Give Now


Vita Sackville-West's luxuriant plantings create a setting of decadence and romance at the garden of Sissinghurst Castle.

One of the most famous gardens in the world is the garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson. Their son, Nigel, gave the house and gardens to the National Trust and he gave his parent’s papers to Indiana University where they are housed in the Lilly Library on the Bloomington campus.

The papers are a wonderful resource for scholars and garden enthusiasts. Sissinghurst is a very personal garden, but one which has been widely imitated – especially the compartmental arrangement of garden areas and the magical white garden.

A Fusion Of Gardening Styles: Harold and Vita

Harold designed the plan uniquely–his straight lines were a departure from the Gertrude Jekyll style of flower gardening. However, Vita’s luxuriant plantings created an overall feeling of abundance and romanticism. Old-fashioned roses, under-planted with hardy geraniums, still perfume the air and delight visitors. Clematis and roses drape together on the antique brick walls.

The colors are soft, and the blooms are luxuriant. Each area of the garden has a different identity – a marriage of Harold’s austere design and Vita’s extravagant plant combinations. The Tower at Sissinghurst is where Vita wrote her garden column published in “The Observer.” It made her the best-known amateur garden authority of her time.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Focus on Flowers:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Focus on Flowers

About The Host

Search Focus on Flowers

Focus on Flowers on Flickr