October was a busy month for the Society; in addition to the evening lecture on the 21st members were able to visit RHS Wisley on the 14th, an event that was postponed from April.
A £4 million grant awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund has meant a lot of changes have occurred since our last visit to Wiley and a guided tour was useful for everyone to get their bearings and to discover some of the new attractions. Of particular interest was the new Hilltop building which now houses three laboratories, home to seventy advisors, scientists and PhD students who spend their time researching the many environmental challenges now facing gardeners.
There are also two learning studios and a teaching garden to ensure horticulturists of the future have the best instruction possible. A large new restaurant is also housed here, always popular with members, and by climbing to the top of the building there is a wonderful view of both the new Wellbeing Garden and the World Food Garden, the latter containing a great many unusual varieties of vegetables all growing in large metal clad raised beds. The rest of the gardens were as beautiful as ever, although with Autumn dragging its heels this year some of the colour was yet to come.
Our lecture for the month saw the return of Nigel Choat, an enthusiastic photographer. His talk entitled "The Pyrenees" covered two visits he had made to this area. He says that he has no special area of interest to determine what he photographs, so we saw all the area had to offer. Flowers, insects, lizards, butterflies, and the beautiful scenery were all captured on his slides which kept the audience entranced for an hour and a half.
A "Fun Quiz" devised by Geoff Hawkins will test our horticultural knowledge when we meet again on the 20th January 2022.