Friday, 29 May 2015

Sissinghurst Castle Garden...

The last weekend in May was a bank holiday in the UK and I finally took the opportunity to visit Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Sissinghurst is a National Trust garden, and despite moving to Kent a year ago, this was my first visit - shameful really, as it is only 30 minutes away.

The weather has been a bit changeable, but Monday dawned with sunshine and blue skies, so off to Sissinghurst I went...

In the middle of the beautiful Kent countryside, Sissinghurst is famous for being the home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson. The couple moved to the estate in the 1930's and set about creating the wonderful garden rooms that you can visit today.

Sissinghurst actually dates from the Saxon period where it started life as a pig farm before being developed into a moated manor house. Throughout the intervening centuries the estate went through a number of iterations, including a renaissance rebuild in the 16th century, and period as a prison camp in the 18th century.

The Oast House - a common sight in this part of Kent

The property was bought in 1932 by Vita Sackville-West (poet/writer) and her husband Arthur Nicolson (diplomat/author). Harold undertook the architectural planing for the series of garden rooms that you can explore today, while the planting schemes were designed by Vita. Most famous for the 'white garden', each room is beautiful, ranging from restful blues and purples to one filled with fiery oranges, reds and yellows.

Vita's designs are still the inspiration behind many garden designers of today - I spoke with one staff member at the site who also said that the white garden is under redevelopment at the moment to bring it back to the planting scheme initially designed by Vita.

While the peonies and many of the roses were only still in bud (I think another visit in a month or two is in order), the gardens were a riot of colours...and the smell was divine.

And there was beauty wherever you looked...

Given my plans to add planting to my own garden for year-round interest, I hope to re-visit Sissinghurst each season for inspiration...

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