Getting back to Vita Sackville-West, Moira, I take it you haven't visited the white garden
? Neither have I - I had a choice to make when I went to England this last time - and I chose the Apothecaries Garden
better known as the Chelsea Physic Garden
, which was AMAZING. I highly recommend this little hole in the wall by the royal hospital. Crammed full of flowers divided into sections according to their purpose, this is a walled garden of the first degree, and quite beautiful. It has a most fascinating past that is well worth reading about.
Click for closer views of the Chelsea Physic Garden
My other choices to see were my favorite gardens (in photos anyway) Hidcote Manor
and Barnsley House
. I'm kicking myself for not going to Barnsley when Rosemary Verey was still alive.
click for larger views of Vita Sackville-West's white garden
at Sissinghurst Castle
As for Vita's writings, I've read probably every gardening article she ever wrote, she was brilliant at capturing the obsession with plants, and describing nature in a most entertaining way. If you like to read about gardening, but haven't looked at any of Vita's writings, I would suggest the slim compilation volume The Joy of Gardening
As for her novels, All Passion Spent
is my favorite. There was a movie or series made of this one some years ago starring Wendy Hiller
that was very good, but I like the book even more. It's a sharply satirical and somewhat sad book at moments. It's about aging, and how we generally think of older people as idiots. Don't let the subject put you off, it's highly entertaining and comic.