secret Bunker”.

Of particular interest, and looking spectacular were the Bog and Water Gardens, as well as the new Bee Garden which has just been completed. We were fortunate in seeing our LHS member Andy, who is responsible for this whole area, hard at work so were able to congratulate him on his endeavours. After pausing at the Mansion Pond, our most enjoyable tour finished at the Millennium Seed Bank. We were left to reflect on the fact that despite being regular visitors we had all learnt something new about this most magnificent of gardens.
Martin Higgins

To find out more about Wakehurst
click here