Last year I read a post by Charly at PODCast about the Butterflies in the Glasshouse at RHS Wisley and it brought memories of my childhood flooding back. We never quite got our act together to visit last year, but I was determined that we would make it at some point in 2015. Cue Charly and another post and it was time to get my diary organised. A few weekend’s ago we were walking back in time at RHS Wisley, the years melted away and the memories came flooding back.
My Mum has always been besotted by plants and gardening and as children, my brother and I were often taken to RHS Wisley for the day. I’m pretty sure we weren’t so bothered with the plants, but we did enjoy the open spaces and running around. It was to go walking back in time at RHS Wisley and share my memories with Monkey and Daddy P.
I was sure that a lot would have changed over the years but one view was exactly as I remembered.
I told Monkey and all the times my brother and I had raced around this pond. I reckon it’s well over 30 years since I last visited, but it was amazing how memories came flooding back. We sent a photo to Granny and Gramps in Spain – remember this view?
Something that definitely wasn’t there in my childhood was the large glasshouse which was holding the Butterflies in the Glasshouse event when we visited. Being big bug hunters we were keen to see this for ourselves. We’d arrived fairly early, and decided to head there first, time to consult the map.
We could have bought timed tickets online but I’m always wary of doing this when we need to travel somewhere and you never quite know how a 5 year old Monkey is going to be. So it was going to be a case of queueing. We worked out our route and Monkey was in charge of getting us to the Glasshouse.
This way Mummy!
It looked as if we were going to be really lucky with the weather, although Monkey insisted to have his hood up. The butterfly spotting began with some lovely art installations.
Then we turned a corner and the wonderful Glasshouse emerged. Wow Mummy!
It really is rather impressive, and that was only our impression from the outside!
We were told we’d need to queue for an hour, but I was armed with snacks and we explained to Monkey that he’d need to be patient. We bought him a Spotter Guide for £1 so he could identify the butterflies and that kept him happy. He’d come prepared with his National Trust Binoculars – he really is turning into quite the little nature lover.
There was plenty to look at whilst we waited, Monkey was fascinated by the waterfall, especially when he realised that people could walk behind it.
The structure of the glasshouse itself intrigued Monkey, I’m not sure he’s seen anything quite like it before and it was lovely to feel the sun streaming down on us.
Then we discovered the cacti and I was a happy Mummy. I was quite addicted to succulents as a child, and used to collect them on my windowsill. Time to introduce Monkey to some fascinating plants.
It was really busy inside the Glasshouse and Monkey got a little overwhelmed with it all so we didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked. But that’s the joy of parenthood isn’t it!
I did get a few moments to enjoy the Orchids before we whizzed outside again!
It was then time for a spot of lunch and we headed to the Glasshouse Cafe which was heaving. We decided on pizza slices and a jacket potato for Daddy P, the queue for hot drinks and to pay was mad, so we left Daddy P there and headed off for cutlery and condiments. No knives or forks to be seen anywhere. Finally tracked down a member of staff and they rectified the situation straight away. Monkey and I found a table in the sunshine and Daddy P finally joined us, sadly my coffee was cold by the time he did and the food was no longer hot either. But we were starving and couldn’t face the queues again to ask for replacements.
Never mind. We were off, walking back in time at RHS Wisley again before I knew it as we headed up the Glasshouse borders to the Fruit Mound. Wait Mummy!
Race you Mummy! Go!
He was off, running ahead, just as I remember doing all those years ago. We made it to the top of the Mound which will be full of apple blossom in the months ahead. Once Daddy P released we’d reach the Fruit Fields he was a happy chappy.
It them also became apparent that a vivid memory I have from my childhood had suffered a directional defect. No great surprise for anyone who knows me – zero sense of direction (I blame my mother entirely). For years I’ve thought that we’d stood in this part of RHS Wisley and watched the M25 being built. Although it is very close to said motorway, it now looks far more likely that my memories of bulldozers and the like were probably building part of the A3. I did have a little chuckle to myself.
It was time for some hide and seek fun and Monkey was squealing with delight.
Let’s hide from Daddy, Mummy. It was hilarious to watch him running up and down, hiding at the end of a line of fruit trees, standing out like a sore thumb, he didn’t care a jot!
We then headed off through the gardens back towards my favourite haunt from my childhood – the Rock Garden. Spotting dashes of colour as we went.
Trying to make sure that Monkey didn’t trample on any of the spring Crocuses! I’ll be careful Mummy.
Even with his noisy excitement we managed to spot someone working hard – bottoms ups!
Now I know Spring really is coming. Come on Daddy the Rock Garden in this way!
Then we were there, and I was transported back to my childhood, running up and down the rock garden with my brother. Here we were about to retrace my steps with Monkey. It felt rather strange.
It was time for some fun, spotting fishes, running to and fro.
Marvelling at the little waterfalls
Saying hello to the ducks.
Just enjoying a lovely Sunday in March, out in the Surrey sunshine.
He was off again, exploring, finding sticks and jumping in muddy puddles, having fun before we needed to head home.
Walking back in time at RHS Wisley, having fun in the outdoors. Somethings never change. We all had a great day out, and will need to return to see the place full of colour later in the year.