Spending the Afternoon at Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the Spring
Wednesday May 18, 2022

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We want to garden here to bring out the best in our next generation of gardeners, not just for Sissinghurst but for all gardens.” —Troy Scott Smith, head gardener at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

The top priority as I planned the part of our trip that would take us to England was to visit a National Trust or RHS Garden somewhere in the countryside. Of course, as British TSLL readers know, there are oodles to choose from, so having taken notes while watching the past two years of Gardeners’ World, as they tour many gardens throughout each season, I explored the locations for those gardens that had captured my attention. Sissinghurst was on the list and it didn’t hurt that Sarah Raven, whose podcast I listen to, had once worked at Sissinghurst and spoke highly of it.

Discovering that Sissinghurst was quite close to London (a one and a half hour train + cab ride away) and near the country accommodations of one of The Pigs (read this detailed post about our stay at The Pig at Bridge Place), Sissinghurst was decided as the garden that we would visit. Had we been able to acquire a rental car, I would have loved to have also visited Winston Churchill’s Chartwell which as one TSLL reader informed me (thank you Elizabeth!) is quite close and the two gardens are worth seeing during the same venture or within the same stay out in the country.

Arriving on the afternoon of Easter Monday, the weather was gently warm and only a few clouds filled the sky. The crowds were large, but it didn’t seem to matter as the garden is also quite large, so all visitors are spread out naturally. We arrived by taxi from our accommodations which was about a 30 minute drive each way, (£80-90 cab fare each way, we were not able to pick up a rental car as planned due to all rental car companies being closed on Easter Monday, and since we were only in the country for a day, we chose to use a cab, which was lovely as we both were able to take in the scenery during the drive – the bluebells were amazing to see just about everywhere amongst the trees).

Allowing ourselves time on our own for two hours to let the garden call us where it will, my mother and I (both gardeners, but gardening in different climate zones) went our separate ways and just took it all in.

Recently, an article appeared in The Financial Times profiling the head gardener who oversees Sissinghurst. Troy Scott Smith is not a new face at Sissinghurst, as he has worked there two previous times, but upon his return recently, he is seeking to return the garden (which was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1967) to what the original owners and designers of had created, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson (who purchased the dilapidated castle in 1930). He also shares how much work it requires to maintain the 5 acres that are dedicated to gardens (the entire estate is 450 acres). A worthwhile read, complete with more pictures of the garden as well.

Now to the full tour of the garden. I created a seven minute video for you to watch of the entire grounds (see below, following the short ad that begins the film), and also included many more photographs below to peruse.

Needless to say, visiting Sissinghurst Castle Garden was a treat for the senses and ignited even more my excitement for spring gardening when I returned to Le Papillon.

The Entrance


A Look From Above at Many of the Gardens (not all)

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Overlooking The White Garden

Now to the many flowers throughout







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~The well-known Moat Walk~







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The White Garden





More gardens and flowers to peruse





The Library

The library was a new creation by the original owners as they didn’t have a large place to entertain. So they converted what was once a stable into a library that during its time has hosted Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II. The furniture is placed where it was originally, and even the upholstery is the same print that originally covers the sofa and chairs.

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~All the more reason to welcome everyday bouquets into the home. :)~

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~You may have noticed that the three flowers depicted in TSLL’s new British illustration created by Sarah Lœcker are captured from my tour through Sissinghurst Castle Garden – the yellow single petal peony, the white tulips from The White Garden and the pink/peach tulip.~

Explore all of TSLL’s Posts shared so far during the 4th Annual British Week

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14 thoughts on “Spending the Afternoon at Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the Spring

  1. Absolutely incredible. Even though my outdoor space was a place of respite, I had never really concerned myself with expanding my perennials for a long time. But because of Gardener’s World and other shows, websites, and IG accounts, the British gardening mindset began to take serious hold. I love that the British government deems gardening and the preservation of such places as essential to the well being of its citizens. They are absolutely correct. Beautiful photos and gorgeous video, thank you so much Shannon, for this inspiring post. XO Rona

  2. Just gorgeous! What a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. Thank you for “taking” us there!

  3. Your photographs and video certainly do Sissinghurst justice. I spent last Friday at Chartwell which is within 10 minutes of home and currently the gardens there are glorious too, the wisteria and irises get particular mention. There are indeed many gardens to enjoy in this area and they all have their own character and highlights. I never tire of visiting them for the oasis of calm they provide and inspiration for my own small garden. I hope you get the opportunity to visit more of our wonderful gardens on your subsequent visits.

    1. Jane, I so hoped we could have visited Chartwell also. It will definitely be visited in the future. And you have described one of the reasons to visit the gardens multiple times so beautifully. A calm oasis, so true. Thank you for sharing and for stopping by. 🙂

  4. Oh Shannon, what a magical place. I would not be surprised it little fairies would pop out between the plantings! Thank you for taking so many photo’s and sharing them here. Right now I am working on plans for my Moon Garden. Certainly smaller in scale than the White Garden here, but enchanting just the same.

  5. Well done, Shannon! Your video and photos are exceptional and what a treat it is to see them. The gardens are glorious. Spring must be the best time to visit.

  6. Oh my goodness, such beauty captured! those peach colored tulips (I am guessing!) are divine!

  7. So grateful for the beautiful photos of this historic garden. Would love to visit one day along with the gardens at Chartwell.
    Wonderful to dream about the next trip to lovely places!

    And I must agree with Rona, I so appreciate the support that gardens (and gardeners) recieve in Britian! Thank you, Shannon!

  8. I love Sissinghurst and visited many times as I lived nearby. Each visit was a new experience. You chose well Shannon considering the great choice of gardens throughout Britain. Your photos and videos are lovely. The National Trust does a fabulous job. As a member you get to enjoy their gardens most of the year. I love cottage gardens as they’re one of the most organic and sustainable forms of gardens. The cottager was not rich so this type of garden is not expensive and a lot of the plants self seed. Kameela xx

  9. Thank you, Shannon, it was a lovely vicarious visit! 🙂

    Gardening, its active practice, widespread enjoyment and support, popular and official, is one of the main points that attracts me to British culture.

    Whit so many delightful RHS gardens, I must confess;-) that Sissinghurst is my absolute number one. And for all the fans out there I can recommend the book “Gardening at Sissinghurst”, by Tony Lord. It is a very interesting book, with beautiful photos, of course, but also with a solid portion of information on the process of creating the garden, the plants chosen, what worked and what didn’t, from the its inception. It is a book that I read when I need a dose of beauty (which is often) ans inspiration to choose plants.

    What I most admire about Sissinghurst is its point of balance: it is not a rigidly formal garden but also not a typical “wild” English garden. How it came to be so, it is part of its history and charm.

    And of course, the gardeners that work there (and in all the other RHS gardens, for that matter) have my greatest appreciation for keeping alive such a work of beauty. Unlike a museum piece, here the preservation of its cultural value is made in a continuous dynamic process of daily effort, attention and patience – here the beauty is alive.

  10. I loved these pictures!!! You are inspiring me to try my hand at planting flowers–I usually have bad luck with plants, but these pictures are breathtaking!!! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Beautiful photos. I love all the different textures captured next to the flowers. Those huge terracotta pots are divine!

  12. I just don’t know what it is about England, but I am just obsessed with it! No, I haven’t been there…..yet!
    I can see why you are taken with it Shannon! Thank you for sharing!

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