Press Release: West Dean Gardens set to burst into colour this Spring and Summer

New developments in the gardens as well as a range of fascinating garden workshops and talks.

As the sun is starting to shine and the days are warming up, the gardeners at award-winning West Dean Gardens near Chichester are putting plans into place for the Spring and Summer. The gardens are bursting into life and during Spring there will be a vibrant display of over 500,000 spring bulbs, and for the first time there is a glorious display of hyacinths!

The restoration of the Glasshouses is coming to an end, and Glasshouse 4 is going to be filled with an array of Hyacinths, which are currently in bloom and smell amazing! Later in the year the Glasshouses will be used to grow ten different types of sweet potatoes that are suitable for the British climate as well a being used as Apricot, Peach and Nectarine Houses. There will also be an opulent display incorporating groups of chillies, geraniums and calibrachoa, otherwise known as million bells.

Step inside the Fern House (Glasshouse 15), which is north-facing and has a constant temperature between 16-18 degrees, perfect for a fern display showcasing non-hardy ferns and tree ferns, which adds some height. In Glasshouse 16 visitors will find spring and summer displays comprising standard fuchsias, pelargoniums and heliotropes.

Also within the Walled Garden, the Cut Flower Garden will be developed so that visitors can buy bunches of flowers, along with other garden produce from the distinctive circular Apple Store – flowers already planted include sunflowers, delphiniums and dahlias. At the moment, the gardeners are building a frame from old hazel poles which will allow a mass of eye-catching sweet peas to grow, and in the Kitchen Garden, other fruit and vegetables that will be grown include peppers, hanging tomatoes, rhubarb as well as black, red and white currants.  

As Head Gardener, Tom Brown comments: “2020 is looking an exciting year at West Dean, this is my first full year here, so we are looking at all the different aspects of the gardens and seeing how we can develop them, but also incorporate them into the various garden-related talks and workshops that are held at West Dean, all year round.”

He continues: “The team behind the garden is phenomenal and includes 45 volunteers who each bring a passion for gardening with them ranging from a plant pathologist to teachers, nurses and librarians.”   

What can you see in the Gardens at West Dean each Month?

March - Hyacinths
April - Tulips
May – Foxgloves, Wallflowers
June - Roses
July – Cut flowers and vegetables galore
August - Dahlias
September – Apples and pears

The Gardens Restaurant will be open to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea (breakfasts available from 9am at weekends and Bank Holidays) and browse the shop for seasonal gifts and plants. West Dean’s newly opened tea room in Gardeners Cottage, formerly the residence of West Dean Gardens' head gardeners, is somewhere to enjoy a pit-stop and refreshments and will be open Fridays to Sundays from March 20, 2020.

Gardens entry:
Adult tickets £10 (normal gardens entry) and Children under 16 enjoy FREE Gardens entry.

The West Dean Gardens Spring Pass is now on sale - both online and in the Gardens Shop - for £20. The Spring Pass entitles visitors to unlimited Gardens entry between March 1 - May 31, 2020.

2020 Garden Events & Courses up to September

  • Saturday, March 28 - 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Terrarium, kokedama – house plant styling workshop – Jen Berry will show how to bring the beauty of an outdoor garden indoors. She will begin by demonstrating how to make an open terrarium, hanging Kokedama and macramé plant hanger (£158).
  • April 10 – 13 – The Easter Trail at West Dean, 2 different trails for Children aged 2-9yrs including a delicious treat at the end plus a variety of different craft activities inspired by the courses at West Dean College (cost: £7.50 for children, normal entry for adults).  
  • Saturday, April 18 - 9.30am – 3pm - Talk: The Cut Flower Patch - Georgie Newberry will be hosting a talk on all aspects of growing your own cut flowers (£90).
  • Saturday, April 25 - 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Working with colour in your garden - Explore the use of colour in your garden under Max and Henry’s expert eyes and be inspired by the planting ideas at Parham House. Discover new colour combinations and how to extend the season using late summer colour. You will have the chance to work on a planting plan for your garden (£128).
  • Sunday, April 26 - 9.30am – 3pm - Talk: Designing gardens for climate adaptation – Mark Laurence will be discussing how and why we must adapt our gardens and landscape to respond to climate change (£85).
  • Saturday, May 2 - 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Create your own topiary with James Crebbin-Bailey – a talk about the history of topiary and a practical demonstration on cutting techniques followed by a hands-on workshop to create your own topiary to take away (£163).
  • Friday, May 8-10 - Workshop: Create your own planting plan with Annie Guilfoyle – understand the principles of good planting and how to design planting. You will also learn about planning and plotting the right plants for your garden (£260).
  • Sunday, June 7 – 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Garden Design with Annie Guilfoyle  - spend a day learning the basics of garden design to improve your plot, using simple exercises and design techniques (£128).
  • Sunday, June 7 – 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Growing Vegetables from scratch with Max Crisfeld and Laura Bolton – Learn key lessons for planning, creating and maintaining your own vegetable garden. Topics covered will include site and soil preparation, crop selection and rotation, sowing and planting out and managing pests (£128).
  • Saturday, June 13 - 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Growing food under glass – advanced kitchen garden with Tom Brown – Get tips on soil preparation, pruning, propagating techniqies, good varieties to grow, and how to manage pests and diseases for growing tender vegetables and fruit under glass (£128).
  • Sunday, July 4 – 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Managing and maintaining a mixed herbaceous border with Benjamin Pope – learn how to manage and maintain  mixed herbaceous borders, using both traditional techniques and contemporary methods to create a soft and natural aesthetic (£128).
  • Thursday, August 13 – 16 – Workshop: Designing your own Garden with Annie Guilfoyle – learn the basics of site evaluation and the creation of a functional layout and planting plan to plan and plant your own garden (£381).
  • Saturday, September 12 – 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Summer propagation – plants for free with Sally Gregson - increase your plant stock by using simple propagation. Try out various methods including division, root cuttings, soft and hardwood cuttings, seed collection and treatments (£148).
  • Sunday, September 13 - 9am – 5pm – Workshop: Designing a shade border with Sally Gregson – study a shady border in West Dean Gardens and draw up a planting plan of your own shady garden (£128).
  • Thursday, September 29 – October 1 – Workshop: Grow your own flowers for pleasure or profit with Rachel Siegfried – learn how to create a productive cutting garden for a consistent supply of flowers from April through til October, whether for home arrangements or a micro flower farming business (£310).

    Free parking. Free admission to Shop and Restaurant. Dogs on short leads welcome.

    Become a Friend of West Dean and benefit from free access to the gardens year-round (except during major events).

    West Dean Gardens, Near Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 ORX

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Editor's notes

West Dean Gardens is part of the Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, also comprising West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio.
Charity No. 1126084.

More information is available on or through social media:

For further information or high-resolution digital images, please contact Rachel Aked:
Tel: 07790 732448