Vita Sackville-West & Sarah Raven, Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst: The Creation of a Garden.

My liking for gardens to be lavish is an inherent part of my garden philosophy. I like generosity wherever I find it, whether in gardens or elsewhere. I hate to see things scrimp and scrubby.
— Vita Sackville-West

I tend to agree with the great Vita Sackville-West. People who love the process of gardening are some of the most generous people I know. Gardeners will happily tell you where they got a plant, how to cultivate it and then fill your arms with flowers and cuttings as you leave. There's a simple joy in planning a colour scheme, a new garden bed and growing something from seed. I feel deep satisfaction seeing my garden unfold and change each year. Gardening teaches to you notice tiny details such as the blue of an iris popping against the yellow of a spring daffodil, or the perfect maroon hellebore sparkling with dew on a freezing winter's morning.

I was given Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst: The Creation of a Garden by a dear friend for my birthday. Such a thoughtful gift for someone who adores gardening and anything remotely horticultural. This book is a biography of Sissinghurst garden, how it was designed, planted out, maintained and modernised combined with an examination of Vita Sackville-West's gardening writing in the Observer and Country Life from 1946-1957. 

Sarah Raven is an enthusiastic gardener who brings a contemporary eye and sensible commentary to Sissinghurst, weaving Vita Sackville-West's writing with an examination of design plans, archival material and 150 photographs. It's fascinating, and at times very funny, reading. 

One day I hope to get to Sissinghurst in the UK, but in the meantime I shall content myself to dip in and out of this book full of commentary on design, colour, texture and philosophy. 

The Official Blurb from the publisher: Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst: The Creation of a Garden is published by Virago, UK. 

The Official Blurb from the publisher: Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst: The Creation of a Garden is published by Virago, UK. 

Hedges are always an important feature in any garden, however small, however large. Hedges are the things that cut off one section of the garden from another, they play an essential part in the general design.
— Vita Sackville-West, p53
May I put in a good word for Dill? ... It is I think extremely pretty, both in the garden and picked for indoors, perhaps especially picked for indoors, where it looks like a very fine golden lace ... It has many virtues, even if you do not rely upon it ‘to stay the hiccough, being boiled in wine’, or to ‘hinder witches of their will’. ... you can use the seeds to flavour vinegar , and for pickling cucumbers. You can also use the leaves to flavour soups, sauces and fish.
— Vita Sackville-West, pp324-325

Extras

Review: The Guardian, UK

Review: The Independent, UK

Visitor information: Sissinghurst Castle

Notes/blog from the talented gardeners who work at Sissinghurst

Sarah Raven's incredible website ... a must-visit for keen gardeners!