“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.
A Look From Above at Many of the Gardens (not all)
Now to the many flowers throughout
The White Garden
More gardens and flowers to peruse
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.
Explore all of TSLL’s Posts shared so far during the 4th Annual British Week