Once a prison in the 1700s, Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent, England, has become one of the world’s most famous gardens, drawing nearly 200,000 visitors a year.
And next week, you’ll be able to learn all about the attraction without leaving Los Angeles…as the Garden Conservancy and the Ebell of Los Angeles host an illustrated talk about Sissinghurst Castle Garden on Tuesday, September 12, with Alexis Datta, who spent twenty-two years tending the garden. Datta will share the history of Sissinghurst Castle Garden, its creators and philosophy, and the process of maintaining such an exceptional landscape over the course of a typical year.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Garden Conservancy to present this program about Vita Sackville-West’s garden, Sissinghurst, which was created around the same time Florence Yoch designed the Ebell’s courtyard garden and grounds,” said Myrna Gintel, Ebell boardmember and chair of the Ebell’s Garden committee.
A stopover for English royalty in the Weald of Kent, Sissinghurst Castle was in a dilapidated state when garden writer and poet Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson, an author and diplomat, purchased it in 1930 and began developing the property into a peaceful retreat as well as a working farm.
The garden rests on the site of an estate dating back to the Middle Ages, originally owned by the de Saxingherste family. Remains of the original Sissinghurst Castle, built by Sir John Baker in the 1550s, are still visible.
Datta will give a virtual tour of each of the distinctively themed “rooms” of the property, and tell how she achieved such spectacular results while maintaining great affection for the garden’s creators during her tenure at Sissinghurst. She will also talk about nurturing Vita’s overflowing flower beds and how Harold’s formal garden structure of Classical and Moorish influence are maintained and enhanced in the twenty-first century.
Harold was responsible for the basic layout and structures of the garden while Vita focused on filling it with a remarkable collection of plants. The garden was created as a series of rooms, each with its own color scheme or theme, providing glimpses from one space to the next as visitors pass through connective entryways. The National Trust took over management of Sissinghurst in 1967.
Alexis Datta spent 22 years tending to the Sissinghurst Castle Garden, the last nine of them as head gardener. Her total of 42 years as a professional gardener includes work at various British gardens, both public and private, before joining the National Trust in 1983.
“While the garden has evolved since its inception in 1930,” says Alexis, “it is still gardened dynamically.”
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
6:00-6:45 pm Reception,
6:45 pm-8:00 pm Lecture & Q&A
$20 Ebell or Garden Conservancy member, $25 nonmember
The Ebell of Los Angeles
734 South Lucerne Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA