I thought I would pay a visit to Sissinghurst to appreciate the early spring plantings. Would you like to come along?
There are always a few pots displayed at the entrance. Today it was the turn of these hoop petticoat daffodils.
When I am photographing plants, I often favour my macro lens in order to capture the details of flowers. Today I made a conscious decision to use a different lens (14-42mm) in order to capture the bigger picture. I enjoyed playing around with angles so that I could capture detail in the foreground, but give a sense of space and perspective in the background.
This is flowering quince in the top courtyard. I love the warm apricot colouring with the weathered Tudor bricks as a backdrop.
I always admire the planting in the stone troughs. This is Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’, which featured in my post ‘A Certain Flair’.
These daffodils smelled awful! I know that paperwhite daffodils can have an unpleasant smell to some people. I wonder if this variety also affects people differently?
I always enjoy the structure of Sissinghurst. The brickwork, the wooden windows and doors, the steps covered with moss. They are the perfect staging for pots and planting.
This gate, which leads into the rose garden, is like an entrance to paradise. I know that I am going to enjoy whatever is on the other side.
Today it was the curves of the fig trained up the wall…
A carpet of Ipheon uniflorum…
And Scilla siberica and Euphorbia myrsinites edging the path. This is a perfect combination for shallow soil which will dry out in summer. Both plants are drought-tolerant.
The gardeners leave the gate open into the nursery beds. There is a magic carpet of primulas. I do love a rainbow.
The cherry blossom has took a battering last week. Fortunately this one hung on through the high winds.
This is the way to grow pulmonaria: a thick, shag-pile carpet. There are no gaps in between, and there is just an unbroken pattern of flower.
The Lime Walk is glorious throughout spring. The first things to capture my attention were the pots of flowering quince. I love the startling colour against the stark, bare hedge behind.
And then the grouped plantings of spring bulbs. Here are Leucojum (snowflakes).
And here are scilla (possibly Scilla hyacinthoides – thanks Chloris!)
You really have to crouch down to fully appreciate the smaller spring flowers. Here are scilla again, with Anemone blanda (windflower).
Occasionally, a single speciment will catch your eye. I love the colour of this muscari (grape hyacinth). The structure of the sealed petals always fascinates me. These will burst open at the ends to form little flowerlets the shape of tiny bloomers.
At the end of the spring walk is a view into the nuttery. The arching branches of hazel remind me of the cloisters of a cathedral.
The nuttery had to wait. I took this turn into the cottage garden. Admiring the casual smattering of primroses by the gate.
The budding leaves of peonies always fascinates me. I think tree peonies are my very favourite, because they are at head height. You can see the flower bud cuddled up within a duvet of leaves. It is a perfect nest.
The cottage garden was filled with fragrance today. It was bouncing off the sun-warmed walls of the South Cottage.
The wallflowers will add to the bouquet over the next week or so.
I am happy to report that these daffodils smelt lovely.
This is a lovely planting of Erythronium (dog’s tooth violet) and Eranthus hyemalis (winter aconite). The shadows of the leaves look like little hands!
Anemone blanda (windflower) reappeared here. They are looking out onto the orchard, which is full of daffodils.
The path to the orchard was closed today, so I doubled back to the nuttery. The hellebores are still looking lovely.
Many of the flowers have now been pollinated. The anthers have fallen away, leaving five swollen lobes of the ovary (you can see more about the structure of a hellebore in this post).
I took this picture in the herb garden for those who enjoy succulents. I haven’t been bitten by this particular bug yet, but I’m sure my time will come. I find with gardening that you can be bumbling along, enjoying your thing, not particularly noticing a whole group of plants and then bam! you notice them in someone else’s garden and you are obsessed by them.
I love this oak tree. I love all oak trees, but I especially this one because it throws its reflection into the moat and reminds us that gardens are all very nice, but nature is awe-inspiring. This line of oaks has the same effect on me as entering a cathedral and looking up to the heavens.
This is the view up to the tower.
Magnolias, like all spring blossom, require a blue sky to show their splendour.
Magnolia blossom is so fleeting! But I did enjoy looking at the structure of the flower. Unlike most of our garden flowers, magnolias evolved before flying insects. They were originally pollinated by beetles. Their carpels (the female parts of the flower which comprises the stigma, style and ovaries) are extremely tough, to protect them from damage by beetles. You can see the carpel (after the petals have dropped) in the photo below. The carpel is about the size of my little finger, and is indeed tough!
I would usually end my little walk by going through the White Garden and into the Delos, but you don’t want to see what’s going on there at the moment! Let’s just say, you can see a lot of Wealden clay and a JCB. Instead, I made my way back up to the top courtyard to admire the hyacinths in pots.
And the hyacinths in the purple border.
I hope to report on the progress of the Delos towards the end of the year. The Delos is being redesigned by Dan Pearson, and the vision is that it will reflect Vita and Harold’s dream of a Mediterranean Garden.
I hope that you enjoyed this little sunny skip around Sissinghurst. I will be back in my own garden for the next post. I am hoping to have a little festival of tulips starting very soon. You will be the first to know!
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