Saturday, July 30, 2016

Picture Perfect: Sissinghurst Gardens On A Clear Day

Welcome to
Sissinghurst Castle Gardens.

A place I've frequently heard mentioned, over the years, in the most passionate regard by gardeners lucky enough to visit this famous garden in Kent, England. Eventually, I had to put Sissinghurst on my own garden bucket list.

Recently, I checked it off. And it is a fabulous place.

The manor itself was not the castle I expected to see; but the estate was built in the Middle Ages and is complete with a moat. At one point, the estate fell into decline, and was used as a prison for 3,000 French sailors captured by the British in the Seven Years War. Apparently, conditions here were vile and the French prisoners dubbed it 'le chateaux.' The 'castle' reference stuck and became part of its name.

The property, which also used to be farmland, is rustic.
Currently, the land is also used to farm fruit, veggies and meat for the estate's onsite restaurant.

 The site was dilapidated in 1930, when Vita Sackville-West, a garden writer, and her diplomat and author husband, Harold Nicolson, purchased it. They poured their hearts into creating a garden here, and now it is the most visited garden in England. Currently, it is cared for by the National Trust.


The garden is known for its design that features a series of outdoor garden rooms,
 walled with manicured hedges,

or pink brick walls. My Spring visit meant the wisteria was blooming.
There are some simple yet formal garden spaces, and a cottage garden (see top photo).

The white garden is popular.  I personally love green and white plant themes, too.

Imagine all the white flowers

 picking up the light 

of a bright full moon.


And climbing up to the top of the tower, you can see the big picture. 

Garden rooms, inside a garden,

surrounded by the English countryside

 dotted with sheep in naturally lush, grassy landscape.

It couldn't be more perfect.

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