My inaugural post on this blog was about Sissinghurst Castle Gardens. I visited there a few years ago, and after a visit this past summer, it remains one of my favorite gardens in England. I thought with the east coast blanketed by snow and frigid temperatures this week, it was the perfect time to visit an English garden, and Sissinghurst deserved a second post.
Vita Sackville-West, the renowned poet and writer, and her husband Harold Nicolson, diplomat and author, began the transformation of the house and gardens in the 1930s.
It was a labour of love.
Harold was the architect, and Vita orchestrated the romance of the garden.
Both partners input shows very well in the well-organized garden rooms overwhelmed by color and shape and magnificent blooms. It takes an army of gardeners to manage it all.
The gardens are famous for Vita’s White Garden, which she wrote about in her diaries.
It is thought to be the first truly planned out white garden, and it is one my favorite “rooms”. I would love to see it in the moonlight at its most dramatic.
You are able to go up in the tower on winding stone steps, past Vita’s study, to the very top for magnificent views.
And along the way, are clips of poems and writings of both Harold and Vita about the planning and transformation of the garden. It was very inspirational and creative.
And the views from the rooftop were incredible.
The orchard, from above and a more intimate view…
Because the walls hold the warmth in, there is a great variety of plants familiar to those who garden in the southern locations of the U.S.
We walked for hours, and although much seemed familiar, there were always new surprises.
Even with a stop for lunch in the garden at the coffee shop, and a gift shop/ice cream break, it was hours spent in the actual garden rooms.
This is one of the first years I remember seeing sprinklers moved around many of the gardens. It was a dry, warm summer in England by their standards.
The herb room was one of my favorites, with well-marked plants revealing the actual appearance of these famous herbs that we often only see dried in spice jars.
I love Sissinghurst. Would love to visit it in every season.
I want to be there.