Gardeners cuttings from Sissinghurst Castle Garden

The rose garden in June

June is a magical time of year at Sissinghurst. Over the past few weeks the garden has exploded into bloom and you can almost see the plants growing. June was one of Vita Sackville-West’s favourite times of year and she wrote evocatively that:

" These June evenings, when for once we are allowed a deep warm sloping sunlight, how rare and how precious they are. They ought to be accompanied by fireflies, wild gold flakes in the air, but in this island we have to make do with tethered flowers instead. Amongst these, the huge lax bushes of the old roses must take an honoured place."
- Vita Sackville-West

The old roses that Vita so loved are starting to make their presence felt and their extraordinary perfume fills the air. They take centre stage everywhere you look, festooning the Tudor brick and meandering their way through almost every area of the garden. It is, however, in the Rose Garden that they are at their most exuberant and glorious, tumbling from the walls and arching extravagantly from the rose pillars and hazel benders. Someone once wrote that if you removed all the plants from Sissinghurst except the roses it would still be a sensational garden and at this time of year it would be difficult to disagree. As Vita herself wrote;

" What incomparable lavishness they give… There is nothing scrimpy or stingy about them. They have a generosity which is as desirable in plants as in people."
- Vita Sackville-West

In order to keep the roses looking their best and to prolong their flowering we have two dedicated teams of rose dead-headers made up of members of the local horticultural societies. They meticulously work through the whole garden twice a week, only leaving those that will form good rose hips later in the year. The roses are already starting to put on a lot of new growth which will bear next year’s flowers so we carefully tie in this growth to protect it from wind damage and uneven development.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Sissinghurst during Rose month. To celebrate the arrival of the roses the gardeners have written a series of short articles on different aspects of roses and their care, which you will find in the Tower and there is a selection of poetry about roses in the restaurant.