As guessed, the rumpus was a publicity stunt exercise in TV dramatics. The BBC and the National Trust knew when they were planning the TV series on Sissinghurst that Adam Nicholson and Sarah Raven’s ideas were going to be accepted. So in Episode 8 of the longest-running docudrama in the first 5,000 years of garden history, we saw some of the farm land being used to grow vegetables and Sly Steve in the kitchen admitting that Sarah’s Moroccan Lamb had been popular with the guests. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00jclx2/Sissinghurst_Episode_8/ Adam shoehorned in a final attempt to make Sissinghurst into the World’s Lesbian Capital or, at least, the World’s Sexiest Garden (with the line “Harold Nicholson loved Morocco more than any place on earth. He often had an affair there”). Adam Nicholson also remarked that “Writing is the family business. Butchers chop up pigs. We write books.” Nicely put, but was he laying a foundation for a new family business: TV? Watch this space.
PS Why does the National Trust want publicity for Sissinghurst? To attract more visitors and to have more money to spend. But to conserve the garden’s character it needs less publicity and fewer visitors.