Saturday, 31 July 2010

Vita's ghost

Sisinghurst is apparently the most visited garden in England. The trouble with this fact is that it means there are a lot of other people trying to experience this wonderful place at the same time!

It is worthwhile, therefore, to wait until the majority of the coach parties and other hoards have moved on for their tea and then you can really relax into this romantic place.

Of course the ghost of Vita Sackville-West and her unconventional life pervades this garden and the fairytale tower, where Vita wrote, is ever-present in views across the garden. So tempting to lounge about the orchard reading some of the books that were written here or linked with the people who spent time here.

Such a contrast to the exuberance of Great Dixter: here the planting is harmonious and safe, but beautiful for it. The 'white garden is the most well known of the garden 'rooms'. My favourite, however, was the 'cottage garden' next to the South Cottage and filled with hot reds, oranges and yellows.

Towards the end of the day, after a cup of tea, we returned to the 'white garden' and found a shady place to sit and sketch. Finally the pen flowed as it should, un-hindered by the frustrations of earlier in the day.

The dominant colour in the 'white garden' is actually green, in all its different permutations and punctuated by the various white flowers. There is also a lot of grey. Many silver-leaved plants are used in amongst those with white flowers. It is all bound together by the strong lines of low box hedging and the faded red brick pathways.

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