Support Us

Here at West Dean, the extensive gardens and grounds give an enormous amount of pleasure to thousands of visitors every year. You tell us they provide inspiration for your art, ideas for your garden, a place for quiet contemplation and something new and beautiful to see and admire on every visit.

Whatever your reason for enjoying the gardens at West Dean, we know that for you, this is a special place.

Your support of the Gardens helps to ensure we can maintain and preserve them for your continued pleasure and for future generations. There are lots of ways you can help. Become a Friend of West Dean, leave a gift in your will, make a donation to our Glasshouse appeal to restore our beautiful complete set of Victorian Glasshouses to their former glory.

Thank you for your support of West Dean Gardens.

Find out more

Save our precious glasshouses

Time and weather are no friend to our precious Victorian glasshouses. Both contribute to timber decay and eventually this puts the structures in danger.

A Message from our Chief Executive, Alex Barron

I know that West Dean Gardens are close to your heart and that like me, you treasure your visits to the walled garden and their magnificent glasshouses. A number of our glasshouses need complete renovation. It will cost £41,000 to completely restore each one. Can you help us?

Your gift will make a huge difference. It provides a garden classroom for our trainee horticulturists. A nursery to almost every plant that makes its way into the gardens. Somewhere for you, your children and grandchildren to learn more about growing and looking after plants. A precious piece of heritage that you have helped preserve.

Thank you.

Preserve our horticultural heritage

Our amazing glasshouses, built during the 1890s by Foster and Pearson, were at the forefront of Victorian technology. They continue to nurture flowers, fruit and vegetables as they have done for 120 years - but now they need your help to survive. The quality of the materials, craftsmanship and the attention to detail (right down to the easy-to-open brass latches designed for hands laden with gardening tools) help to explain why they have survived to this day. It's incredibly rare to have this range of original Victorian glasshouses in operation and as such they are a vital part of ourlocal heritage.

With your help we can raise enough money to bring all our glasshouses back to their former glory and preserve them for another century. Click here to read more about the fascinating history of our glasshouses.

We have been overwhelmed by the support received to help save our glasshouses, the project is progressing very well, huge thanks go to all our donors. Click here for an update on where we are today.

"Restoration of the Victorian Glasshouses is not simply about aesthetics and keeping up appearances, they are tools essential for the long term health and development of the Gardens. Please help in any way you can."

Toby Buckland, Gardener and TV presenter

Map of the Glasshouses

Hand drawn map showing the layout of the glasshouses in the Walled Garden.

The story so far

In 1991, our truly dedicated Head Gardeners, husband and wife team, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain and their team of gardeners, embarked on an amazing journey to rebuild West Dean Gardens. It's been a lifetime's work.

After the Great Storm of 1987, one of their first jobs was to restore the complete set of original Victorian glasshouses to full working order. It's incredibly rare to have this range of glasshouses in operation. But their survival depends on constant support in the fight against the elements.

We launched our first fundraising appeal in 2014 to begin a refurbishment programme of all our glasshouses. We are indebted to those who have already contributed to this appeal and enabled us to restore the Tropical and Temperate and the Display houses in the Walled Garden. In the Spring of 2016 we launched an appeal to restore Glasshouse 24 & 25 - the Fig House, Nectarine and Late Vinery in the orchard.

We have been delighted by the generosity of our wonderful supporters in helping to restore these amazing Victorian glasshouses. Throughout 2016 our specialist works and maintenance team have spent tireless months, weeks, days and hours in all temperatures to restore two major glasshouses.

Read the full story here.


We have recently been overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of our Gardens supporters and are therefore not currently recruiting new volunteers. If you would like to be considered when we do need some extra help, please detail your experiences, skills and contact details in a note to:

Alternatively you can write to us at:

The Edward James Foundation
West Dean
West Sussex
PO18 0QZ

My year at West Dean Gardens

"I volunteered one day a week whilst studying for my RHS Level 2 Horticultural Diploma.

The gardens are renowned for their high standard and when I worked there I experienced those high standards for myself and learned a lot. Without any doubt volunteering at West Dean helped me pass my RHS diploma. I believe it must be highly valued by any student of horticulture.

The garden team always gave their time and shared their knowledge with me enthusiastically. I always finished my days at West Dean feeling I had learnt something new.

Volunteering at West Dean offered me a wide range of experience and learning including:

  • In the Glasshouses:
    Watering duties, potting on, cuttings, dead heading, staking, clearing, tidying
  • In the Vegetable Garden:
    Weeding, building structures, harvesting, tieing in
  • In the Orchards:
  • In the Spring Garden:
    Bulb planting, weeding, pruning, lawn edging, leaf blowing.

I will always be grateful to West Dean Gardens … for the positive and significant contribution they made to my career."

Leigh Glover, Volunteer

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.