Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sissinghurst on a Sunday

landscaping idea

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.  Its 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. Its 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

Dogs 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 atgroundeddesign, Deborah at Kilbourne Grove, Deborah at Debsgarden, Autumnbelle in Malaysia, Teza in Ontario,Tiggerlot at Thegalloping gardener, Edith Hope in Budapest and London, Michael in Dorset and  many many more

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