Vita Sackville-West was a prolific author, poet and memoirist in early 20th-Century Britain who is known not only for her writing, but for her not-so-private, private life. While married to the diplomat Harold Nicolson, she conducted a series of scandalous amorous liaisons with many women, including the brilliant Virginia Woolf. They had an open marriage. Both Sackville-West and her husband had same-sex relationships. Her exuberant aristocratic life was one of inordinate privilege and way ahead of her time. She frequently traveled to Europe in the company of one or the other of her lovers and often dressed as a man to be able to gain access to places where only the couples could go. Gardening, like writing, was a passion Vita cherished with the certainty of a vocation: she wrote books on the topic and constructed the gardens of the castle of Sissinghurst, one of England's most beautiful gardens at her home.She published her first book Poems of East and West in 1917. She followed this with a novel, Heritage, in 1919. A second novel, The Heir (1922), dealt with her feelings about her family. Her next book, Knole and the Sackvilles (1922), covered her family history. The Edwardians (1930) and All Passion Spent (1931) are perhaps her best known novels today. In the latter, the elderly Lady Slane courageously embraces a long suppressed sense of freedom and whimsy after a lifetime of convention. In 1948 she was appointed a Companion of Honour for her services to literature. She continued to develop her garden at Sissinghurst Castle and for many years wrote a weekly gardening column for The Observer. In 1955 she was awarded the gold Veitch medal of the Royal Horticultural Society. In her last decade she published a further biography, Daughter of France (1959) and a final novel, No Signposts in the Sea (1961).She died of cancer on June 2, 1962.