For the latest in our Travel Notes series, we discover Sissinghurst Castle gardens in Kent, former home to the poet and writer Vita Sackville-West and her diplomat husband Harold Nicholson.
Poet and writer Vita Sackville-West set about transforming Sissinghurst gardens in the 1930s, alongside her diplomat husband Harold Nicholson. The gardens were designed to flow as a series of rooms.
The white garden at Sissinghurst is renowned and much imitated. Sackville-West's design was actually one of "grey, green and white". Nicolson once described this garden room as a "jungle", so amongst the structure of box hedges and brick pathways, the planting is free, overflowing and romantic. Pergolas stretch upwards to the sky, with climbing clematis and wisteria offering a canopy above. In Spring the garden room is awash with swathes of white tulips, fritillaria, anemone and hellebores.
Elsewhere, Spring blooms in the Lime Walk. Nicolson was responsible for the design and planting of this garden room, and described it as his "life's work". In contrast to his wife's romantic exuberance, Nicolson imposed structure and formality by planting an avenue of 30 lime trees, intersected by a central path and surrounded by classical, intricate planting. At ground level, the borders are a mass of Spring flowering bulbs; while on the path, huge planters are filled to the brim with colourful tulip displays.
Find out more about Sissinghurst Castle Gardens.