After a wonderfully sunny week the sky sheds tears as Alexis Datta works her last day at Sissinghurst Castle. As she spends the day tidying a few last loose ends, Lex reflects on her career in horticulture.
She started 42 years ago when she left school and commenced an apprenticeship. She then went to Pershore college to further her training, and joined the National Trust in 1983. For 30 years Lex has worked for the Trust, coming to Sissinghurst 22 years ago, where she finally achieved what she regards ‘the best job in horticulture’; in 2004 she became the Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle. For 9 years Lex has lead the team of gardeners at the iconic and world famous garden, where she has left her own mark, and where a group of friends and colleagues are sad to be saying goodbye. She retires to a life of contemplation, mostly contemplating what to do next, where to put the veggie patch, and where did I put my glasses?
Lex hands the garden over to Troy Smith, who returns to Sissinghurst from Bodnant. She knows Troy well, and is very happy to be handing over to him, confident that he is ‘right for the place’.
So what is Lex thinking today? It’s a strange feeling, but walking around the garden, with the pristine borders filling with a sudden burst of spring flower she says ”it feels wrong leaving when everything is just beginning to look so marvellous”, but agreed that it’s good to leave on a high note.
From all of us at Sissinghurst Castle, good luck Lex, we wish you well.