They had afternoon tickets for Chelsea, which meant admission from 3.30pm onwards. They'd arranged to have lunch with some friends first, but that left the morning free.
The Chelsea Physic Garden perhaps? No, it didn't open until midday. (Why?!)
The Museum of Garden History? Hmm, trouble is, the museum is a fairly brisk trot from the nearest tube or mainline station, and none of the buses from my area go directly there. (If you want to go shopping in the King's Road, however, I'm very well placed...)
I did some brisk calculation and decided there was just time for me to drive VP and Patientgardener to the Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley (or Wizzers, as Arabella Sock calls it), give them a superfast tour and be home in time for lunch (or in my case, work).
I have never been round Wisley so fast. I have never been to Wisley without spending hours dithering in the garden centre. I have never been to Wisley without browsing in the wonderful bookshop. I have never been to Wisley without having a cup of tea and a piece of carrot cake. It just shows that everything is possible.
Wizzers is only half an hour from me by car, so to a certain extent, I use it as my local garden centre (although my local garden centre, which is within walking distance, is also very good). I was really touched by how thrilled VP and Patientgardener were at the thought of going and I was delighted that the weather was sunny and warm.
Wisley was on good form. Admittedly it was a little early for a lot of the planting, particularly the herbaceous borders, the Piet Oudolf borders and the Tom Stuart-Smith borders around the Glasshouse. (Wisley is a great late-summer garden.) But it was good to see Cleve West's children's garden being used by an enthusiastic group of primary school kids and the Penelope Hobhouse garden looked mistily beautiful. We even had time for a quick look at the rhododendrons and azaleas on Battleston Hill.
Wisteria overhangs a view of the canal, designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe
The rock garden, one of my favourite places. I love gardens that have winding paths and secret waterfalls
Aloes and other succulents in the arid zone of the Glasshouse
Looking down on foliage from the viewing platform in the tropical section of the Glasshouse
Clouds of nepeta line the central path in the garden designed by Penelope Hobhouse.
Isn't this the most amazing tree? All three of us were entranced by it. It's Toona sinensis 'Flamingo', or Chinese mahogany, according to VP.