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Becoming Gardeners: Vita & Harold at Sissinghurst and Long Barn

Discover Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson’s horticultural journey across five decades in this exclusive two-day course in collaboration with Long Barn Gardens.

  • Booking essential

Five decades, two gardens, one vision.

Explore Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson’s gardening journey across five decades in this exclusive two-day course that will invite you to discover the creation of Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Long Barn Gardens.

Day one of the course is held at Long Barn in Sevenoaks, Vita and Harold’s first marital home from 1915 to 1932. Custodian and Head Gardener Rebecca Lemonius will host a series of engaging lectures and tours, with opportunities to explore the historic house and garden. Discover photos, anecdotes, drawings and the writings of Vita and Harold that would inform their future gardening design choices.

Day two of the course is held at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, where Vita and Harold’s horticultural learnings became legacy. Accompanied by our Senior Collections Officer and Senior Gardeners, unravel the secrets of Sissinghurst’s garden “rooms”, learn about Vita’s garden writing, and participate in activities inspired by Vita and Harold’s gardening techniques which you can apply to your own gardens at home.

The course will run twice in September:

Cohort 1 spends their day at Long Barn on the 7th of September and their day at Sissinghurst on the 20th of September.

Cohort 2 spends their day at Long Barn on the 14th of September and their day at Sissinghurst on the 27th of September.

If you would like to request a copy of the prospectus, please email noel.van@nationaltrust.org.uk

Times

Prices

Event ticket prices

Ticket typeTicket category
All £360.00

The basics

Booking details

Call 0344 249 1895

Meeting point

When arriving at Long Barn, please meet on the terrace. When arriving at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, please meet at Visitor Reception.

What to bring and wear

This event is partially outside so weather appropriate clothing is recommended. Wellies may be needed in the event of wet weather

Accessibility

There is no step-free access or handrails at Long Barn Gardens due to historic terraced pathways and different levels in the house. Part of the course at Sissinghurst Castle Garden takes place upstairs in the Oast Exhibition Space. There is a step-free route around the main garden.

Other

Lunch and refreshments will be provided at both locations

Contact info

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Upcoming events

Event

Summer of Play at Sissinghurst Castle Garden 

Join us for a Summer of Play at Sissinghurst Castle Garden with an Elizabethan twist.

Event summary

on
24 Jul to 1 Sep 2024
at
10:30 to 16:45
+ 39 other dates or times
Event

Radical Relationships: A new display (1 June 2024 - 30 March 2025) 

Explore how Vita, Harold and their inner creative circle did not fit with early 20th century societal norms of gender and sexuality. A new display told through the books in Vita and Harold's collection. Opening Saturday 1 June.

Event summary

on
24 Jul 2024 to 30 Mar 2025
at
11:00 to 17:00
+ 247 other dates or times
Event

Meet the Sissinghurst Scholars 

More dates added. Meet the Sissinghurst Scholars, offering a rare opportunity to engage with team members of one of England's most iconic gardens.

Event summary

on
24 Jul to 11 Dec 2024
at
14:00 to 15:00
+ 8 other dates or times
Event

Gardening Bohemia: Bloomsbury Women Outdoors at the Garden Museum 

The Sissinghurst Series presents Garden Museum curator Emma House on the gardening of Vita Sackville-West, in connection with their current exhibition 'Gardening Bohemia: Bloomsbury Women Outdoors'.

Event summary

on
29 Aug 2024
at
14:00 to 15:00