Saturday, 20 August 2011

An evening at Sissinghurst


‘Gallivanting’ is truth be told, the only way to describe my recent escapades in the South East! Not only did I drink in the great beauty of Great Dixter all day, but the evenings were peppered with glorious sunsets, moth trapping, street festivals in Hastings (including the Dixter veg stall!) and a delightful evening stroll around the resplendent gardens of Sissinghurst Castle! I journeyed here for the first time back in April for what turned out to be a golden week of spring glory, and it was a great joy to return here and poke about the place during the summer displays. As back in April, the Cottage Garden was for me the most beautiful area of Sissinghurst. The simple design of this garden, with the majority of the available space handed over to borders, combined against the backdrop of that beautiful brick cottage clad in a fine specimen of Rosa, is truly breathtaking. The planting here is packed tight, ranging from clumps of Achillea to delicate bedding out with Hibiscus trionum. The ‘hot’ planting scheme seems to compliment and be enhanced by the brick, and obviously shows up well against the Yew topiary! The copper tub that serves as a centrepiece is beauty itself. Living here in the manor at Hidcote is great fun, but I would certainly consider giving it up to live in that cottage, there is even a hive of wild bees living in the roof; perfect!

View from underneath the tower

Yew Walk

The tower seen from the recently mowed meadow

Dovecote in the meadow

Lime Walk

Cottage Garden shadows

Exquisite planting in the Cottage Garden







 

8 comments:

Janet said...

I think the warmth and design of the brick buildings at Sissinghurst compliments the garden. Good to see plantings other than from the famouse "white garden".
Do you know if the planting has changed much since Vita's time?

Michael said...

Yew and Lime Walks are superb. Beautifully executed. Sissinghurst looks so lush and weed-free even at this late stage of Summer. All hail staff gardeners!

Janet said...

PS I knew there was something different...no people! Did you get a private viewing?!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

Janet yes I phoned ahead so we could get a chance to look around as the days at Dixter did not finish until 5pm. I think the planting has been allowed to progress since Vita’s days but it has certainly been kept ‘in the spirit’ of how she liked it. The current head gardener Alexis Datta was previously the deputy to Sarah Cook, who before becoming head gardener was deputy to Sibylle Kreutzberger. Sibylle, along with Pam Schwerdt, was employed by Vita to run the garden, so in this way the ideas and intuition of what Sissinghurst is all about has been handed down and kept alive. The mark Pam and Sibylle made on Sissinghurst was massive, but you can read more on that here; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/6231914/Pamela-Schwerdt.html

Bertie

Helen O'Donnell said...

The late evening light is beautiful, it really preludes the fall. Great posting, cannot wait to visit!

Janet said...

Sybille and Pam trained with the formidable Beatrix Havergal at Waterperry Gardens. Thanks for the link, Bertie.

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

There is quite a bit on the evolution of garden choices after Vita, particularly by S&P in the book I am currently pouring over, Gardening at S. by Tony Lord.

A book is nothing like a private tour, however! Oh to be part of the privileged few ;)

The Cottage Garden does seem to have the most for summer. A great place to sit and soak it in.

Thanks for sharing, Bertie!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

I was not aware of that book Julie but keen on T. Lord's 'Best Borders' so would be willing to give it a read!

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