Head Gardeners at West Dean, husband and wife team, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain have been awarded Outstanding Winners of the inaugural Horticulture Week Custodian Award for their lifetime's work in revitalising the 19th century landscape. It is 25 years since Jim and Sarah began transforming the derelict 92-acre site into award-winning gardens, in the wake of the Great Storms of 1987.
In the years since 1991, they have overseen tremendous changes which have brought the gardens international respect for both the quality and variety of horticultural practice. Jim and Sarah determined to work within the historic framework and build on its diverse characteristics, adding their own contemporary contributions as had previous generations.
"Our judging panel was deeply impressed with the commitment, dedication and skill of Sarah Wain and Jim Buckland and all that they have achieved at West Dean Gardens. They have developed their team and the landscape raising the prominence of the gardens in the process to great heights," says Kate Lowe, editor, and chair of the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards judging panel.