What's New?


Just a few days to go until Chilli Fiesta 2018 (10-12 August) and we can't wait! It looks set to be another fantastic year with a great line-up of music, top chefs, gardeners and of course the stars of the show, the chillies! From the salsa masterclass with Strictly Come Dancing's Katya and Neil Jones and loads of live music, to cookery and gardening demos, we can't decide what to see first! Get your advance tickets online today

Award winning gardens!

We're delighted to announce that West Dean Gardens has won another national award! Our head gardeners Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain attended the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards at Woburn Abbey Sculpture Gallery on Wednesday 27 June and won the "Best Gardens or Arboretum (+6 Staff)" category.

The Edward James Foundation's (inc. West Dean Gardens) Chief Executive, Alex Barron said:

"Congratulations to Jim, Sarah, the whole Gardens team and everyone involved in winning the Horticulture Week Custodian Award for 'Best Gardens or Arboretum'. It's fantastic for West Dean to be recognised in this way and to have seen off some fairly stiff competition along the way!"

Read more

What's looking good in summer at West Dean Gardens?

"Weather has not been such a hot topic for ages with the drought of June and July making us rather nervous as we watched the skies for any sign of rain...Under glass the potted chillies bravely fight on but even they are relieved to have a cooler root run after blistering heat for weeks on end. To keep them going we've been harvesting more than usual so as not to exhaust the plant. They're really looking the business now just in time for our annual West Dean Chilli Fiesta." Read more in the latest blog by Gardens Supervisor, Sarah Wain.

Sculptures in the Gardens

Through a partnership between West Dean College of Arts and Conservation and the Cass Sculpture Foundation, four sculptures by artist Eilís O'Connell have recently been installed in West Dean Gardens.

O'Connell hoards found objects such as discarded agricultural tools and dairy vessels, which may eventually find their way into her sculpture or become an inspiration for a form or texture. She has exhibited widely since the early seventies and has established her career largely through
public commissions with more than 20 major commissions to her credit.

Enjoy a stroll around the Spring Garden and you will see Stem, Conetwirl, Curve to Point and Squareball. All the sculptures are available to purchase through the Cass Sculpture Foundation. Please pick up an information leaflet from the West Dean Gardens Shop/Restaurant.

Photographic exhibition continues in 2018

During your visit to West Dean make sure you stop by the 'mushroom shed' to see the wonderful photo exhibition in the Kitchen Garden of before and after pictures. Created as part of our 25 years of glorious gardening celebrations in 2016 the exhibition includes images of the gardens in the early 1990s when our head gardeners Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain first started working at West Dean. It gives a fantastic insight in to the work involved and the transformation is astounding! Entry to the exhibition is all included in the Gardens entry price.

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