13 Aug Some Garden Inspiration from Sissinghurst Castle
A quick trip over to England has allowed me to escape the heat for a while and the noise of construction which is ever present at home while we complete an addition project.
I am not over here very long and I am currently writing this from a very cool (or should I say cold?!) and wet Edinburgh. I had a chance to visit Sissinghurst Gardens in Kent earlier this week and it was such a wonderful experience to finally see this renowned garden that I have always wanted to visit. If you are an English garden enthusiast then this garden will need no introduction at all, but if not I will explain briefly that Sissinghurst was the stunning creation of writer and poet Vita Sackville-West and diplomat and writer Harold Nicolson. It was laid out in the 1930’s and further developed during Vita’s lifetime there. A romantic garden, built on a medieval site, it is divided up into a series of garden rooms each with a different feel or dominant color. The influence of Gertrude Jekyll’s painterly style of combining plants and flowers is very evident here and continues to this day with so many wonderful combinations of plants – in color, texture and form.
Clematis and Sweet Peas
Although I recognized many of the plants in this garden, there were some that I did not and as I am not confident of the varieties and cultivars that were on show I hope you will forgive my lack of labeling some of the photographs.
The garden is entered through the ancient portico at which point you are in the main courtyard. I loved the Head Gardener’s notes here and the little vases showing what was predominant in the garden at the time. (I actually just noticed that their sign was for July…It obviously hadn’t been updated for August!!)
The main courtyard contains the famous purple border but this whole garden room was dominated by purple tones and complimentary colors.
I believe this is Dahlia Requiem
My favorite combination of all with the frothy Daucus Carota “Dara”. I was able to put this photo on Instagram and have it identified immediately!
Such magnificent colors!
Another series taken showing the lovely colors and textures evident here…
Sadly I’ve never had any luck with alliums which is annoying because the seed heads alone are just amazing.
Another view of the long purple border with some beautiful Agapanthus. The mix of colors in this border is really imaginative but it all seems to work…
The ancient brick walls are the perfect background for a variety of climbers
The most enjoyable aspect of this garden for me was physically stepping through the ancient doorways and discovering another room beyond. I was so excited to suddenly find myself in the famous White Garden that I realized that I hadn’t taken many long shots of the garden. I was also a bit distracted because some poor person tripped over and fell into one of the borders! They were quite ok and I don’t think any plants were damaged! Luckily they had a good sense of humor about it!
A few of the plant combinations in the White Garden follow…
Aren’t these silvers and whites just incredible?
You can climb to the top of the tower, which dates from Elizabethan times, and admire the views from above which are just spectacular – of the garden itself and of the Kentish countryside.
Traditional Oast house used for drying hops before they were sent to the brewers
We were incredibly lucky that it was fairly quiet when we visited. I think perhaps I had not visited before because I was always worried that the picture I had in my head of this peaceful and very romantic garden just would not be the same with hoards of people. We were there right as it opened which probably helped. I have also read that visiting later in the day is also a good time.
I always love to see that a garden is doing its upmost to protect the environment and encourage wildlife. The sound of bees was everywhere and they were definitely given priority!
I saw this lovely meadow area before I went in through the main entrance and took a few photos as we were leaving. Reading some of the information at the garden I learned sadly that 97% of wild flower meadows have disappeared from the British countryside since WWII which is staggering. The garden is obviously doing its bit to restore these historic meadows.
Even a small area like this has a huge visual impact. I hope you enjoyed a walk around this lovely garden with its beautiful plant combinations. I was really inspired by it. I also hope that if you have never visited before that you get the chance to one day as it really is very special. Back to the Florida heat now!