Sissinghurst on a Sunday

Actually I lied about the Sunday - I would not willingly visit Sissinghurst on a Sunday. It is a hugely successful National Trust Flag Ship, and after a television programme last year which my JP grandmother would have described as 'washing dirty linen in public' and a naughty journalist called 'Adam and Madam', its popularity has even increased, with numbers up 20% last year! So no Sunday visiting for me.  Instead I head there as a break in my odd working hours - usually arriving at 5.30pm and returning to my studio as the nice lady from the National Trust begs to be allowed to lock the door and go home.

This visit was particularly prompted by the nice people across the pond who talk gardens at all times of day and night to me via the Blotanical network.  It's great to have people all over the world* to whom every bud that opens and every bumble bee that busies itself in your tiny corner of the plant is a cause for daily excitement and joyful sharing - and for whom there can never be enough prattling on about plants! Several messages have said how lucky I am to be 'in the gardening mecca of the world' and several have Sissinghurst and Dixter down as places they want to see before they die. I do feel lucky most days, but this visit was for those that reminded me!

Regardless of the recent publicity, Sissinghurst gardens deserve their fame as a top notch example of 'Good Gardening'. The lawns are immaculate, thanks to Phil and his team, and the beds under the eye of Alexis Datta are beautifully planted, staked, weeded, pruned and mulched. It's a place to take students and to continue be a student too. I take classes there to look at the roses at this time of year.  But there are no roses?! True, but the pruning is an exquisite art form in itself!

When I am there it happily tends to look empty like this:-

The Woodland area behind the white garden is full of Scillas, with Magnolia and the Camellia just visible on the wall.

Viola glabella and polyanthus gold laced

Dog's tooth violets Erythronium tuolumnense and E. 'White Beauty' below,
Followed by The hot garden just warming up, Fritillaria rubra maxima is the star of the show at the moment. (Apart from the elegant gentleman in the beret)

Fritillaria verticilliata looks fab in  the white garden and the lime avenue  is at its best at this time of year with the bulb borders bursting each side. The most unusual Stachyrus chinensis 'Celina' with its hanging bells of flowers is a treat.

My favourites though are the trilliums and the veratrum. Woodland moisture and acid lovers, they carpet the nut walk together with epimedium and hellebores, just delicious. The  yellow is Trillium chloropetalum and the deep claret is Trillium sessile.

Sweet buds of Clematis Alpina Ruby to show me the way to the door..

* A very few of the very large cast: (click on the names to see their blogs too!)

Thomas atgroundeddesignDeborah at Kilbourne GroveDeborah at DebsgardenAutumnbelle in Malaysia, Teza in Ontario,Tiggerlot at Thegalloping gardener, Edith Hope in Budapest and London, Michael in Dorset and  many many more


  1. Marian, thank you for this visit, you are right, late in the day is the time to visit. And thank you for that great shot of the Lime Walk. The pleached Tilias are very, very straight, will have to work on that, lol.

  2. Thank you Deborah, I hope you enjoyed the Monty Don article - looking forward to photos of your lime walk!

  3. I found your blog while I was searching for Viola glabella. I just found some this morning next to our creek, and I'd never seen them here before. I never expected to see them growing at Sissinghurst.

  4. Thank you for that - I see that you did a fair bit of research on them too, looking at your post. Lucky you to have them growing wild!

  5. Hi Marian - thank you for visiting my little blog project. I've decided that I want to live where you live - your surrounding gardens are amazing.

  6. Oh, what a great place this is, so full of rustic charm and beauty.

  7. Thanks for mentioning my blog! You are right, every flower brings a little shiver of ecstasy; I could spend all day commenting on your gorgeous photos of Sissinghurst. If I am ever in that part of the world, it is on the top of my list of places to visit, and I will make sure to come when the crowds are gone! (But i would come on a Sunday if I had to.)

  8. Oh, Marian, I was so engrossed with looking at your beautiful pictures of this English garden I forgot to thank you for mentioning my blog here. Actually, I am very delighted and honoured, so thank you very much once again. :) I really wish that one day I can visit Sissinghurst.

  9. Your photos and writing are enchanting. You have an eye and ear for the poetic. Always look forward to your blog. I feel transported.


  10. the erythroniums are my favourite...we live next door to Stourhead NT and they close the gates at 7 pm but they dont lock them!...we sneak in just before sunset and walk around the lake with a bottle of cider...great post Marian

  11. I love Stourhead too Michael! One of the happiest days of my life was a hot summer's day before A'levels spent sitting on quiet grass verges of Dorest lanes whilst hitch hiking to Stourhead with someone I loved. Of course you must drink cider there and how wonderful to have the place to yourself! I hope you'll post us some pics next time. I did revisit with my children on the way to Devon a few years ago, and was amazed at the size of the new car park!


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