Meet the Gardeners at West Dean

Tom Brown, the new Head Gardener at West Dean Gardens

Tom Brown has joined West Dean Gardens as the new Head Gardener. He comes to us from nearby Parham House, where he became Head Gardener in 2010. Prior to that, he worked at RHS Wisley Gardens for 10 years, latterly running the plant and vegetable trials.

He is a regular contributor on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey, a member of the RHS Herbaceous Committee and an RHS Show Judge.

Tom is already familiar with the Gardens and has lecturered for West Dean College's gardening short courses for several years.

Tom tells us "I'm incredibly excited about taking up the post of Head Gardener at West Dean. I have long admired the Gardens and I'm enthusiastic about being part of its next chapter. I'm keen to develop and continue the unique artistic and horticultural collaboration - harmonising the Gardens with the College and the wider West Dean landscape."

We very much look forward to finding out what Tom has planned. Watch this space!

Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain's retirement

Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain were the inspirational leaders of the garden team for over 25 years, until they retired in April 2019. They brought zeal, imagination, deep horticultural knowledge and an ever-growing understanding and enthusiasm for the gardens and its history. Read the full blog.

We wish Jim and Sarah a heartfelt fond farewell from all of us at West Dean, and best wishes for their retirement.

'At West Dean' published 2018

'At West Dean' by Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, is the first book to comprehensively document this extensive and unique project; a celebration of the gardening excellence and love affair with planting that Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain have established at West Dean over a 25-year period.

While West Dean's expansive site is the starting point, 'At West Dean' highlights the persistence, skill and creativity that make for a successful garden in any set of circumstances, providing inspiration and sound advice for all gardeners and setting a sublime standard to aspire to; it is a joyful reminder of the infinite rewards to be gained from a hard day's work in the garden.

Richly illustrated by award-winning garden photographer Andrea Jones, the glories of West Dean through the seasons are shown to their full extent, mingled with shots of gardeners at work pruning, tying, mowing, raking, labelling, washing pots, stacking canes.

The results of their labours are defined by horticultural rigour and contemporary efficiencies set against a Victorian backdrop.

"I am in awe of what Sarah Wain & Jim Buckland have achieved at West Dean and this superb book is a testament to inspired, uncompromising horticulture at its very best." Monty Don

'At West Dean' is available to purchase in hardback from the West Dean Gardens Gift Shop.

West Dean Garden's Awards

In 2016 Head Gardeners Sarah and Jim won the Horticulture Week Custodian of the Year Award for their 25 years of glorious gardening at West Dean.
Read more.

In 2014 the restored Sunken Garden at West Dean Gardens was awarded the Sussex Heritage Trust Award in the Landscape and Gardens category.

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Support West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens is part of a registered charity and its upkeep and care are only possible with the support of generous donors, friends and legacy gifts.

If you share our passion for the gardens and gardening excellence,
please find out how you can help support their upkeep.