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

Help save our Victorian Glasshouses

These magnificent Grade II Listed Glasshouses built during the 1890s by Foster and Pearson, were at the forefront of Victorian technology. Today they provide a nursery to almost every plant that makes its way into the gardens and somewhere for you to learn about growing and looking after plants. A precious piece of heritage that is our duty to preserve.

The support you have given over the past few years has been truly incredible. Can you help one last time and give the few remaining glasshouses the love and attention they need? Your donation will preserve a piece of local heritage, bring these glass wonders back to life, and ensure that the full set are restored, marking an end of this vital project.

Preserving our horticultural heritage

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 the first jobs was to restore all 13 glasshouses to full working order. Jim and Sarah have re-created 26 different growing environments within the glasshouses, from traditional figs and melons, to new and exotic red hot chillies.

Giving back to the glasshouses

Thirty years on and the warm and damp conditions created in a glasshouse contribute to its own decay; timber struggles with wet and dry rot, cast iron battles against rust, and glass simply cannot withstand time and weather, causing a continuous cycle of renewal.

With more sophisticated building materials available today, and advances in the development of protective timber treatments and finishes, this time around the restoration should last for 50 years.

During your visits over the last few years, you will have seen work being done on glasshouses throughout the walled garden - with the most urgent ones being prioritised first.

We are delighted to tell you that nine out of the thirteen glasshouses have now been fully restored, and work to the final four is planned for 2019. And we are so grateful for the support you have given along the way. We have £60,000 left to raise to finish this project in its entirety.

An exhibition telling the story of the Victorian glasshouses is on display in the Peach and Tomato house. We hope you are able to come and visit soon and read all about the history of these unique buildings.

If you would like to help save a piece of local heritage then please donate today. Your gift will mark the end of this vital restoration project, saving all 13 Victorian glasshouses.

Thank you for your support

"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.


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.