Press Release: Brush up your gardening skills at West Dean College

West Dean College gardening short courses are taught by expert gardeners, growers and landscapers. Whether you have a window box, an allotment or a rose garden you can learn more about experimenting with planting flowers and growing your own food to eat. You can enjoy unlimited access to West Dean's award-winning Gardens during your stay and be inspired by the Kitchen Garden, Victorian glasshouses, flowerbeds and orchards.

Growing apples, pears, plums and cherries with John Nash will provide a guide through the rewarding process of growing your own fruit. All aspects of growing are included from selecting rootstocks and varieties, to general care and management, including pest, diseases and pruning. (8 November £109 Beginners/Intermediate).

Christmas wreaths and garlands is a one day course using fabulous foliage from West Dean Gardens to create a contemporary decoration to adorn your front door. Sue Hingston will teach you to make stunning garlands and wreaths for you to take home in time for Christmas. (13 December £138 Beginners/Intermediate).

Annie Guilefoyle, who featured in BBC's Small Town Gardens and writes regularly for Gardens Illustrated, teaches Designing your own garden. Annie will teach you the basics of site evaluation and how to create a functional layout and planting plan. This course is perfect for those who have a new garden with nothing in it, or an established garden they would like to make changes to. (5 - 8 February £322 Suitable for all).

In Understanding and practising no-dig gardening with Charles Dowding you will learn about good soil care through the no-dig method of gardening and surface composting, to achieve fewer weeds, healthier plants and bigger harvest (8 March £109 Suitable for all).

Garden maintenance part one - understanding the basics of garden maintenance and care of the soil with Stephen Smith shows you how to get the best from your garden through understanding horticultural practice. Learn about soil, its cultivation and improvement, and the nutritional requirements of plants. (14 March £119 Beginners). Garden Maintenance part two - understanding the care of plants (15 March £119 Beginners).

Rosie Yeomans will teach you methods of raising and growing plants to harvest with practical demonstrations and discussion. Rosie has carried out garden trails for BBC Gardeners' Question Time and Gardeners' World magazine and can help you to choose the right varieties and give you tips for successful growing. Spring preparation in the vegetable garden (22 March £119 Beginners/Intermediate).

Clever solutions to planting problem places covers the shady, dry areas under trees, coastal or exposed areas or a patch of soggy soil found in many gardens. Tutor Sally Gregson will help you to find the perfect plant to suit every location. (4 April £109 Suitable for all).

Garden Lectures (including entry to the gardens and lunch)

From a derelict hill farm to a spectacular garden with Derry Watkins (21 March 9.45am to 3pm £71). Derry will tell the fascinating story of how, in 1996, she and her husband bought a derelict barn close to Bath, set in exposed fields of heavy clay. They created a gravel garden, and later a bog, a black and white border, a woodland walk, a vegetable garden and orchard.

Perennial geraniums - the stalwarts of the garden with Rosy Hardy (11 April 9.45am to 3pm £71). Rosy will explain how and where to plant the numerous varieties of the perennial geranium for fabulous floral displays, talk about life behind the scenes at The Chelsea Flower Show and what it is that makes Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants Gold Medal winners year after year.


Stay with us and wake up to beautiful views over the Sussex Downs in the stately splendour of a country mansion. The bedrooms are a mixture of contemporary and traditional styling. From £95 for a weekend. Accommodation includes dinner and breakfast.


For more on what's on at West Dean, to browse the Short Course FLIPBOOK or to book a Short Course and obtain a 5% discount visit First time bookings receive a 10% discount. (Telephone booking only +44 (0)1243 818300).


Notes to editors:

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • The Gardens are open from 1 February - 21 December with special event days throughout the year; Grow! Cook! Eat! (4 & 5 October), half term Halloween activities (27 - 31 October); Father Christmas visits (13 - 14 & 20 - 21 December).
  • The College runs over 700 short courses in arts, crafts, gardening and music each year as well as full time postgraduate programmes in Visual Arts, Conservation and Making Stringed Musical Instruments. For more information visit
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in visiting the Gardens, attending a course or an event for news or review purposes should contact the Media Relations team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and six miles south of Midhurst.

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Media contact information

For media accreditation or high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College and Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ