Pur­ple bor­der

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - In The News -

More flow­er­ing plants climb­ing gar­den, some parts were too mu­nic­i­pal in feel. Be­fore the in­ter­view I sent a pa­per to the Trust set­ting out where some faults lay and what could be done about them.”

To the Trust’s credit, it ac­cepted this cri­tique and sup­ports his plan. Cer­tain pro­posed changes, such as get­ting rid of some of the hard paved paths and re­in­stat­ing grass, or the re­moval of too-smart col­umn bases, might be ap­par­ent even to the ca­sual visi­tor. But most of his in­ter­ven­tions in­volve the tex­ture and tone of the plant­ing, which he says had be­come rather stale – lupins in clumps of six re­peated year on year, for ex­am­ple, and in­di­vid­ual plants like fox­gloves placed to look as if they had self-seeded.

“The gar­den did not feel as if it was breath­ing and alive,” Scott Smith says. “In Vita’s day, hedges were cut to have char­ac­ter and the borders were full to over­flow­ing.” In­deed, Vita’s stated in­ten­tion was to “cram, cram, cram”.

The irony is that the “Vita way” does not come nat­u­rally to him. He is a pro­fes­sion­ally trained gar­dener who likes ev­ery­thing to be just so. He has sym­pa­thy with his pre­de­ces­sors, who were work­ing to a high level in a style in which they had been trained and with the en­cour­age­ment and ap­proval of higher-ups at the Na­tional Trust. It’s more a case that the gar­den style at Siss­inghurst was a re­flec­tion of the times: it be­came a gar­den of con­nois­seurial

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