Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the Weald of Kent is one of the most renowned gardens in all of England. We visited on a rainy summer day, petals dripping, colors saturated. I managed to wield a camera whilst holding an umbrella. Highly motivated. As Robert Downey Jr. said, “Everything looks better wet.” This sentiment definitely seems to hold true for flowers! Sissinghurst Garden is enchanting. Red bricks shine brightly next to the green boxwoods. Around every corner there is a new lavish display of potted plants, a sculpture, a unique walkway. The “White Garden” of Sissinghurst created a stir when created in 1950 and white gardens quickly became “quite the fashion.” This legacy endures as many famous (and not-at-all-famous) gardens have a space dedicated to white flowers. Among the not-at all-famous is MINE. 🙂 My whole front garden is white and silver (and green, of course)!
Shortly after I returned home from this trip I planted Dara seeds. Now I have “Chocolate Lace” Ammi popping up in every corner of our gardens! I’m not yet willing to admit they are “invasive” but I will acknowledge that they are enthusiastically opportunistic. 🙂
I am completely obsessed with those huge waxy leaves but I do NOT know what they are! Also obsessed with that guy in there!!
The site of Sissinghurst Castle and Garden dates all the way back to 1300. The property has served many functions over time, ranging from a Saxon pig farm, a deer park, prisoner-of-war camp, a workhouse, and a home for laborers, and a working farm. Our current house was built in 1984 I think. So boring.
Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson purchased the derelict castle and grounds in 1930 and began the renovation and garden creation immediately. In fact, the early-summer-flowering rose Mme Alfred Carriere was the first thing that Vita and Harold planted at Sissinghurst, on the day their offer to buy the property was accepted! I think that is incredibly endearing and I wish I had the space for my own. Perhaps when we purchase a mansion I can sneak one in- or twenty. 🙂
“Vita was a writer who found her greatest popularity in the weekly columns she contributed as gardening correspondent of The Observer, which incidentally—for she never touted it—made her own garden famous. Sissinghurst garden is designed as a series of ‘rooms’, each with a different character of colour and/or theme, the walls being high clipped hedges and many pink brick walls. The rooms and ‘doors’ are so arranged that, as one enjoys the beauty in a given room, one suddenly discovers a new vista into another part of the garden, making a walk a series of discoveries that keeps leading one into yet another area of the garden. Harold Nicolson spent his efforts coming up with interesting new interconnections, while Vita Sackville-West focused on making the flowers in the interior of each room exciting.” Certainly both succeeded. Vita passed away in 1962 and Harold decided that Vita’s beloved Sissinghurst should be given over to the care of The National Trust.
Visiting this garden gave me yet another push towards wanting to live in England so I can frequent English gardens in the UK to my heart’s content. With garden rooms designed specifically for Spring with thousands of flowering bulbs, a formal rose garden, a South Cottage garden that is most vibrant in late summer, and multiple scenic walks– this garden longs to be visited more than once. My dream is to be a frequent visitor and photograph Sissinghurst Gardens in every season. And to share all of the images and adventure with you.