Sissinghurst Castle Garden was a perfect choice for a July Day Out and the weather favoured us, writes Jenny Ford. Owned now by the National Trust, the property has an interesting history, beginning as a Saxon pig farm and then a moated manor house of which only a small part of the moat remains. A Renaissance courtyard house was subsequently constructed but after occupation by French prisoners during the Seven Years War (1756-63) much of this was destroyed. Later the tower and some of the buildings were repaired and eventually Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson bought the romantic site and set about creating a garden
My only previous visit to Sissinghurst was in the springtime when daffodils dominated but on this occasion the garden was at the height of its summer glory. The understandably well-known and beautiful White Garden was a bridal mass of white and cream flowers. However, there are so many other colours and plant combinations on display that there was something to please everyone. We particularly liked the pink and plum flowers and the clematis in full bloom everywhere.
After seeing the lovely old library and almost a surfeit of flowers we walked along the moat to the lakes and returned by way of the kitchen garden. This was a real delight with its rows of healthy vegetables, herbs and sweet peas. We then had lunch in the restaurant where much of the produce grown in the garden is used. A salad of vegetables was followed by panna cotta with fresh flowers – but we did not eat the marigolds!
There was time for another walk around the flower gardens and, as a bee-keeper’s mother, I was pleased to see so many bees at work and know that the National Trust uses no pesticides. We could not leave without buying a plant, and I am now the owner of two unusual penstemons. This was a happy and successful day out.