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Boston  |  Monday December 4

Lecture   Sissinghurst: Re-vitalising Vita Sackville West's Garden

The College Club of Boston    44 Commonwealth Ave  |  6:00 PM

photo of the lecturer Troy Scott Smith
Head Gardener, Sissinghurst Castle

Landscape designer Troy Scott Smith's passion for the natural world developed during his childhood spent in the Yorkshire countryside.

He began his gardening career in 1987 creating gardens in both the United Kingdom and France and joined the National Trust in 1990. Apart from one year as the Curator for The Royal Horticultural Society, he has been caring for Trust gardens ever since.

Troy spent seven years as Head Gardener at The Courts in Wiltshire and another seven at Bodnant Garden in Wales, where he led a 3.4 million pound restoration.

Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle since 2013, Troy and his team of seven full-time gardeners have been working to revitalize and maintain the beauty and romance of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson's exquisite garden.

Troy has also worked with the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, co-designing the Floral Colour spectrum at the latter.

An avid photographer, Troy was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society garden photographer of the year in 2003. He also writes regularly for garden magazines and daily newspapers and presents on BBC's Gardeners' World.

Sissinghurst: Re-vitalising Vita Sackville West's Garden

lecture photo

The garden surrounding Sissinghurt Castle, Kent, which has been managed by the National Trust since 1967, is the epitome of an English garden.

The poet, novelist and garden writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson, started planting the garden in 1930 and spent 30 years turning it into a refuge dedicated to natural beauty. When she first laid eyes on the empty plot, Vita wrote: "It caught instantly at my heart and my imagination. I fell in love; love at first sight..."

She designed the garden as a series of adjoining rooms, separated by walls of high clipped hedges enclosing beds of different colored flowers with, as she described, a strict "formality of design, with the maximum informality in planting."

For Vita, gardening was about romance, emotion and intimacy. In the famous White Garden she restricted colors to white, grey, green, and silver while Harold emphasized the structure and texture with yew and box wood.

Though many original details and plantings remain half a century after Vita's death, changes in planting, as well as visitors numbering in the hundreds of thousands, have led to an overall tone and look that differs from her original design.

Head Gardener Troy Scott Smith will discuss how he plans to revitalize the original plan and illustrate his implementation of a more relaxed approach to pruning and training—allowing for the looser, more natural look Vita so enjoyed. He will also talk about new discoveries, such as Vita's original metal rose labels, which indicate that her collection numbered over 300 varieties.

Boston  |  Monday December 4

Lecture   Sissinghurst: Re-vitalising Vita Sackville West's Garden

The College Club of Boston    44 Commonwealth Ave  |  6:00 PM

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