The story of the ‘castle’ (there is no castle), the Nicholsons and their social group, and their garden is inspiring and fascinating from start to finish.

Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and created a refuge of beauty and a world renowned garden. Vita and Harold bought the property and began transforming it in the 1930s. The buildings were an empty crumbling wreck with no electricity or plumbing. Harold concentrated on the architectural planning of the garden rooms, and Vita on the colourful, abundant planting in the gardens. Five years later they had the bones of what we see today, but never stopped improving until their deaths.

The garden itself is designed as a series of ‘rooms’, each with a different character of colour and/or theme, the walls being high clipped hedges and many pink brick walls. The rooms and ‘doors’ are so arranged that, as one enjoys the beauty in a given room, one suddenly discovers a new vista into another part of the garden, making a walk a series of discoveries that keeps leading one into yet another area of the garden. The geometric layout by Nicolson and wild planting by Sackville-West were both strongly influenced by the gardens of Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens.

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