Sissinghurst blows hot and cold

We had an impromptu Sissinghurst skip on Sunday, children, grandparents and all, so I thought I would share a few pics of what’s going on.


I love this wonderful red-with-a-hint-of cerise-and-crimson lily-flowered tulip.  I couldn’t find a label for the variety.  It’s too pinkish for ‘Red Shine’ I think, so I’m opting for ‘Pieter De Leur’, but am happy to be corrected!

Tulipa ‘Pieter de Leur’?

It was the perfect partner for ‘Black Parrot’ in pots along the Lime Walk.

Tulipa ‘Black Parrot’

In my previous post, Sissinghurst at the start of the season, I showed the lovely copper pot full of ‘Princes Irene’ tulip foliage.  The turquoise of the pots set off the glaucous foliage perfectly.  Here are the tulips in full flower (the foliage still looking wonderful – somewhere between teal and jade-green):

Tulipa ‘Princes Irene’

Stevie noticed that there were a few double-headed tulips.  Like this one:


I love the subtlety of ‘Princes Irene’, with those really delicate brush-strokes of powdered plum-magenta, and the occasional hint of green along the mid-rib.

The Cottage Garden

The Cottage Carden was looking radiant, with meandering riverlets of wallflowers (Erysimum cheiri ‘Blood Red’ and ‘Cloth of Gold’), Tulipa ‘Aladdin’ and the appropriately named Glaucium flavum.  I remember reading that Vita Sackville-West always wanted to find a turquoise flower.  Maybe that quest inspired all of this gorgeous turquioise-jade foliage?

Erysimum cheiri ‘Fire King’, ‘Blood Red’ and ‘Cloth of Gold’, Tulipa ‘Aladdin’ and Glaucium flavum

And here’s the longer view, looking from the cottage.  You can see the pleached limes just peeping over the hedge.


Do you want to cool down now?  Let’s go to the nuttery.  All is calm here.  There are beautiful carpets of my favourite fern, Onoclea sensibilis (the sensitive fern) and the taller uncurling fronds of Matteucuccia struthiopteris.  The white trilliums were also looking lovely.


If we just take a turn on the lovely bark-mulch path here…


In my previous post, Sissinghurst at the start of the season, there was some serious planting going on.  Here you can see the new planting on the left, with the established planting on the right.


I love the pops of blue on the left-hand side, and would love to tell you that I made sure to identify the plant.  Sadly this would be a great big lie, because I didn’t.

The White Garden

I have always struggled a bit with the white garden (or Grey, Green and White Garden, to give it Vita’s name).  Today it was a joy.  The ivory tulips mixed in with the white gave it a little zing.  So it was the Grey, Green, White and a touch of Ivory Garden.


Stevie drew attention to the metal arbour, supporting Rosa mulliganii, wondering if we need some sort of structure for our somewhere-in-the-pipeline patio extension.  I looked thoughtful and agreed that a little bit of shade would be welcome (calculating how many of my wish-list climbing roses could clothe such a structure).


It was pretty nippy out, I can tell you.  At this point the girls had climbed the tower twice, trying to locate my missing dad (he did turn up eventually), and we were ready for some warmth and refreshment.

32 Comments Add yours

  1. annpappas says:

    Those tulips are so beautiful! Keep posting photos for as long as they are flowering 🙂 All your photos are lovely!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Ann! I am really pleased you are still enjoying them.

  2. janesmudgeegarden says:

    It’s an unrelenting stream of gorgeousness in the UK right now: from one wonderful bloom to the next.

    1. Ali says:

      It is a lovely time of year. You turn your back and everything has grown a foot higher.

  3. pommepal says:

    So many to chose from, and I am not a tulip connesseur, but I think I will vote “Princess Irene” as my favourite. I love orange, with yellow they are my favourite colours and all massed together in your photo they are gorgeous. Thank you for this look at the inimitable Sissinghurst

    1. Ali says:

      ‘Princess Irene’ is a fine choice. You would love the Cottage Garden.

      1. pommepal says:

        My favourite style of garden

  4. A. JoAnn says:

    Thank you for the glorious tour! Never thought about a turqouise flower, but now it will be something to think about… . I once thought orange was a horrible color in the garden, but, as your pictures prove, it make everything so vibrant.

    1. Ali says:

      I think the closest I have seen is Cerinthe major, which can take on a turquiose tone, and also Iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkin’. The mix of blue and yellow and white can look turquoise if you squint a bit.

  5. Next time I come to England I will try to visit this garden! I imagine it looks different every week, every month and season depending on what’s in bloom. Another lovely virtual stroll with my morning coffee. Thanks Ali! 🌷

    1. Ali says:

      Oh, do, and pop in here!

      1. I might just have to do that! I promise to be one of the better behaved tourists! 😉

  6. Too many lovely tulips and the white border looks excellent

    1. Ali says:

      Glad you liked it, Dorris!

  7. Heyjude says:

    Sissinghurst is a true beauty. Your photos are gorgeous and made me want to get in the car and drive there myself! The bark path is new then is it? Somewhere near the nuttery? And keep on with the tulips as long as you find some. They last for such a short time. Interestingly my parrots are still hanging on despite the windy weather lately!

    1. Ali says:

      Oh, that’s good re: your parrots. I have one variety of parrots left, ‘Victoria’s Secret’. Might just squeeze in one last photo or post!

  8. I’m such a fan of Sissinghurst. Like you I love the profusion of colour – but when I try to sit down to plan something similar it never seems to quite come together that well! I think the way they use floods of the same flower to flow along in the beds is so clever. How lucky you are to live nearby!

    1. Ali says:

      We are really lucky. I love it. Yes, that threading through is really effective. I think they often plant a group of three or five, and then just two a little way off. It gives a nice, natural feel.

  9. Your blog is always such a breath of fresh air and a feast of color. Thank you, Ali.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Shelly! You’ve just prompted me to breathe properly!

  10. bcparkison says:

    I did enjoy your visit.There is just not anything like this close to me.

    1. Ali says:

      It is fantastic that we can visit places so easily, with the help of blogging!

  11. Eliza Waters says:

    Rather envious that you live so close to visit frequently. Such a lovely garden! The black parrot tulip is one I want – must look for it.

    1. Ali says:

      It is a wonderful one, with interesting tones and a really elegant shape. I’m growing ‘Victoria’s Secret’ this year, but it doesn’t have that subtlety that ‘Black Parrot’ has.

  12. Rupali says:

    Beautiful pictures.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Rupali.

  13. Sam says:

    I love the contrast of the hot and cold (but I prefer the hot). Lovely photos, thank you for sharing.

  14. Clare Pooley says:

    Bark mulch is wonderful stuff. We use it under our fruit trees but have a little trouble with birds who love to kick it about all over the place. I enjoyed this tour very much and never tire of your beautiful photos.

  15. Thanks for this as it’s such a major trek for us from north London I am very unlikely to go very soon. I can’t get enough pics of tulips so no need to stop on my account. Look forward to your next report.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! It is lovely being able to ‘visit’ gardens that are out of reach, isn’t it?

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