Garden Plan – Sissinghurst on my mind

Before I get to the plan, let me say… I do LOVE color!
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Bursts of orange, yellow, red, green ~ my red kitchen, Ava’s peacock blue walls & Lara’s purple paradise. Not to mention the riot of color in the front garden!

So this plan has not been made lightly & has taken a few years to take shape. What plan you say…?

I know you are on the edge of your garden stool, so I will get to the point…

My plan is to create a “white” garden in my backyard a’la Sissinghurst Castle.

My backyard is the perfect spot for such a white, grey & green garden.  Half in the shade and half in the sun, with white jasmine covering everything it can wrap it’s tendrils around.

It always bugged me that one side was all green & textured while the other sunny side was a wash in blooms of every color.  No real flow, and I like flow almost as much as I like symmetry.


The garden battle wore on ~ variety and color verses balance and white.  The former always won, until this year.

A few years ago, my garden club had a tour of my friend’s beautiful home & garden.  She has an all white garden a’la Sissinghurst & it left quite an impression.  (Ginny, you reading this?).  I kept the thought in back of my mind and did my research.
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Let me share a bit of what I learned.  Sissinghurst Castle is a medieval manor in Kent, UK.

In the 1930’s husband & wife team, Harlod Nicolson & Vita Sackville-West took over the gardens.  Harold, a diplomat & author, laid down the main lines of the design & Vita, a poet & garden writer, the plantings.

Vita was an artist gardener ( aren’t we all? ).  It is said her most brilliant and influential garden among all the gardens at Sissinghurst is the white garden.  In part because it conveys the the idea of color themes introduced by Gertrude Jekyll.

These are my recommendations for planting a white garden:

  • Use a variety of textures to keep it interesting
  • As in any garden, use 3-5 plants of each foundational plant and one or two focal ( POW!) plants
  • Vary the heights from back to front ~ tall, medium & border plants in front
  • Use variegated foundational plants, such as boxwood
  • Plant a few climbers on a wall, fence or garden ornament

Here are a few suggestions for a nice variety plants for your white garden:

  • green or variegated Boxwood
  • white Iceberg Roses
  • Dusty Miller
  • Duchess of Edinburgh clematis (her feet on the shade rest in the sun)
  • Anemone – Honorine Jobert (watch out she is a spreader!)
  • Delphinium Snowgoose
  • Echinacea White Swan
  • Allium Mount Everest
  • White Jasmine
  • white Impatiens
  • Shasta or other white daisies
  • Freesia

Shouldn’t take more than a few days to get my white garden planted once I get rolling, as I don’t have quite as much land to cover as ole’ Vita did.

May even drag out that urn from the living room and wash it in white paint to add a focal point to the new garden.  Anybody want the twigs?

** Kelly **

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  1. Dana Fulton says

    This garden is going to be AWESOME!! I can close my eyes and see it and imagine the smells in my mind. The daisies waving hello, the shades of green and white. The freesia, jasmine and roses. Lovely! I am in the middle of a major garden redo of my own so I can relate to the challenge of planning and choosing your plantings. Have fun and keep us posted!

  2. Debbie says

    I have an all white garden, but I call it my moon garden because at night when only the moon and stars provide light, the white flowers seem to glow!!

    • says

      Do you have the white morning “evening” glories? They only open at night I believe. Thanks Debbie…I will have to start staying up late & be a night gardener to really enjoy it all!!

  3. says

    Kelly, I think we are kindred spirits! I created a white garden this spring on my patio. We absolutely adore it. It’s where we sit in the evenings, so it’s the perfect spot. All the whites + silvers pop off the dark grey of the flagstone for a real show as the evening sets in. I haven’t posted mine just yet – waiting for it to fill out a bit more. Can’t wait to see yours!

    • says

      Sarah I think we are too! I can’t wait to get started…I will keep you posted on the progress. In the meantime enjoy your white garden!

  4. says

    That’s a wonderful idea. I’ve planted white gardens and visited Sissinghurst in the past and both are very worth it. One of the presenters for my favourite BBC gardening show, Gardeners World is married to the Nicolson-West’s son. He name is Sarah Raven and they live off and on at Sissinghurst and sometimes she does special TV shows from there. It might be worth it to find and download some of her specials. You might like them. :)

    • says

      Veronica you are a magical resource! I will ~ Sarah’s name kept popping up as I was doing my Sissinghurst web searches. Now it all makes sense. I believe she has a few gardening books as well. I will check out her BBC shows. I am a BBC-O-Phile for sure! Thank you!!

  5. annette says

    Hi,Kelly! I do love a white garden and want to add white verbena to your list.At my last home we had red brick steps outside the patio door with built-in planter boxes.The verbena looked terrific trailing down the sides.Also,for novice gardeners,white geraniums are always winners.Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful garden.Annette