A message from Head Gardener, Tom, following the announcement that we will be re-opening the Gardens to the public from 26 June; and operating Friends-only days 22-25 June.
"It’s lovely to think that people will be returning to West Dean Gardens to enjoy the open green space and the tranquillity and atmosphere of our much loved garden. Since lockdown, due to safety reasons, we have had one member of staff in the Gardens each day with the purpose of maintaining and preserving our valuable Glasshouse Collections. This translates to potting on plants, watering (in very warm conditions!) and managing pests and diseases to ensure that we have a group of plants that will be ready for displays in the future.
March, April, May and June are critical months in a garden and the very difficult decision was taken to donate all of our annual seedlings and cuttings to charity and cancel our 2020 summer displays in the light of the pandemic. 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 but otherwise we’ve had to be minimal in these areas due to a lack of manpower at a critical time.
As members of the Garden Team return, it is our priority to regain a level of maintenance in the garden. We are cutting the long grass and tackling weeds, and it will be the start of an ongoing process over the coming months. Please bear with us as we work hard to return the Gardens to their full glory.
With best wishes and thanks,
Tom and the Garden Team"