Press Release: 25 Years of Glorious Gardening at award-winning West Dean Gardens

"Jim and Sarah have given much of their lives to the gardens at West Dean. Over the many years that I have visited the garden I am always amazed at the high level of horticulture that is displayed in the grounds, and under glass. Over 25 years this incredible pair have gardened to a level that is admirable, and inspirational."

Christine Walkden, horticulturist, broadcaster and writer.

West Dean Gardens is marking 25 Years of Glorious Gardening in 2016. In the wake of the Great Storms of 1987, husband and wife team, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, have been transforming West Dean into award-winning gardens since 1991. During that time they have revitalised the 19th century landscape and made the gardens internationally respected for both the quality and variety of they and their team's horticultural practice.The gardens re-open after the winter closure on Monday 1 February. Over 500,000 bulbs have been naturalised and on Valentine's Day the gardens are participating in the National Garden Scheme's first ever Snowdrop Festival (Sunday 14th February 2016, 10.30am - 4pm). Children go FREE all year round.

West Dean is one of the most significant restored gardens open to the public today. Creatively inspired by its rich heritage and setting within the South Downs, the 92-acres are brimming with features to enjoy, including an impressive collection of 13 working Victorian glasshouses, a 300-foot Edwardian pergola, a heritage fruit collection in the Walled Garden, a Kitchen Garden, a Spring and Woodland Garden and occasional surreal fibreglass tree.

The 49-acre St Roche's Arboretum is of interest all year round with its fine collection of trees but is a must-see in late spring with its abundant display of rhododendrons and azaleas. The 2.5 mile Parkland walk that links the grounds to the arboretum is a beautiful circular walk with breathtaking views of the flint house of West Dean College and the surrounding South Downs landscape.


Discover how to design with plants that are adapted to our ever changing climate with horticulturist, designer and ecologist, Nigel Dunnett whose existing planting design for the Barbican in London, features steepe planting and plants that are suited to a dry climate. Nigel is joined by plantsman and designer, Olivier Filippi, who will talk about his latest book, Planting Design for Dry Gardens. Gardens inspired by nature - ecological planting for a changing climate (Garden Lecture 14 May £72.

Visitors to West Dean Gardens can also browse for unique gifts and greetings cards in the Visit England-endorsed Gardens Shop and enjoy home-cooked food in the Gardens Restaurant.

Summer Dining Series in the Gardens Restaurant

22 April - An evening with Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain.

20 August - Tapas Night.

9 September - Cider Tasting Night.

14 October - Whisky Tasting Evening with Sussex cook, Rosemary Moon.

For more information visit on events and short courses

West Dean Gardens are an oasis of peace and beauty; inspiring and tranquil. If you share a passion for gardens become a Friend of West Dean Garden.


Notes to editors

  • West Dean Gardens is part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, which also includes West Dean College, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • West Dean Gardens offer a programme of special events throughout the year, including its award-winning Chilli Fiesta (5, 6 and 7 August). Visit
  • Dogs are welcome at West Dean Gardens on a short lead.
  • All photographs are free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

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Explore the gardens and discover the arboretum.

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities, please contact

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


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ