SISSINGHURST IN SPRING

It's a bright sunny day today, with just a sprinkle of snow on the ground.  From indoors it looks so enticing, but the Easterly wind is bitterly cold, so bitter that the temperature outdoors feels like -5C.  The garden has just stood still this week, and the gardener has curled up in the warm looking through old photographs and dreaming of better things to come.

So this week's post is about Sissinghurst - my favourite garden, and perhaps yours too.  I took these photos in early April 2017, when we stayed for a week in the cottage in the garden itself.  The garden looked stunning; not only due to the skilled work of the gardeners there, but also because the weather, which had been rather cold, warmed up and the Spring flowers arrived in a great crescendo.


1. The Cottage Garden

Where to start?  What about here, for a riot of spring colours in yellows, oranges and red?  Wallflowers are the main contributors to this scheme for the front of South Cottage with a Euphorbia tucked behind the wooden seat by the door.  A patch of Peony Molly the Witch is in the distance on the far right.

Tulips are added to the mix in this border below.  I intended to have a go at emulating this and, now I've found the photo again, I've got no excuse.  Just to give you some idea of the amount of work the gardeners put in to maintaining this display, additional tulips are grown individually in pots, and are planted out once earlier varieties have finished flowering.


2. The Lime Walk

The Lime walk planting is a real celebration of spring bulbs with many of the smaller varieties planted in different combinations around the base of each tree.  Tulips are grown in the larger terracotta pots placed along the borders which run behind each row of pleached limes.


Each little composition is lovely, but this was a particular favourite of mine.


3. The White Garden

I couldn't keep you waiting any longer.  The most famous area of the garden, although not my personal favourite (sacrilege I know!).  The quiet colour scheme is very serene, particularly when the garden is as empty as it is here.


In the week we were there, the rose on the central arbour really came into leaf, as you can see in this view from an upstairs window.



There is a well known quote from Vita about the making of the White Garden.

'All the same, I cannot help hoping that the great ghostly barn-owl will sweep silently across a pale garden, next summer in the twilight - the pale garden that I am now planting, under the first flakes of snow'.

I included this photo so you can see for yourselves  how the white flowers look in the twilight.


I may be a keen gardener, but not as dedicated as Vita.  There's been no planting in my garden under the first flakes of snow!

4. The Orchard

The Orchard was also a glorious sight in Spring.  The grass was full of daffodils and the blossom on the fruit trees was delightful.


5. The Purple Border

Just a little selection of flowers from the purple border.  It looks so completely effortless, that it seems quite within one's reach to create something similar.  Maybe next year.....


6. Tulip Apricot Beauty and Narcissus 'Elka'

Printed lists of what is planted in each of the pots were available, so I can tell you exactly what was planted in this fabulous lead trough.  My dream garden would contain several of these.






I'm slightly concerned that this excursion to Sissinghurst might be regarded as not quite fulfilling the Six on Saturday brief, but I think you'll find it more interesting than a post about what went on in my garden this week (i.e. very little) and since the temperatures should get above freezing next week, I'm hoping that normal service will be resumed next week.  

Many thanks go to The Propagator the host and creator of Six on Saturday.










Comments

  1. A number of recent books, magazine and newspaper articles and a recent head gardener at Sissinghurst, have all trotted out what is becoming the in thing to say about Sissinghurst: that Pamela Schwerdt and Sibylle Kreutzberge developed and kept the gardens there to such a high standard that they no longer reflected how it was kept in Vita Sackville-West's time - though, surely, they would have been best placed to judge that as they had worked with her! Personally, I have always enjoyed the gardens as these two ladies kept it. Perfection in the garden has much to recommend it.

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    1. I totally agree Paddy. I'm also rather confused about how the search for the 'true' Sissinghurst can be reconciled with Dan Pearson being brought in to rework Delos.

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  2. I really enjoyed this virtual tour of the famous garden. While I think the white is very serene and calming, I am more wowed by the vibrant colours in the first photo, and those the lovely tulips. That trough is genious - the apricot shade is perfect for the backdrop of the weathered wall. I must visit one day when we can get back to Kent.

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    1. The apricot tulip against that wall is perfect, and the soft grey of the lead also sets it off beautifully. I love to visit that garden, but we live quite a distance away, so we haven't been able to do it very often. I have to content myself with reading Tony Lord's book which contains lots of information about how the garden was maintained (it was written in 1995), which I find fascinating.

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  3. Great photos and fantastic planting combinations. Thanks for posting these!

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  4. A garden that I only know by name and which must be a very nice place to visit of course! When we can cross the Channel ...

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    1. And it's not that far from that other well known garden Great Dixter, if you do make the trip some day.

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  5. I was just 17 when I first visited this renowned garden. So every other garden is judged by this one! The HPS are planning a new side group based on white, which I am sure many admirers of the white garden may join. I like the white garden, but only in contrast to the whole. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures. Mr S & I stayed at Hampton Court in the same way as you have done at Sissinghurst, and loved the freedom to roam around when it was quiet.

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    1. It was wonderful. We were so lucky to be able to do that. The chance to take pictures when the gardens were quiet was so good. Interesting that the HPS are doing an all white group. That simplicity is obviously still very appealing.

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  6. What a treat to see those beautiful photos . I've never been to Sissinghurst but one day I'll make it there. I hope. Those spring colours are perfect - so invigorating!

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    1. I did read a review of Sissinghurst in which the writer said he could never understand why it was so highly rated, until he went when it was unusually quiet and he enjoyed it much more. So if you do go, pick your time carefully!

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  7. I've never been to Sissinghurst but it's now on the to-visist list after that quick wander round.

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