Friday, 11 November 2011

Garden House

On the way home from Beth Chatto’s Garden we stayed the night at Cambridge, a wonderful city which I had never visited before but hope to return to soon! After this refreshing evening we got on the road once again, heading this time for the familiar surrounds of the Cotswolds. Our destination though was not immediately Hidcote, instead we stopped for lunch at Garden House, the truly beautiful home of Sibylle Kreutzberger. Sibylle, like Mrs Chatto, is a much celebrated gardener, having run Sissinghurst for 31 years with her friend Pamela Schwerdt! “Pam and Sibylle” really established Sissinghurst into the garden we see today, and their exciting use of plants and colours has left a lasting mark on gardening generally, but in particular the way the National Trust gardens. In 1959, Vita Sackville-West employed Sibylle and Pam to be the head gardeners, and after her death in 1962 the Trust just let them get on with it! This they did in glorious style, facing the challenges of a rapidly increasing number of visitors whilst maintaining the horticultural excellence laid down by VSW. In Anne Scott-James’ excellent tome, 'Sissinghurst - The Making of a Garden' she writes, “In 1961, 13,200 people visited Sissinghurst. In 1967, the number had risen to 47, 100. In 1973, it was up to 91, 584.” Pam and Sibylle oversaw this transition for Sissinghurst into a huge visitor attraction! Writing in 1974, Mrs Scott-James hails their impact, “The philosophy at Sissinghurst has been to preserve Vita’s actual plants for as long as possible, to follow her style of planting faithfully, to keep the Sissinghurst colours, the Sissinghurst profusion, the Sissinghurst richness of inter-plating and ground cover, but to change the planting schemes when necessary. The gardeners have been outstandingly successful. One section of the garden has even been improved in their hands, the ever-troublesome Delos, which has been converted from a rock garden into a shrub garden.” Here’s to Sibylle, an outstanding cook and gardener!

The home of Pam and Sibylle

Erigeron karvinskianus making its presence felt in the seating area

The startling blue daisy heads of Felicia amelloides, as used at Hidcote in Mrs Winthrop’s garden

Another of the many grasses I was entrapped by on this trip, Miscanthus nepalensis. Behind on the wall is Vitis pulchra, which is preferred to V. coignetiae by Sibylle as it is ‘better behaved’

A pleasing mix of hard and soft features here, with a bit of clippery, some stones edging the lawn and the old Vitis scrambling over the arch

An unusual, late-flowering Geranium ‘Dilys’, with small flowers and leaves

The curious berries of Actaea pachypoda

Alstromeria ‘Apollo’, recommended by Sibylle as flowering all summer


Janet said...

`Bertie did you know that Pam and Sybille trained at Waterperry Gardening School run by one of my favourite women gardeners, the redoubtable Beatrix Havergall. She trained them well I think.

Bertie Bainbridge said...

Hi Janet! I must admit, I only know her name due to researching Sibylle. She clearly set the pair of them up for great things!

Martin Neill said...

I've enjoyed all your posts from my neck of the woods here in East Sussex - feeling very lucky to have such great gardens within reach!

Janet said...

Bertie you must aquainte yourself with Beatrix Havergall - a woman renouned for her prize winning Chelsea strawberries and her dress sense. I did a post back in July about discerning lady gardeners . There is a photo of her there in all her glory!

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

Great shot of the daisies under the seat. And I like G. 'Dilys'; new to me and quite fetching in that light.

It must have been thrilling to walk and talk with Sibylle- one of the great gardeners of Sissinghurst.

Adding to Janet's comment: I just read an article on Miss Havergal's garden Waterperry and its fame for its Michaelmas daisies. Another fun autumn outing.

Prue said...

How nice to hear about Pam and sybille. I always wondered what had happened to them.

The Felicia is wonderful - such a lovely soft blue. A favorite of mine. Thanks Bertie!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

Martin - the wealth of beauty you have on your doorstep is incredible!

I will have a look at Beatrix just now.

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