It is always sad to leave a much loved garden. What are your thoughts when you have invested all those years into every inch of earth and then one day you will tend it no more. The day we moved in to our garden here it was the end of August, sunny and hopeful, and the lady who lived here before us left clutching just one rose, which she cut as she left.
A favourite local garden has come up for sale which captures the imagination for its location and history as well as its views. I first visited Sissinghurst Place in 2010, open for charity under the National Garden Scheme. The kindly owner greeted us in his deliciously battered panama with the words “You do know you’re not at Sissinghurst Castle don’t you?”
We did and were allowed through what would once have been the entrance to a very grand house, still utterly charming and as full of memories as the castle itself, now housing a swimming pool amongst ruined walls.
A fire in 1948 gutted the main house, leaving the owners to live, as our host put it: “In the Servants’ Wing, but without the servants”. Vita Sackville-West apparently watched the fire and used it in her writing of ‘The Easter Party’.
The gardens are a delightful mixture of formal structure and less formal shrubberies and bulbs planted into long grass, which the Maclachlans explained have gradually replaced the more time-consuming herbaceous borders and fiddly mowing areas. The result is high impact, but lower maintenance.
When we bought our house we little knew how the garden would enchant us, and the path it would gently lead us down.
With wonderful woodland walks and views across the Sissinghurst valley, Sissinghurst Place will no doubt be snapped up soon by a next generation of garden lovers. Even if they do not yet know that that is what they will become.