William Robinson today

The work of William Robinson has never been more relevant. The pioneering wild gardener, author and educator was ahead of his time, progressing the practice of wild gardening and creating biodiverse, resilient woodland.

Today, with the challenge of climate change and alarming loss of biodiversity, William Robinson’s ethos offers a positive way to restore and enhance our natural landscapes.

This vision inspired RHS Garden Wisley to create the 2024 summer exhibition celebrating the life and influence of the father of modern gardening. Long before we understood the science and impact of a changing climate William Robinson advocated for a rich biodiverse environment, one that is healthier for us and wildlife, allowing the full potential of nature to thrive.

Become a friend of William Robinson today to help support the ongoing work of the William Robinson Gravetye Charity and to receive bespoke emails, enjoy guided tours and volunteering experiences.

Portrait of William Robinson the Gardener

“William Robinson encouraged gardeners to pay attention to ‘the untidy edges’ where gardens blended into the landscape, taking inspiration from habitats like meadows, hedgerows, woodland clearings and the edges of ponds.”

Supporting new projects

At the William Robinson Gravetye Charity we are working hard to put into practice the legacy of William Robinson. Given a chance, nature will flourish – wildlife, landscapes and forests can be restored.

Gravetye Estate Orchard Plan

Give today and help create new Robinsonian environments for tomorrow.

There are many ways to get involved. Become a friend of the Charity and your support will help us deliver new regenerative projects, within the inspiring Gravetye Estate – an exemplar of woodland gardening and resilient woodlands.

In 2024 we have a bold ambition to replant Robinson’s historic orchard with a modern twist and to create a brand-new woodland garden for everyone to enjoy.

We aim to convert a derelict 4 -acre field in the heart of the Estate into an accessible community orchard, wildflower meadow and outdoor learning space with raised beds.

In a shady dell between Lower and Upper Lakes we plan to plant a Robinsonian woodland garden that will showcase wild gardening techniques and provide a space full of colour, texture, and scent.

We need your vital support today to kick start these projects engaging school children and the local community along the way.

RHS Wisley

William Robinson Exhibition at RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey

From May to late August 2024 the experiences, work and teachings of William Robinson will be showcased at a new, exhibition located within RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey.

Throughout his lifetime, William Robinson travelled across the world bringing new ideas and gardening techniques back to the UK. In some ways, Robinson was accidentally ahead of his time. By proposing that gardeners should avoid using plants that needed artificial heating to survive British winters, his methods were naturally more sustainable.

In his landmark book – The Wild Garden,1870, Robinson explained the concept of ‘wild gardening’ in which hardy plants (both native and introduced) were encouraged to naturalise and intermingle in soft swathes, challenging traditional concepts of formality. Whilst at Wisley you can discover the original Oakwood ‘wild’ garden. William Robinson worked alongside George Fergusson Wilson creating this wild and serene garden, ideal to experience alongside the exhibition.