Between 1946 and 1961, Vita Sackville-West wrote a weekly column for the Observer, describing her life at Sissinghurst. She and her husband Nigel Nicolson had bought Sissinghurst, a sixteenth century ruin, in 1930 and went on to create the world-famous garden. Married to Sackville-West’s grandson, Sarah Raven uses these archives to create a delightful book full of practical advice for gardeners and illustrated with drawings and original photographs. Victoria Glendinning writing in The Spectator [22.3.14] describes how Raven and Sackville-West are wildly different characters but Raven’s ‘assessment of Vita’s achievement is respectful but not subservient’ and criticizes ‘the extent and nature of some of the changes’. The Independent review by Emma Townshend [23.3.14] mentions how Raven’s book ‘quietly reveals the more complicated story behind the apparent ease of inherited wealth’.

Virago | Illustrated | 2014 | £30.00


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