Meet the Gardeners at West Dean

Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain are the inspirational leaders of the garden team, bringing zeal, imagination, deep horticultural knowledge and an ever-growing understanding and enthusiasm for the gardens and its history.

2016 marked 25 years since Jim and Sarah began the gardens' transformation and since 1991 they have overseen huge changes resulting in the beautiful gardens they are today. Read the full blog.

Jim Buckland, Gardens Manager

An Honours graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Jim has managed historic public gardens in both Australia and the UK. He frequently lectures in the UK and is a regular contributor to magazines.

Jim's work at West Dean Gardens has been acknowledged by the Royal Horticultural Society. He was awarded the RHS Associate of Honour for distinguished service to horticulture in his professional working life.

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Sarah Wain, Gardens Supervisor

Sarah's Diploma in Horticultural Science was gained in Australia, after which she worked in the temperate department at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew for three years. Returning to Australia she managed a local council nursery, and the gardens at Burnley Horticultural College where she trained. In 1987 she and husband Jim returned to the UK where they have worked together establishing gardens at Lockerly Hall in Hampshire and restoring and developing West Dean Gardens since 1991.

Sarah regularly writes for blogs and publications as well as presenting gardening talks to audiences at West Dean.

Sarah is a member of the RHS Vegetable Trials Forum and has received two awards in recognition of her contribution to West Dean Gardens. The Professional Gardeners' Guild 'Loyal and Outstanding Service Award' was given in recognition of her dedication, drive and commitment to the highest horticultural standards. Sarah also received the Institute of Horticulture Award and is widely recognised as the superb grower of West Dean's wide range of glasshouse crops including ferns, exotic ornamentals, chillies and tomatoes.

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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.