The magnificent garden at Sissinghurst Castle will now be open in all seasons, come rain, shine… or snow! The renowned Kent garden, created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, was traditionally closed during the colder months, but the National Trust is now opening the garden every weekend until 6 March, in the hope that the wintertime will provide visitors with a new view of the grounds.
Harold Nicolson’s garden design, which provided the framework for Vita Sackville-West’s lively blooms, become the centre of attention in colder months. The use of hedges to define the famous series of garden rooms, is particularly obvious in winter.
Sissinghurst head gardener Michelle Cain said: “With the abundant flowers and foliage of the high season pared back, the long vistas take centre stage.”
View of the rose garden from the tower at Sissinghurst, Kent. © The National Trust
She added: “The garden rooms are like acts in a play, taking their turns on the stage. But in winter the ‘act’ is the whole garden and you can appreciate, perhaps better than at any other time, the design that Harold Nicolson created and how he managed to fit his grand classical ideas into the constrictions of the space available.”
Harold had a love for Greek classicism which influenced his layout for the garden. Michelle recommends stopping by The Lime Walk (best known for its spring bulb displays) as the pleached limes create a quiet area where one can appreciate the garden’s classical design. A trip to the tower will also give visitors a spectacular view of the rose garden.
If innovative garden design isn’t enough to tempt you, Sissinghurst is also hosting the International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition, running in the site’s oast house. A new garden area, named Delos and inspired by Vita and Harold’s travels to Greece, is also currently being worked on.
Visit the National Trust website for specific opening times and prices.