Spring re-opening

It may still officially be winter but it is a good time to get out on a crisp sunny day to enjoy the displays of snowdrops, the harbinger of spring, at West Dean. The award-winning gardens re-open on 3 February after the winter closure.

The gardens are open in support of the National Gardens Scheme's Snowdrop Festival on Sunday 5 February (9am - 4pm). More than 80 gardens will open their gates during February to mark the imminent change of season and in support of charitable causes. Over 500,000 spring bulbs have been naturalised in the gardens and St Roche's Arboretum at West Dean, not only snowdrops but also Narcissi, Scilla, Lilies, Anenome, Muscari, Allium, Chinodoxia, Fritilleria, Crocus and Cyclamen.

Upcoming events at West Dean Gardens include Mother's Day (26 March), Easter Trails (13 - 17 April) and Chilli Fiesta (11 - 13 August). For opening times and more on events visit www.westdeagardens.org.uk.

Seasonal dishes

The Gardens Restaurant will be featuring dishes throughout the coming months prepared with seasonal fruit and vegetables grown in the the Kitchen Garden starting with the first of the season's rhubarb in Rhubarb and Goats Cheese Salad and Rhubarb and Lemon Cake in April.

Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, Head Gardeners at West Dean

Meet the gardeners

Come and meet Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, Head Gardeners at West Dean who celebrated 25 Years of Glorious Gardening last year. Jim and Sarah began transforming the West Dean landscape in 1991 into the internationally renowned award-winning gardens, which attract around 85,000 visitors every year.

Jim and Sarah were awarded Custodians of the Year 2016 by Horticulture Week for their Outstanding Contribution to horticulture.

Jim and Sarah will be giving a talk and a tour on two evenings this summer when you can enjoy canapés and a glass of wine, pick up some expert tips and hear more about the challenges and sucesses of their career so far.

Hello Spring!

West Dean is offering a special Hello Spring! gardens pass for a limited period to encourage everyone to get outside into the Great Outdoors. The pass is available to purchase at £17 (Adult) from 1 March to 31 May and is valid for six weeks from the date of purchase. Visit just twice and the pass will pay for itself. Children's gardens entry is free all year round (accompanied, and excludes special events).

Plants for your garden

The Gardens Shop at West Dean offers a modest but select range of plants for sale, together with an unusual range of gifts including jewellery, stationery, housewares and gardening products. Items are seasonally-themed and often change, so it's worth popping in often to see what's new or in season.