What's looking good in summer 2022

As I reflect on my first few years at West Dean, I can say with certainty that it’s been eventful and this seems to be the trend going forward. Managing a large garden like West Dean will be full of challenges in terms of drought, producing lots of food for the College, resource use and gardening in a more sustainable and wildlife friendly way. Through these challenges comes great opportunity and excitement with some new projects and ways of working.

Over the past year, we have planted the beds around the College and they’ll continue to grow and fill in. A large planting of winter stems in the Spring Garden should provide lots of interest during the colder months, I just need to persuade the local deer population to eat their lunch elsewhere!

If you haven’t already, pop down to see our new Dry Meadow which is full of seed grown, drought tolerant perennials which should inspire all of us to be able to garden successfully without using too much water, the plants are alive with bees at the moment, proving their benefits to pollinators.

In the coming months, look out for a new spring shrub display, a dye garden and a refurbished woodland garden, as well as some work on our wildlife pond.

In the Walled Garden, we have had a tremendous crop of peaches and apricots as well as a very successful ranunculus display which will be featured on Gardener’s World this winter.

Our cut flowers for drying display are very popular and our trainees are busy cutting the flowers to dry and display in the College and Visitor Centre this autumn and winter.

This year sees a great apple crop and they’ll be sold from mid-August outside our Visitor Centre and this year, David Wilson (one of our brilliant volunteers) will be giving tours on Sundays in September.

Over the winter, we will be setting up our new Arid House which will house our collection of cacti and succulents in a permanent home, alongside our new collection of nearly 150 nerine cultivars.

I hope to see you soon.

Tom Brown, Head Gardener