Monday 20 March 2017

Sissinghurst Spring

Spring has arrived

and with it, the reopening

of Sissinghurst Castle garden.

New this year is the invitation

to step inside Vita and Harold's cottage
seen here from the tower.

Vita wasn't allowed to inherit Knole 
but Sissinghurst was regarded as an ancestral mansion  
that had the blood of the Sackville dynasty pulsing through its veins.

Unfortunately it was mostly uninhabitable.
Harold wrote to Vita in April 1930 saying that it was 
most unwise of them to get Sissinghurst.

'It cost us £12,000 to buy and will cost another good £15,000 to put in order.'

We were shown into what appeared to be the kitchen of South Cottage,
but in fact this was originally the flower room.
The kitchen was in an entirely separate building, 
which made for some pretty
nippy commuting at meal times in winter.
Two bedrooms- his and hers.
Hers, curiously, having no wardrobe
and bare brick walls which she insisted upon 
when she saw workmen beginning to apply plaster.
Harold's book room with some of his 3000 books
and their sitting room are all more or less originally furnished.

The bathroom was made comfortable by this nifty contrivance:
a bathrack with integral book rest, candle stick
and wine glass holder -
similar available on eBay should you wish to emulate.

Their son Nigel raised the bath onto a dais to take advantage of the view.

Nigel had the gazebo built overlooking the moat
and used it as his summer office.

The door was open while he worked and visitors' children
were given bread to feed to the birds on the moat.

I spotted Dan Pearson deep in conversation
with the head gardener Troy Scott Smith but despite lurking nearby
behind this statue, did not pick up any free gardening tips to pass on to you.


  1. Dear Lucille, I have just had a delightful time catching up on your beautiful recent posts. I apologize for having been away for a while. Glad to report that I am just about all recovered from my annoying fall. Still applying my friendly ice pack several times a day which really cuts into my "free" time.

    Happy Spring to you and yours and many thanks for the glorious photographs and reporting of your recent visit. xo

    1. I'm so glad to hear you are on the mend. I'm guessing you avoided the crowds for St Patrick's Day this year!

  2. One of my very favourite gardens, Lucille. It all looks wonderful even in early Spring. I did actually live in Sissinghurst for a few months a couple of decades ago and in the surrounding villages too, so it was much visited. Lucky you!

  3. I wish I was near enough to visit again! Always inspired me. Thanks for sharing your visit - looks as if you managed a quiet time - lovely.

  4. Oh, I love Sissinghurst but it's so inconveniently far away from Edinburgh. We were there two years ago, though, while staying in Kent. I've never been in the spring, though. Maybe next year!

  5. I couldn't find a way of contacting you directly, Lucille, so apologies for pursuing my personal inquiry as a response ... a friend and I are planning a trip from Canada to visit Sissinghurst and other places in the vicinity, and right now we're trying to decide between late March vs. late September. Any advice as to which part of the year would be preferable for weather and the general busyness of popular spots? Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

    1. Very hard to give a definitive reply - so much depends on the weather! We've had a mild winter so the garden is looking lovely now but it is not impossible to have snow in March. We have just visited Kew and saw that the magnolias have suffered badly from strong winds and will not last as long as usual. Sissinghurst is so well maintained and planted that there is something new to see on every visit. We find it is quietest if we arrive as the gates open or stay until nearly closing time when the crowds (and coaches) have thinned. is a post from October. I seem not to have blogged a visit in September but it should be warmer then and the late summer borders will be in full flower. Great Dixter will have its hot garden flourishing then too. It depends where your horticultural interests lie. We went to Japan and caught the cherry blossom but everyone said we should come for the autumn colour!

    2. Thank you, Lucille - we thought it might be a weather lottery in spring, but after a long Canadian winter, those daffodils look pretty enticing. We are really hoping to avoid peak visiting times so that we can see plants instead of people : )

  6. the most beautiful hellebore I have ever seen.


    1. But only visible to crawling creatures on account of its low drooping habit!

  7. I have been only once to Sissinghurst, in early July when the white garden was WHITE! Every aspect of the place was sublime and it is lovely to see your photos on what was obvious;y a beautiful spring day.