I live about ten minutes’ drive away from Sissinghurst Castle. In the last 8 years, there has probably never been more than a three-week period when I have not visited. You might think I would get bored, but no. There is always lots to see; constant change and flux. Since Troy Scott-Smith took over as Head Gardener, the pace of change has picked up, with the reinstating of wildflower meadows and ponds, opening out views to the surrounding countryside, enlarging the beds in the white garden, and exciting new plantings all over the place.
Whilst I walk in the woods year-round, this was my first visit since the garden re-opened for spring. These were my highlights for today.
The first highlight couldn’t be captured in a photo: it was the song of several robins, each trilling from a different part of the garden. There was also the loud buzz of bees around pulmonaria and hellebores.
This is most welcome in someone else’s garden. I removed my own Chaeonomeles x superba this winter, having been mauled by it one too many times. This one seems to be tame, and under control.
The rose garden at Sissinghurst is known for its ingenious ways to support roses. The hazel hoops were a joy to see today. If anyone knows where I can source my own supply of ‘benders’ (!) please let me know, as I would like some of my own! The second photo is one of the many marvelous figs, trained against the walls. You can’t beat Sissinghurst for supportive undergarments.
The Secret Garden
The cutting garden and nursery beds were open today. Usually we get a tantalising glimpse through a half-open gate, with a rope and a sign saying ‘Private’. Not so today! There were neat little rows of primulas, hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips, with the hyacinths perfuming the whole area. The two images below are ‘Miss Saigon’ and ‘Blue Delft’. As you can see, they were fresh from the shower.
There were the trial beds of delphiniums. Look at the muck on those! And the gravelly protection from slugs and snails…
I have been known to say you can’t beat a common primrose, Primula vulgaris, but the cultivated varieties were looking rather lovely today. Here’s a selection:
The Long View
I do favour close-ups, but Sissinghurst reminds me that structure and perspective are important. I love an arch; even better a double arch; but how about a quadruple arch? The moat was looking impressive with imposing reflections of oaks. And the magnolia is about to burst its buds. I thought I would capture an upwards view of the tower too. I didn’t capture its spanking new roof, because the tower was feeling self-conscious. I am told the glaringly bright tiles will dull down over the next few months.
The pots and containers at Sissinghurst are always glorious. I love that the display of a few cut stems under the entrance arch. They are held in glass cylinders on a wooden stand, with brown labels attached. Today it was the turn of Pulmonaria ‘Boughton Blue’, Pulsatilla rubra and Primula eliator.
Also looking good in pots were Euphorbia charrachias subsp. ‘Wulfenii’, some succulents in the herb garden, tulip foliage in the large copper in the Cottage Garden, and Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’. It had wet hair because of the earlier rain.
The nuttery is in the process of being re-planted along the furthest boundary. From what I could spy, there was epimedium, Anemone ‘Wild Swan’, Primula vulgaris, Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, crocuses and Actaea japonica. This is about a tenth of the planting area!
Purchases (Lack of! Hurrah!)
You see that picture below? That’s right! Nothing! I was sorely tempted in the shop by some beautiful turquoise glazed earthenware pots and a wibbly wobbly misshapen recycled glass vase, but no! Remember? My pledge not to buy new stuff!
What is your favourite garden to visit? Is there a garden you can visit again and again and never get bored?