23 July 2012

What to Grow Against a Brick Wall, Part Two

Gardenista is a nice American online sourcebook and the week before last there was a post on brick walls - what to grow on them. I was at Sissinghurst on Thursday and it's all about brick. So here is chapter two to that particular story.

The brick at Sissinghurst is narrow, sometimes curved and often 500 years old. And yet a lot of it is smothered and covered. This is part of the look: Harold Nicolson's rigid lines and vistas are tempered with Vita Sackville-West's romantic effusions. Above: Baby's Tears, feared by some. This is where it belongs, adding blur to the perpendicular.

There is a tall and wide curved wall at Sissinghurst which is not ancient, but was built in the 1930s. Vita and Harold arranged for the construction to be carried out when they were away but despite the carefully sourced brick there was dismay on their return. Too much mortar! Now, there is a drape of purple clematis covering almost all of it. Different wall here.

But the other walls look best, in my opinion, when they are allowed to show through. The planting can draw attention to their beauty, instead of disguising it. Above: cobaea scandens, the cup and saucer vine, does some polite covering, before exploding into Mexican exuberance later on.

The semi-private living quarters, in which a small amount of sandstone mingles with the brick. And the new-looking terracotta pots: would Vita have tolerated them?

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