What's new?

It's been wonderful to have welcomed so many visitors back to the Gardens, since reopening on 26 June. There are certain restrictions in-line with government guildelines, including adhering to social distancing rules. Please read our FAQs for more information. Pre-booking your tickets is essential in order for us to manage visitor numbers. Book online in advance here

A message from Head Gardener Tom Brown

Head Gardener Tom has shared an update on what you can expect on your next visit to the Gardens: 

"As you wander around the Walled Gardens, you will see our collections are planted, ready for us to take cuttings in the summer for our 2021 displays. We are establishing our new, perennial crops in the Kitchen Garden such as asparagus, soft fruit and herbs."

Read more in our latest Gardens blog post here

Top flower picks for September

Head Gardener Tom picks the best plants that will respond well to the warm days and cooler evenings of September. Flowers include Ageratina altissima ‘Braunlaub’ and Gladiolus ‘Violetta’. Read the Gardens illustrated article here.

Bringing the Gardens to you, via social media

Our social media is full of updates and developments around the Gardens as we move through summer. The warm weather recently has meant we have some excellent photos. Please feel free to share our pictures, tagging @westdeangardens. See more on:

Free entry for NHS staff

To coincide with International Nurses Day on Tuesday 12 May 2020, the Gardens are inviting NHS nurses and all their NHS colleagues to visit the award-winning gardens for free, from the 26 June 2020

Entry is free for NHS staff members plus one, with accompanying children also free (dogs welcome on leads). NHS staff will simply need to show NHS ID on entry to enjoy unlimited visits for six months from the Gardens reopening. (Entry will also be given to nurses not working for the NHS but who can show proof of RCN membership.)

Alexander Barron, Chief Executive, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation commented: “In these extraordinary times, the important role that the staff of the NHS play in our lives has become more evident than ever, and this is our small gesture of thanks. As we know from recent NHS research, the outdoors is key to everyone’s wellbeing, and we hope our beautiful gardens can be a space for NHS staff to escape to and experience some tranquility, whether it be for a stroll around the stunning walled gardens or a walk up to the arboretum.”

Tickets are available to book online and pre-booking is essential. Please select 'NHS Staff Complimentary Ticket' when booking, and your ticket will be validated upon arrival. Please read our FAQs for more information.

Gardeners' World at West Dean

If you missed West Dean Gardens on Gardener's World recently then you can catch up on the BBC iPlayer here (episode 5). This series the programmes are featuring head gardeners from around the country, so do tune in to hear from West Dean's Head Gardener Tom Brown

Tom spent the day showing the crew the Walled Garden, the stunning Nectarine Glasshouse, the Pergola and the Spring Gardens. He said: “I was so pleased to welcome BBC’s Gardeners’ World to West Dean Gardens on a glorious day, and I am thrilled to have been chosen for this new series of pieces focussing on Head Gardeners. The piece featuring West Dean Gardens will be the first to be shown and I am very pleased to join a prestigious line up, which also features Head Gardeners and the gardens they work at, including Sissinghurst and Ilford Manor, as well as several others.” 

Growing your own

Thinking of growing your own and wondering where to start? If the answer is 'yes', West Dean's Head Gardener, Tom Brown, is here to inspire and help you. Be sure to follow along on our social media channels (@westdeangardens) and with #westdeantogether.

How to grow salad leaves

West Dean Gardens Head Gardener, Tom Brown demonstrates how to sow and grow salad leaves from seed, as well as how to harvest leaves for continuous growing.


How to grow potatoes

In this video, Head Gardener Tom Brown demonstrates how to grow potatoes both in the ground and in a container. He also shares a clever and efficient way to back fill your holes when plating in the soil, as well as types of potatoes and when to harvest.

How to grow French beans

In this video, Tom reveals how to grow French beans, both starting them in a pot indoors and sowing directly into your garden. He also demonstrates planting climbing French beans and what to use as a frame, and gives a few tips on growing butternut squash.

How to grow pea shoots

To celebrate National Children’s Gardening Week (23-31 May 2020), Head Gardener Tom Brown is joined by his son, Oli, and the pair explain how to sow and grow pea shoots in an old gutter. If you’re keen to get your children involved in gardening, check out this informative and entertaining video together, and be inspired.

Top Tips for Dahlias

West Dean Gardens' Head Gardener, Tom Brown, shares his top tips to make sure you enjoy the dahlias in your garden all summer long - and even into the autumn. Watch for techniques to get bigger flowers and learn about live heading to give you cut flowers and more flowers for longer.

Garden Media Guild Awards

On Thursday 21 November, West Dean Gardens' Head Gardener Tom Brown and Chief Executive Alex Barron attended the prestigious Garden Media Guild Awards 2019, at The Savoy Hotel, London.

We are thrilled to announce that Tom was awarded the Alan Titchmarsh New Talent Award. The judges' comments included: "Tom Brown’s quiet passion and wide-ranging horticultural skills are evident in both his writing and presenting examples, and he has a subtle yet extremely engaging style. He’s an experienced, passionate plantsman and gardener. Tom brings his subjects to life both on the page and presented to camera. His love of plants shines throughout and it is a joy to read and watch material backed up by in-depth knowledge along with a great deal of hands-on experience."

At West Dean by former Head Gardeners Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain was shortlisted for the Garden Book of the Year, and Andrea Jones, who took the photos for the book, was shortlisted for the Gordon Rae Photographer of the Year Award. 

The full list of winners can be found on the Garden Media Guild Awards' website.

Award-winning wedding venue

2020 Global Wedding Awards

We are delighted to share the news that West Dean Gardens has been named: 

  • Best Wedding Reception Venue 2020 (West Sussex) AND 
  • Wedding Photography Venue of the Year 2020 (South East England) 

at the LUXlife 2020 Global Wedding Awards. Find out more about wedding receptions at West Dean Gardens.

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