Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, the remains of an Elizabethan manor house, is one of those quintessentially English places. It is a garden and it is a ruin. We English love and worship our gardens. Ancient ruins are so evocative; they connect us with the past. We feel deeply connected to gardens and ruins.
Gardeners are artists in the true sense. With their choice of plants, shrubs and trees they create moods and settings within which we can inhabit and live. A garden has pathways, rooms, colours, textures, light and shadow, large and small spaces. They are full of drama, whimsy, and intensity. Great gardens are theatre settings, painting and drama combined.
The garden at Sissinghurst is all of these things. Created by Harold Nicholson, the diplomat and his wife Vita Sackville West, the poet, novelist and lover of Virginia Woolf, in 1930’s, this garden is their true legacy.
I went there recently and explored the world they created.
There are cottages within the garden rented to those who would like to stay for a while.
Vita Sackville West's library.