When she and her husband took it over in the 1920s, Sissinghurst was described by Vita Sackville-West as “a garden crying out for rescue”. Spread over the site of a medieval moated manor (which was rebuilt into an Elizabethan mansion of which only one wing remains today), the five-acre gardens were designed around the linear pattern of the former buildings’ walls. The major appeal derives from the way that the flowers are allowed to spill over onto the narrow walkways, defying the classical formality of the great gardens that came before. The brick tower that Vita had restored and used as her study acts as a focal point and offers the best views of the walled gardens. Most impressive are the White Garden, composed solely of white flowers and silvery-grey foliage, and the Cottage Garden, featuring flora in shades of orange, yellow and red.

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