As self taught gardeners, Tom and I spend a great deal of time and effort designing, cultivating and nurturing our gardens. We’ve planted every single tree, shrub, perennial and bulb ourselves. We also do all the pruning, watering, weeding, etc., etc. Of course some plants just don’t make it despite all the TLC – perhaps we ought to try benign neglect? That seems to always work on weeds!

Being recognized in Southern Living magazine is a tremendous honor for us. (Please refer to my previous post if you missed it.) And, we are very grateful for all of your kind comments about our gardens. Thank you 🙂

On the topic of gardens, those of you following me on INSTAGRAM know of our recent visit to Sissinghurst in England. Why a visit this early in the season? We were interested in studying the bones of this fabled garden. A well designed garden should be pleasing in all seasons. Plus, the early spring bulbs were in bloom – so, why not? It was quite pleasant to stroll through Sissinghurst without the crowds of people. This is an extremely popular destination during high season, so if you visit, join the queue just before opening. Enjoy!

In the 1930s Vita Sackville-West, poet and gardening writer, along with her husband Harold Nicolson, author and diplomat, started this garden.

From Sissinghurst Castle by Adam Nicolson:  Sissinghurst is more than a garden. It is a garden in the ruin of a great Elizabethan house, set in the middle of its own woods, streams and farmland and with long views on all sides across the fields and meadows of the Kentish landscape.

Visitors are greeted in the Forecourt by heavenly hyacinths in 19th century bronze urns. BELOW: Notice how the pleached trees above the yew hedge create an outdoor room setting. Sissinghurst is famous for its garden rooms delineated by hedges, trees and walls.
The 16th century Elizabethan Tower is a good place to begin the tour – climb up to the top for stunning panoramic views! We didn’t go up this time, but have done so in the past. (See photos from a previous trip at the end of this post.) Vita’s workroom / office is located in the Tower so don’t miss it.

The Top Courtyard with potted bulbs edging a fresh green lawn.
Raised stone troughs containing tiny Fritillaria Michailovskyi (above) and Muscari Cupido (below) bulbs – a clever way to elevate these mini treasures for enjoyment. I really like the top dressing of gravel. (Note to self: use on our potted herbs!)
A dazzlingly display of anemones, chinodoxias and scillas blanketing the Delos in March.
Drifts of daffodils carpeting the fields of the Orchard.
Ushering in spring are two of my favorites: camellias and hellebores. Both shade-loving evergreens bloom about the same time, although certain varieties of camellias flower in the fall.
An allee of pleached lime trees in the Lime Walk. Tom was especially interested in seeing how these trees were pruned. They look like sculptures!
Leucojums (above) burst into bloom, while the elusive Snakeshead fritillaries (below) made a more subtle appearance.
All is neat and tidy in the Rose Garden. The box and yew hedges were perfectly clipped.
 Roses, clematis and other plants are trained on structures made from hazel branches – so organic!
A cheerful combination of yellow Mahonia and lavender-blue Pulmonaria flowers.
BELOW: I believe this Stachyurus Chinensis Celina shrub is quite rare. The pale yellow flowers look especially pretty and delicate in the early spring landscape.
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Now some photos from a previous visit in late July. These were taken just a little past 11:00 AM soon after opening.
Two bird’s-eye views from the Tower.
A shallow trough planter in summer.
Pure bliss in Sissinghurst’s lengendary White Garden! I’ve drawn much inspiration from this glorious garden’s plantings and color palette of whites, silvers, grays and greens.
The sun is finally making an appearance so I need to wrap it up here – much to do outside. Thanks for visiting 🙂
PS – Next post we journey to Paris!