The Garden Conservancy Program on Sissinghurst

I had the great pleasure of introducing Alexis Datta at a Garden Conservancy lecture in New York on October 23, 2013 at a sold out event.  Alexis, or Lex as she likes to be called, was the Head Gardener at Sissinghurst until her recent retirement.  She follows in an unbroken line of great women gardeners, starting with Vita Sackville West herself, the creator of the gardens at Sissinghurst with her husband Harold Nicholson.  The two women who worked for Vita, Pamela Schwerdt and Sbylle Kreutzberger became legendary garden figures themselves as they carried on the transition from private ownership to the National Trust. They were followed by Head Gardener Sarah Cook whose wisely hired Alexis to become her assistant and when Sarah stepped down, Alexis took over.  Sissinghurst lecture NYC 10-23-13 012 The event was co-sponsored by Hollister House Gardens, a garden created by my great friend and neighbor, George Schoellkopf, which is just two miles down the road from Brush Hill and is being preserved as a public garden with the help of the Garden Conservancy.  George had been particularly inspired by Sissinghurst.   Thanks to Susan Lowry, who is serves on the board of The Garden Conservancy and generously hosted a festive dinner following the event, we celebrated afterwards.  Here we are with Judith Tankard, herself a renowned garden historian and writer.  It was a very special evening and this time, I only had to do the introduction, so could relax and enjoy the interesting talk along with everyone else.   IMG_9747