Thursday, June 07, 2007

Blooming Wisley

The RHS Garden at Wisley has a new glasshouse which next week will be formally opened by the Queen on 15th June 2007. Below is blog post originally posted in 'Making a Mark' a year ago on 7th June 2006 - updated with some additional links.


Wisley is a 240 acre garden in Surrey which is the home of the Royal Horticultural Society. This is the organisation which runs the Chelsea Flower Show as well as a number of other shows, large and small, over the course of the year.

We visited Wisley last Saturday on the way home from the anniversary celebration in Hampshire - and I went to their Annual Iris Show and also saw the Iris Trial Beds in their full glory - with (I think) Iris Society members pondering the latest blooms! I was especially pleased as I love irises and managed to take rather a lot of photographs of all the different coloured blooms both indoors at the show and outdoors at the trial beds.

Overall, during the visit I managed to fill all of one memory card - pulled out my spare and filled that one too! But I now have lots of reference images of flowers I love. The day was very sunny and bright - and the importance of trying to get photographs while flowers are not in direct sunlight was really brought home to me.

The two photos of single blooms were taken late afternoon in the Country Garden area - with the blooms completely out of direct light - and it makes such a difference to the quality of the image. All the ones taken in full sunlight suffer from all the normal problems of high contrast. However, you choose where to go but you can't always pick your weather!

I have an exceptionally boring 'plein air' sketch to show you - done over a cup of tea while "he who must not be bored while I sketch" continued to read Roy Hattersley's "The Edwardians". This sketch just goes to show why trying a double page spread in an A4 sketchbook when you've got 20 minutes to sketch is maybe not such a brilliant idea. It's a view of the people in the shade of the trees at one of the outdoor cafe areas where we were sat for our cup of tea (has anybody noticed how often tea gets a mention in this blog?) and it's unfinished. I did get some quite interesting optical mixes going and it did prove to be a fruitful study for the sorts of colours which might work for the trunks of very large pine trees! I never ever use grey or brown - all my grey and browns are always mixed from colours. The nearest I ever get to grey is greyed lavender!

I'm trying something new today which is a hyperlink to the Google Map which shows the garden near to the junction with the A3 Portsmouth Road - and right next to Wisley Common and Wisley Golf Club. You get a good impression of how big it is and a great view of all the different bits. The whitish bits are the glass houses and then below them is the area which is the trial beds. You can also get a better idea about the garden by visiting the map/tour section of the website for Wisley

We had a wonderful day and I came away with membership of the RHS and rather a lot of new botanical art books which is my current bedtime reading - reviews coming soon!



  1. AnonymousJune 08, 2007

    I'm a new reader, and I really enjoyed both your photos and your sketch. I think I'll learn a lot here!

  2. Ann - nice to meet you.

    if you enjoy botanical art then you'll might also like to pay a visit to ny other blog Making A Mark [ ] and click the label for "botanical art" in the categories (or "flower drawings" or "flower paintings")


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