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Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the…

Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden

by Vita Sackville-West, Sarah Raven

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Sissinghurst is the garden created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicholson. They bought a Tudor era property that was nearly in ruins (it has a moat! And a tower!), fixed up the buildings without much modernization, and then, with Harold laying out the hardscape and Vita dealing with the plants themselves, made a garden that became very famous. Sissinghurst is the home of the famous (among gardeners) White Garden. Vita orchestrated a very lush garden, packed with flowers- especially scented flowers- that looked like they had sprung up naturally. Of course, it took a great deal of knowledge –and a couple of full time gardeners- to keep this looking natural.

150,000 people a year visit Sissinghurst to this day. While it has had changes- some plants didn’t do well, some just got old- the bones and spirit of the garden Vita created remain in place. Sarah Raven is a garden writer who has had the privilege of living at Sissinghurst for a while- she is married to Vita’s grandson. She considers herself the co-author of this book; she has mined Vita’s prodigious writings and included passages from them in the text. With this, we can see what Vita was trying to achieve in the garden and it’s a very interesting look inside. The book includes many black and white photos of the garden, inside the buildings, and Vita and her family; a few modern day color photos are also included. Very interesting for anyone interested in garden design from the viewpoint of living intimately with the garden 365 days a year. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Mar 26, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book and was sorry when it came to an end. The blend between the writings of Vita Sackville-West and Sarah Raven are seamless. This is a proper gardener's book with lots of details about the actual plants used by Vita and others. The pictures are small and quite informal which is nice and helps to give the impression of the garden as a personal space but also means that it definitely not a coffee table book. A serious book but a highly enjoyable one for those who are keen gardeners. ( )
1 vote Bowerbirds-Library | Apr 19, 2014 |
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From 1946 to 1957, Vita Sackville-West, the poet, bestselling author of All Passion Spent and maker of Sissinghurst, wrote a weekly column in the Observer describing her life at Sissinghurst, showing her to be one of the most visionary horticulturalists of the twentieth-century. With wonderful additions by Sarah Raven, Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst draws on this extraordinary archive, revealing Vita's most loved flowers, as well as offering practical advice for gardeners. Often funny and completely accessibly written with colour and originality, it also describes details of the trials and tribulations of crafting a place of beauty and elegance. Sissinghurst has gone on to become one of the most visited and inspirational gardens in the world and this marvellous book, illustrated with drawings and original photographs throughout, shows us how it was created and how gardeners everywhere can use some of the ideas from both Sarah Raven and Vita Sackville-West.… (more)

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