Being fortunate enough to live just down the road from RHS Garden Wisley, my son has been trailed around the garden there, on average about once a week since birth. As he's now a big school boy, we havn't been so much recently, but last summer's visit to their new attraction obviously had a lasting memory, as all this week, he's been asking to visit the Maize maze. - Here's the story of our morning out in pictures (mostly taken by him)
10000 bedding plants were used to create this carpet bedding picture of a peacock.
We collected our map and garden explorers trail sheet from the entrance and followed the pirate Maize maze this way signs through the garden.
The Maize maze is planted on the site of the old Wisley Greenhouses, - a nice big flat area, which lends itself wonderfully to this. - The Pirate theme, was added to by various dead end (me hearties) signs, - Parrots, and Pirate Scarecrows on the way, before we finally (after a good trek) found our way to the centre, - a very good design of maze, and very tall thick maize plants which meant that every now and again, you couldn't even see the pirate ship we were heading to.
But we reached the centre
As William is now reading, he had spotted on the map that there was a new play area, - so we headed in that direction through the fruit
His favourite fruit - pears - here trained on cordons
We were both impressed with the amount of fruit on the standard redcurrants
We watched the gardeners picking the blueberries, and found purple peppers, cucumbers ("they havn't got prickles on like our ones!") and aubergines("yuk") in the polytunnel. We then went through the fruit trail fields and found the yellow raspberry mentioned on the trail, and I felt very proud that my figs were looking bigger and riper than theirs.
I managed to stop William scrumping any blackberries, and then he raced me down the Piet Oudolf borders (no contest, he won by a mile) to the play area. Wild at Wisley- This is an area out in the Arboetum past the new glasshouse, which hardly anyone gets out to, - so it's a perfect area to put over to kids, and they have created some great features with carved logs, and dips in the ground.
There was also a grass spiral, and this balance trunk amused William, as he pretended there were crocodiles underneath
We then did some more of the trail, finding the largest and smallest possible leaf, looking for fish and finding water lilies.
We ended off our visit by with a visit to the garden centre,- William had told me that as it was his day, I couldn't go there, but an apple from the cart changed his mind, so I got a chance to browse the new season bulbs.
My tips for a sucessful gardening day out with Children
1) don't forget a drink and a snack, - Garden cafe's are available, but are often expensive with a queue
2) take as much literature from the garden entrance as possible, maps are always popular even with very little ones, any trails are good value as well
3) ask questions all the way round, - a lot of garden features will be missed by children unless they are looking for them - e.g what is the statue of, how many pink flowers can you see
4) don't stay to long, if you overstay a visit, as well as having a miserable child on the day, they won't want to go back again in the future.