G is for glasshouses

The 13 Victorian glasshouses by Foster & Pearson are a highlight of the Kitchen Garden at West Dean.The majority, together with the four sets of cold frames, were erected between 1890 and 1900 by Foster & Pearson. They demonstrate the variety of types and styles in use during the period from three-quarter span houses, to a cucumber and melon house, and pineapple pits.

There is always colour on display from the large collection of plants including exotic plants, orchids, strawberry plants, figs, nectarines, peaches, gourds, grapes and melons. West Dean' Gardens' wonderful collections of fruit and vegetables are on show throughout their life-cycle and are displayed for visitors' enjoyment.

The glasshouses are heated by a woodchip burning boiler which also heats the College and associated buildings using woodchips produced from West Dean Estate's commercial forestry.

In recognition of Sarah Wain's contribution to the redevelopment project she received two Awards in 2013. The Professional Gardeners' Guild 'Loyal and Outstanding Service Award' in recognition of her dedication, drive and commitment to the highest horticultural standards "instrumental in raising the standard and profile of the West Dean Gardens in general, and of the restored Walled Kitchen Garden and Victorian Glasshouses in particular, to the point where they are now seen as being exemplary in their field." Sarah also received the Institute of Horticulture Award and is widely recognised as the superb grower of West Dean's imaginative glasshouse crops including tomatoes, chillies and herbs.

"The glass houses at West Dean are an inspirational model of how best to use any greenhouse. They are a treasure for all gardeners." Monty Don