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Sissinghurst Invitation

March 22, 2010

Sissinghurst Castle (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)No, this is not an invitation to meet at the entrance to Sissinghurst Castle for a group outing. (Wouldn’t that be lovely!) Instead, it’s an invitation for a virtual group outing.

My recent post (Gardens Worth Visiting: Sissinghurst) about my experience of visiting Sissinghurst generated quite a few responses from those who had their own strongly felt relationships with this famous garden. For some, the experience was of their own visit(s); for others, the relationship was to a Sissinghurst that lived in their imaginations. Over and over, the word “iconic” was used to describe this garden.

Given this strong response, I want to invite other garden bloggers to post about their own experiences of or relationships with Sissinghurst. You might, for example, post about your experience visiting Sissinghurst, or your thoughts about what makes Sissinghurst an iconic garden, or about how Sissinghurst has influenced your own garden. Or you might share your favorite images of Sissinghurst. However you choose to approach this, I’d love to hear about the ways that Sissinghurst has been a presence in your own life as a gardener.

When you post, leave a comment here (preferably including a link to your post), and I’ll create a list of posts with links.

Thanks to Jack at Sequoia Gardens for inspiring this invitation.

Posts in response to this invitation:

Home & Garden Blogs

24 Comments leave one →
  1. sequoiagardens permalink
    March 22, 2010 2:49 pm

    I’ll be right there in the queue, Jean, as soon as I’ve packed my bags! What a lovely pic to go with the invitation. Is the ghostly figure in front of the yew on the right not perhaps our hostess herself, awaiting our virtual arrival?!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 23, 2010 11:09 am

      Jack, I don’t know who the ghostly figure (with branches hiding her face) in front of the yew is. Since I usually travel alone, I have almost no photographs of myself. Well, truth be told, I almost never photograph people; I’m much more interested in plants! I’m also not comfortable approaching strangers and asking them to take a photo of me — which is interesting, since people approach me all the time to ask just this favor, and I’m always happy to oblige.

  2. March 22, 2010 9:06 pm

    Jean, What a great idea. Sissinghurst is on my wish list, but I’ll put on the garden chapeau cum thinking cap and see what comes up… if anything, I’ll report back.

    • Jean permalink*
      March 23, 2010 11:10 am

      Helen, I’d love it if you end up with some thoughts to share in a post — but I know how busy you are with your two courses, so no pressure. -Jean

  3. March 23, 2010 1:08 am

    Sissinghurst is definitely on my list of gardens to visit the next time I get over to the UK, which probably is not any time soon. So, I will enjoy other’s thoughts and pictures in the meantime 🙂

  4. March 23, 2010 9:08 am

    Jean, it is certainly something I would love to experience…but have nothing to share. I missed your last post and am headed that way now;-) RE: my photography post, it will be something I will definitely do and I appreciate your mention. I haven’t decided ‘when’ yet, but will let you know ‘when it happens’!!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 23, 2010 11:18 am

      Jan and Noelle, I’m hoping that enough people do share their experiences that we’ll have lots of different angles of vision on Sissinghurst. It would also be great if some who haven’t been there would write about why it’s on their wish list — but given the emphasis on photos in garden blogs, I know that probably won’t happen.

  5. March 23, 2010 10:24 am

    Hi Jean …. great idea! And I’ve put in my penny worth on my latest posting – dedicated to you and accessible at:
    Here’s to happy garden visits!! GG

    • Jean permalink*
      March 23, 2010 11:27 am

      Charlotte, Thanks so much for being the first to take me up on my invitation. I love your photos of Sissinghurst, especially the one of the white garden, which captures so much more of it than anything I had in my photo album.

      The whole issue of crowds is interesting, because I don’t remember Sissinghurst being crowded when I was there. In my photos, you can see that there were other people, but they weren’t thick on the ground. Certainly it wasn’t like my earlier visits (during the same 4-week trip) to the Chelsea Flower Show, where I could barely move my elbows away from the side of my body, or to Giverny, where I had to wait in line more than an hour to get in. My memory of my visit to Sissinghurst is that I arrived early in the day, before the gardens opened, and wandered around the grounds outside the garden for a while. But I’m sure I stayed for hours once I got inside — because I always do. Maybe visiting on a rainy day helped with crowd control. Or maybe it has gotten much more crowded in the ten years since I was there. It will be interesting to hear from those who have been more recently or who visited as part of a coach tour.

  6. March 23, 2010 2:17 pm

    I would love to make a visit. I have been reading about Vita, her son and her grandson. It must be such a special place.


  7. March 23, 2010 5:21 pm

    Oh darn I thought it was an invitation, and I would’ve taken you up on it too 🙂
    That is one place I’d love to visit one day!!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 23, 2010 10:13 pm

      Catherine, So sorry to disappoint ;-). Wouldn’t it be nice if it were a real invitation and I could meet a group of my virtual friends there to tour the garden. Maybe someday.

      Eileen, I did find it to be a special place, although some English visitors have found it very crowded (see Charlotte’s post).

  8. March 25, 2010 3:49 am

    I’ve posted about Sissinghurst myself, but mainly about the lecture. I’ll certainly be returning there in the very near future to see the gardens and to dine once more Apicius in nearby Cranbrook!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 25, 2010 12:58 pm

      IG, When you get there, I hope you’ll post about it. The review by Tom Turner (which Galloping Gardener linked to in her post) was very dismissive of the vegetable garden; I’d be interested in hearing what you think.

  9. March 25, 2010 5:15 am

    Jean, I wrote my post on Sissinghurst today

    Hope you enjoy it.

    • Jean permalink*
      March 25, 2010 12:59 pm

      Deborah, I enjoyed it very much. It is a beautiful, evocative homage to a great garden. Thanks.

  10. March 25, 2010 7:30 am

    I did visit Sissinghurst many many years ago on a tour led by my friend Elsa Bakalar. We went to many beautiful gardens and even a maze, getting a dose of English history as well as gardens. What struck me was the sense of enclosure in so many sections of the garden, the thyme lawn (I think at Sissinghurst) and the White Garden. The only thing I have managed to copy here at home is encouraging thyme in my own lawn.

    • Jean permalink*
      March 25, 2010 1:03 pm

      I’m not sure I copied anything except Astrantia! As I think about it, though, I have been trying to create more of a sense of enclosure in the garden.

  11. Barry permalink
    March 26, 2010 6:13 pm

    Hi Jean,
    Stephen Orr’s post on Dec. 15, 2009 tells of his experience staying overnight at Sissinghurst and waking up in the morning having the garden to himself. I’m green with envy.
    his site is if you’d like to check it out.

    • Jean permalink*
      March 26, 2010 9:58 pm

      Thank you so much for telling me about this. Wow!! The whole post brought tears to my eyes. And because he was there at roughly the same point in the garden season as I was, every photograph seems so eerily familiar. It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling; sort of like having just woken up from a beautiful dream. Thanks again. I hope others will look at this too. Here’s the exact link: Sissinghurst After the Ghosts Have Gone to Bed.

  12. July 9, 2010 1:00 am

    Sissinghurst is a fantastic garden that feels slightly different every time I have a visit. I’d like to go a couple times a year, but time is not always easy to come by.

    For garden design information, visit

  13. sequoiagardens permalink
    July 13, 2010 3:08 pm

    Jean, I have finally posted on Sisinghurst! You can find it here:
    Keep well! Jack

  14. Anonymous permalink
    November 29, 2012 8:24 am

    Hi All, We are celebrating 75 years of the garden being open to the public next year with a new exhibition. We would love to include your wonderful comments – please would you consider sending me some words about how the garden makes you feel?
    Please send to – Many thanks


  1. SISSINGHURST VISITS « Sequoia Gardens Blog

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