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In April 1930 Vita Sackville-West came to view the 'castle' with her son and immediately fell in love with Sissinghurst, buying it with 400 acres of the surrounding farmland.
In the first two years Vita and her Husband Harold Nicolson, she a plantsman and him a designer, made a complete plan for the garden that has never really changed.
The White Garden is the most famous garden within the walls of Sissinghurst Castle and is still one of the most talked about gardens in the world. You are greeted by a simple, elegant fountain and planter which contains a multi-trunk Arbutus Marina. One side is full, blazing sun, while the other is nearly full shade, with plants selected accordingly. The path narrows as you pass the cypresses, drawing your eye to a bigger, fancier fountain in the back of the garden. It takes just a few minutes to get the feel of this garden, and then you can spend some time looking at the individual plants.
The Terrace Garden is a place to learn, designed to show you how layout, plant selection and groupings, and the use of paths, water features, and containers can transform a yard into a living space. I don't suggest walking from the Terrace Garden to this next one on a hot day, as it is a couple of miles away at the far west end of the Arboretum. There are actually two gardens - the White Garden and the Ruth Storer Garden - that adjoin at the west end of the arboretum.
When I first moved to Davis, there was a lonely gazebo sitting in a dirt field, surrounded by, well, nothing, and a lot of newly planted oak trees were off to the west.
Where the Terrace Garden is a teaching garden, this is a collection with a single focus: white flowers and plants. If there is a white-flowered variant of a familiar plant, it is probably here in this collection. Posted by Brenda Addington & filed under Annabelle, Blue Wave, Color in my Garden, Hydrangeas, Oakleaf hydrangeas.
After leaving my fabulous hydrangeas in Maryland we’ve started over in the North Carolina mountains and my new bushes are doing beautifully. About Me!I have been a southern gardener for over 25 years and have learned a lot from so many wonderful gardeners over the years.
This journey of learning continues today, as I share my garden and hopefully inspire and help other gardeners.
One of the nice features of Sissinghurst is the connection between the individual gardens - the visitor is enticed by glimpses of adjoining gardens in all directions. The wall at the north end of the garden (in the background) was not part of the original buildings and was built in 1932.
Now more than 70 years later their vision of a truly English garden is enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year having been carefully conserved and renewed by the National Trust since taking over the property in 1967.


Off at the east end of the Campus Commons shopping center on First Street, it isn't really attached to the Arboretum. One grouping in containers particularly impressed me for the plant choice, as zinnias - lovers of glaring hot sun - were just inches away from shade-preferring coleus planted in the lee of a larger container shrub. The use of vertical accents, and of surprise in a short vista, is a basic element of good garden design. Especially useful in the shady garden are different varieties of Coral bells (Heuchera) and gardeners have a huge array of choices in the nursery trade now.
A quick drive along Old Davis Road, past the Mondavi Center, a left turn towards the Vet School, and you will find free parking. Walk through the Storer Garden, which is definitely hotter and drier, though very showy at all seasons, and the large oak collection spreads out to the west.
Shortly thereafter the lawn was planted, paths were paved, and the area began to take shape.
The emphasis is on woody plants - shrubs and trees that happen to have white flowers - with informal plantings of perennials and bulbs to highlight different seasons. White flowers and grey foliage reflect the moonlight, so a white flower garden is a pleasant place to sit or stroll in the evening (especially if some of the flowers happen to be fragrant). The sweet violets (Viola odorata) and dwarf periwinkle (Vinca minor) invading your yard may be purple, but here they have the white forms instead. Indeed, a group that I took, from their smocks, to be medical students was involved in an exercise that involved blindfolds and much hilarity (I have no idea).
Snowflakes flowers start out pure white, gradually fading to pink and then turning brown by late summer.
It was originally planted as the Rose Garden in 1931 but converted to the 'White Garden' in 1950. Sir John Baker was Chancellor of the Exchequer who lost much of his large fortune during the Civil War when he backed the wrong side.
The subtle interplay of silver to green leaved plants juxtapositioned against a white range of flower colors that include pure white, cream, vanilla and soft pastels is magical. It is actually a small courtyard east of the building that includes Borders Books and Ben & Jerry's. Although there are strong lines created by the concrete and planters, the overall effect is informal.
You want to draw the strolling visitors along the path, and give them something to keep them exploring. A large container is planted with Honey bush (Melianthus major) and chartreuse-leaved sweet potato vines (Ipomoea batatas). More than 35 years later, this is the closest we come in Davis to a truly open park-like setting of the sort you see in east coast public gardens.


Plant lovers will especially be delighted to know that there is a plan online that shows each plant in the collection, complete with botanical name!
Ornamental grasses, sedges, and ground covers have been selected for silver or grey foliage: Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum), various forms of sedges (Carex), Acorus, and fescue grasses (Festuca). Two years ago, I planted two more in a more sheltered location and am hoping they will survive.
A glorious sight when in bloom.The Lacecap flowers are a captivating blue that I love to photograph. The most striking feature, the Canopy is relatively new, added in 1969, although the pot at its centre dates back to 1937.
The building subsequently deteriorated and was even used as a prison camp for French prisoners of war. You park behind the shopping center, walk through to the front, and then head off to the east side of the building.
Large containers are artfully planted with a mix of plants selected for foliage texture and color, and toughness. The reward at the end is the movement of water, and a place to sit in the shade of a long arbor structure; this part of the garden is officially named the Lois Crowe Patio, after a long-time Arboretum docent and generous donor. On a recent hot day there were lots of people browsing the stores and lounging on the lawn, but very few had wandered into the garden. My favorites there are Endless Summer and Annabelle, planted to honor my mother, who had that name. A young man was studying in the back corner, and a small group of students chattered in the shade of a Crapemyrtle. Groups of Ginkgo and Metasequoia, planted to honor the professors of the Botany Department, are off to the east. It's a lovely place for a picnic, where kids can run around, you can throw Frisbees or footballs.
I have to keep all of them watered well in our heat, but they reward me with lovely summer blooms.
I am already wanting to add more to my collection, though I have a long way to go before catching up to you!



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