Sunday 30 January 2011

Other gardens 2. Sissinghurst

 Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent, England.

In 1930 the writers Harold Nicholson and his wife Vita Sackville-West bought dilapidated Sissinghurst Castle with its ruin of of an Elizabethan tower and set to work to restore it and create a garden.
Harold planned the garden and Vita Sackville-West devised the planting. She hated serried ranks of flowers and arranged her plants in groups and swathes of colour, giving consideration to texture and the differing seasons.

This is now one of the most popular gardens in the country.

Vita used the small room at the very top of the 16th century red brick tower as her writing room.

The white garden viewed from the top of the tower.

The central climbing rose in the white garden is famous for its display of flowers in early July. This area of the garden was very crowded with sightseers and it was frustratingly difficult to photograph in such an enclosed space. The planting was very beautiful but I was unable to capture exactly what I saw with my camera.

Beyond the white garden there were other  'rooms' with flower beds of brilliant colours.

From the tower you could see the pathways that had been mown through the orchard and the Kentish countryside beyond the garden.

The gardens are now run by the National Trust. (Sometimes referred to as the 'National Trussed')

watercolour of Sissinghurst garden by Rosemary Murphy.


  1. Rosemary,
    Love that tower. It looks like a place where a girl could really let down her hair.

    Also love, Love, LOVE your wonderful watercolour. I think flowers are difficult to paint and you've rendered them beautifully. Lovely greens too.


  2. Dear Rosemary, This is, for me, the most inspirational of C20th gardens with so much that is still iconic in terms of design and plantsmanship today.

  3. Stunning, what an experience and a wonderful job they did with the restoration. Thank you.

  4. Oh, I believe Vita could let her hair down alright, Steve! And my flowers are of the 'less is more' school, a few walk on humans take the eye away from the lack of form!

    Towers -aren't they magical!

    Dear Edith, the garden has such good bones, topped off with exquisite planting. I made notes to self to stake and pin down my roses as seen at Sissinghurst, but must confess to never having done so.