Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sissinghurst - The White Garden

"I'm trying to make a grey,green and white garden. This is an experiment which I ardently hope may be successful, though I doubt it.

 My grey,green and white garden will have the advantage of a high yew hedge behind it, a wall along one side, a strip of box edging along another side, and a path of old brick along the fourth side. It is, in fact, nothing more than a fairly large bed, which has now been divided into halves by a short path of grey flagstones terminating in a wooden seat...

...from there I hope you will survey a low sea of grey clumps of foliage, pierced here and there with tall white flowers. I visualise the white trumpets of Regale lilies, grown three years ago from seed, coming up through the grey of southernwood and artemisia and cotton lavender, with grey and white edging plants.....

...Stachys Lanata , so much nicer under its English names of Rabbits' Ears or Saviour's Flannel. There will be white pansies, and white peonies, and white irises with their grey least I hope there will be these things.

It may be a terrible failure!"
Vita Sackville-West (1939)

Extract from Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst - The Creation of a Garden by Sarah Raven, wife of Vita's grandson, Adam, with many excerpts from Vita's own writing. Illustrated with over 150 black-and-white photos and twenty-four pages of colour it traces the history of Sissinghurst from the time it was built in the Elizabethan era to the present day with the focus on the 1930's and the transformation achieved by Harold Nicholson's architectural design and the vibrant, romantic planting of Vita Sackville-West. On a more practical note there are separate chapters on climbers, shrubs, flowers for scent etc and what to plant where.

A beautiful book and one for all gardeners to delight in.


  1. I love to see what other people do with their gardens, but I need colour!

    Pinks, reds and purples in particular. Although I do love silver leaved plants - they do add a sparkle to any garden :-)

  2. I'm not one of life's gardeners, but this still looks wonderful.