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My garden all is overblown with roses, My spirit all is overblown with rhyme…”
– Vita Sackville-West poem (1921)

For most of her life, Vita Sackville-West’s twin passions were writing and gardening. She wrote a gardening column for the British newspaper, The Observer, for 15 years. Her beloved gardens at her Kent homes of Long Barn and Sissinghurst, the latter of which she shared with diplomat husband Harold Nicolson, were famous for their beauty and experimental design. They feature in many books. Sissinghurst is, in fact, among The Literary Shed’s favourite places in the world and I was privileged enough to stay on the Sissinghurst estate a few years ago and enjoy the gorgeous gardens in solitude.

Sackville-West once described her attitude to garden design as, ‘profusion, even extravagance and exuberance, within confines of the  utmost linear severity‘.

Photo credit: Sotheby’s

See also: Letter No 19, ‘I never thought I could (or would) love like this’, Violet Trefusis’s love letter to Vita Sackville-West, Top 20 Letters from the heartWoolbridge Manor, the real Wellbridge House in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles – writers on location; Claire Kittridge on what it is about London – writers on location.

 

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