Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens
Those of us who love garden literature know Vita Sackville-West, the English poet and novelist who was probably most famous during her life for her garden writing, though she is probably known best today for her "open" marriage and her affair with Virginia Woolf.
One of the great sadnesses of her life was the loss to her through primogenture of Knole House, her ancestral home, and she sought to replace it with Sissinghurst Castle, where she and her husband, Harold Nicholson, created elaborate gardens around the castle ruins.
She was perhaps the first to design garden "rooms," and the result is the most famous garden in all of England.
The gardens at Sissinghurst are under a National Trust now, but Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson's grandson, Adam Nicholson, lives there part time with his wife as they try to make Sissinghurst a working farm.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Buckley/National Trust Photo Library
Writing this week in the New York Times, Adam Nicholson describes the "rings" around Sissinghurst, from the ancient rooms in the castle to the gardens to the fields and the forests. He talks about the land and its connection to the past for him.
It is part of a series of essays about "Living Rooms," in the Times that explores the many variations of domestic life, and his essay is perfectly suited to such a topic.
The garden rooms of Sissinghurst are as alive for Vita and Harold's grandson as if they were filled with family and friends.