Out There: Sissinghurst sets garden standard

The White Garden
The White Garden

Most gardens exist simply for pleasure but there are some which lead the way in terms of creativity and design.

And a rare few set the standard for all gardens.

Sissinghurst is one such garden.

Created in the 1930s by poet and garden writer Vita Sackville-West and her author husband Harold Nicolson, the gardens at Sissinghurst are still at the cutting edge of design.

I went there a couple of weeks ago during a holiday with my husband Mark.

Unfortunately, it was pouring with rain on our visit but this didn’t stop us exploring the gardens and taking photographs.

We were entranced by the sheer beauty of the gardens. There were so many quiet corners where it was possible to sit and admire the exquisite planting.

Vita, a friend of writer Virginia Woolf and a fringe member of the famous Bloomsbury Group, was well known for the columns that she wrote for The Observer newspaper.

Most people who are keen on gardening will have heard of the concept of ‘garden rooms’.

Vita popularised garden rooms and to this day the concept is often key to good garden design. Vita’s garden at Sissinghurst Castle is best viewed from the top of a tower at the centre of the castle complex.

As we’d expected, the garden was made up of ‘rooms’, each with a different theme.

Perhaps the most famous ‘room’ is Vita’s White Garden.

Her idea was to have a garden planted entirely with white flowers.

I absolutely adored this garden.

Although it was at the end of the season, it was still a delight to the eye. It was so peaceful and full of interest.

I could see exactly why it had inspired so many gardeners over the years.

Verses of poetry written by Vita lined the walls and there was even a haunting recording of her speaking about Sissinghurst and gardening matters.

Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens are run by the National Trust.

For more information on Sissinghurst go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle.