U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rainy Sissinghurst. Part 1

Less words, more pictures.

Almost everyone heard about Sissinghurst Castle and Garden, and who didn't can easily find information on Google.
Vita Sackville-West, a poet and a garden writer, and Harold Nicolson, a diplomat and author
moved to Sissinghurst in 1932 and started to work on a garden which now is one of the most famous gardens in England and one of the great gardens in the world.
Nowadays, a team of gardeners and volunteers is taking care of it. I had a chance to talk to some of them. They are very friendly, nice people.

Our hotel was in the center of London. On the morning of May 13th, singing 'London Bridge is falling down...', I walked to the London Bridge train station and rode for about an hour to Staplehurst.
The train arrived right when the local bus was ready to go to Sissinghurst.
A quick run, and I am on the bus, which was big, comfortable and very clean.
 Arriving in Sissinghurst, I consulted a local postman, who said it was approximately half a mile, well, maybe a bit more, to the Castle, and I started on my way.

Several minutes later, I realized that 'a bit more' was a very important detail.
I walked, and walked, and walked along the road on the narrow footpath, all alone despite my expectation that there will be crowds of garden lovers heading in the same direction.
Obviously, the majority of the visitors take another route.
The walk was very picturesque, pass woodlands, fields, farms and pastures.

I walk fast, and although the way seemed to be pretty long, I reached my goal in approximately half an hour.
To my surprise, there were no crowds. It was Tuesday, there was rain in the forecast, and it was just after 11 a.m. when the Garden opens.
I took a couple of pictures and voila! The rain started!

Everyone went for cover. I opened the hotel's umbrella and went for the garden!
A garden in the rain is still a garden, don't you think so?
During my visit, the rain was on and gone, on and gone. So, the pictures will be both dark and bright.
Many shots were dictated not by the rules of composition, but by the effort to avoid fellow guests being present in the pictures.
I apologize for not showing the garden rooms methodically, one after another, since often I moved to the one which was deserted at given time.
People were arriving. At 2 p.m. two tour buses appeared, but I was done by then.
Well, let's go! Keep your umbrellas handy!

These urns are absolutely beautiful.

Most of the pictures below are of the White Garden, that was originally planted as a Rose Garden in 1931 and turned into a White Garden in 1950. 
 View of the White Garden from above:

Perfectly trimmed yew walk at the right is incredible!

 The Chinese Ming vase was brought by Harold from Egypt in 1937.
The metal canopy to support the white roses was installed in 1969.

Vestal Virgin (Goddess of the hearth) by Yugoslavian sculptor Toma Rosandic, lead cast, 1935:

The outdoor dining area by the Priest's House with the white Wisteria brachybotrys 'Shiro-kapitan' climbing over the pergola (Erechtheum):

I read that there are five fig trees in the Garden, this one in the White Garden and four others in the Rose Garden. Lady Sackville, Vita's mother, gave them to Harold and Vita.
You can read about pruning the fig trees by Sissinghurst gardeners here.

Some of the plants growing in the White garden: silver-leaved weeping pear (Pyrus salicifolia pendula), 
Stachys lanata, iceberg roses, Rosa mulliganii (you can read about it here: The White Garden Rose), calla lilies, Gypsophila paniculata, Crambe cordifolia, Pulmonaria 'Sissinghurst White', Tiarella wherryi, Polygonatum (Solomon's seal), Chamaenerion angustifolium 'Album'(white willow herb), Veronicastrum, Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' .

To be continued. There will be more sun, I promise!
To see Sissinghurst posts # 2-8, click the Label 'Sissinghurst' or click 'Newer Post' below the comments.
The last post #8 is here: Sissinghurst Garden. Part 8, the Last. Random Pictures

***Copyright 2014 TatyanaS


  1. Thank You for letting me walk with you through this garden.
    Loved seeing the old castle. The walkways. Brick. Gardens.
    I'll never be there but I feel like I was.


  2. Fantastic, I've always wanted to go there.

  3. Kudos to you for venturing out in the rain. Here in the PNW (as you know) if you aren't willing to be outside in the rain, you'll never get any fresh air. You shared some really beautiful pictures here, thanks! I especially love that first one, of the Clematis with the brick building behind.

  4. Your photos are wonderful because they make me feel as if I am walking with you looking up, down and all around wandering the gardens to see as much of this beautiful garden as possible. I like the way you captured the precision of the hedge especially. I've seen many photos of this garden but yours are a very personal and close up view which I enjoyed. I look forward to seeing the rest of your garden visits.

  5. Karen MashburnMay 19, 2014

    Seeing this through your artful eyes is the next best thing to being there. Nice touch on the last shot...umbrella in the foreground. I'd love to see this place every month to see the transformation as other plants perform their acts. I'm so glad you were able to go so you could share with us!

  6. I loved this rainy day tour! So serene and lovely. It was neat seeing the rain drops in some of your photos too. What beautiful countryside you walked through to get there.

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us.


  7. Incredible images of this beloved garden! I especially liked the final picture with your umbrella! How wonderful that you were able to see Sissinghurst in person! I've read about and seen pictures for many years but have never been there myself. Great tour and I look forward to seeing more!

  8. Can't beat those ancient buildings, but the tightly clipped hedges actually resemble old walls. We could do that.

  9. Thanks, Tatiana! What a lovely trip! I'm glad you started from the beginning, walking to the gardens. I did click on the fig pruning link as I have a fig tree and was wondering this very morning how to refine it. Sorry some of their photos are not coming through. I'm curious how they curled the fig canes on to the adjacent wall. I'll search around. Thank you again for such a beautiful adventure!

  10. Great photos and I love the whimsy of the last photo with the umbrella. I'll tell you the British sure no how to make a garden, don't they?

  11. This is wonderful, felt like I was there!


  12. What a wonderful adventure! I didn't make it to Sissinghurst when I was in England, and I can see I missed out. I enjoyed your sweeping vistas and beautiful angles. Thanks for sharing!

  13. What a wonderful treat for you to be able to visit this historic garden, thanks for taking us a long! And of course you didn't let a little rain stop you, you're a Pacific Northwesterner now!

  14. This was so much fun. I haven't been to Sissinghurst but it's on my must-see list. Lovely, and very English-looking, especially in the rain. Those hedges are indeed amazing.

  15. THANK YOU everyone for your kind comments! I'll try to post about the Rose Garden soon! Then, there will be the Cottage Garden...

  16. Oooh, this garden has been on my bucket list for some time! Beautiful photos, Tatyana; I think sometimes the rain is much better for taking photos anyway. Those hedges are amazing. Thanks so much for taking us on this tour!


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