VITA SACKVILLE-WEST was born in 1892 in Kent. A distinguished critic, biographer, award-winning poet and gardener, she also published twelve novels, including All Passion Spent and The Edwardians. Her relationship with Virginia Woolf is celebrated in Woolf's novel Orlando, and the story of her life with Harold Nicolson, one of the strangest and happiest love stories, was portrayed in Portrait of a Marriage by their son Nigel Nicolson. She died at Sissinghurst, aged seventy, in 1962. SARAH RAVEN, writer, cook, broadcaster and teacher, runs cooking, flower arranging, growing and gardening courses at the school she set up in 1999 at her farm in East Sussex. She has written three cookbooks, as well as Wild Flowers and four gardening books, including The Cutting Garden. Sarah Raven is married to the writer Adam Nicolson and they have lived with their family at Sissinghurst.
"To pair contemporary garden writing with Sackville-West's classic sparklers takes confidence, experience, and audacity. Happily, Raven (The Cutting Garden), another gardener in the Sackville-West family (she's married to Vita's grandson), meets every challenge in this laudable book...The book is crammed with photos and quotes...The two voices remain distinct without clashing, and Raven's organization of the book and selections from Sackville-West's work buttress her own canny observations" --Publishers Weekly "While Sissinghurst epitomizes the grandeur and luxuriance of estate gardening, it more importantly stands as a testament to the tenacity of literary Vita Sackville-West and her politician husband, Harold Nicolson. . . . Raven combines excerpts from Sackville-West's archives and weekly Observer columns with her own personal experiences of life at Sissinghurst to give a nearly plant-by-plant account of how this international treasure was created and maintained." --Booklist "Raven ably describes the beauty of Sissinghurst...Devoted gardeners will relish the lists of plants favored by Sackville-West, and those who dabble in gardening will learn that gardens aren't made in a day, a year or even a decade. Enjoyable for gardeners and lovers of quaint British landscapes." --Kirkus