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25 September 2019Vita Sackville West and Sissinghurst
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Vita Sackville West and Sissinghurst James Bolton Wednesday 25 September 2019

1st Lecture Time: 2.30pm

2nd Lecture Time: 8.00pm


The Arts and Crafts gardens created, in particular by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, set a standard against which English gardens would be measured for the next 60 years. Sissinghurst, created and gardened by Vita Sackville-West, novelist, poet and garden writer, and her husband, Harold Nicholson, from 1930 to her death in 1962, is the perfect example of this style; wonderful plantsmanship set within a framework of hedges and vistas.

Sissinghurst is the child of Knole, the sprawling Elizabethan house that Vita did not inherit, described by her as having “an inward gaiety of an aging woman who has had many lovers and seen many generations come and go.” The Nicholsons acquired a ruin and, to their intense surprised, created, along with Lawrence Johnston’s Hidcote, the quintessential twentieth century English garden.

This lecture looks at the life of Vita Sackville-West and the extraordinary garden that she created which nearly 60 years after her death continues to charm and delight.

James Bolton

Inchbald School of Design 1990 (Dip ISD). Head Gardener, Old Rectory Farnborough 1990-92. Faculty Director, Design History, Inchbald School of Design. Garden Designer 1992-. A lecturer for The Arts Society since 1995. Organiser of The Arts Society's garden study days and tours in UK and Europe. Organises tours to the best private gardens in the UK, Italy, France and South Africa. Garden Mania, a book on garden ornaments, published in 2000.