Cutting Garden and Glasshouses at West Dean Gardens

Support Us

Here at West Dean, the extensive gardens and grounds give an enormous amount of pleasure to thousands of visitors every year. You tell us they provide inspiration for your art, ideas for your garden, a place for quiet contemplation and something new and beautiful to see and admire on every visit.

Whatever your reason for enjoying the gardens at West Dean, we know that for you, this is a special place.


It is with thanks to your generous support that the Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain Trainee Horticulturalist appeal has raised over £50,000. 

We caught up with Jim and Sarah recently and they were delighted with the progress of their fund, Sarah says;
"What better place than the diverse West Dean Gardens to start a career in horticulture under the dynamic tutelage of new Head Gardener Tom Brown."

Tom says "There is a great shortfall of people with experience in gardens like this, so every person we can help will help to ensure horticultural skills aren’t lost. We have now developed an excellent training programme where the individual will be exposed to a number of seasonal tasks across each area of the gardens. Now that we have this in place we have capacity to roll it out and help as many people as we can." 


We have recently been overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of our Gardens supporters and are therefore not currently recruiting new volunteers. If you would like to be considered when we do need some extra help, please detail your experiences, skills and contact details in a note to: [email protected]

Alternatively you can write to us at:

The Edward James Foundation
West Dean
West Sussex
PO18 0QZ

My year at West Dean Gardens

"I volunteered one day a week whilst studying for my RHS Level 2 Horticultural Diploma.

The gardens are renowned for their high standard and when I worked there I experienced those high standards for myself and learned a lot. Without any doubt volunteering at West Dean helped me pass my RHS diploma. I believe it must be highly valued by any student of horticulture.

The garden team always gave their time and shared their knowledge with me enthusiastically. I always finished my days at West Dean feeling I had learnt something new.

Volunteering at West Dean offered me a wide range of experience and learning including:

  • In the Glasshouses:
    Watering duties, potting on, cuttings, dead heading, staking, clearing, tidying
  • In the Vegetable Garden:
    Weeding, building structures, harvesting, tieing in
  • In the Orchards:
  • In the Spring Garden:
    Bulb planting, weeding, pruning, lawn edging, leaf blowing.

I will always be grateful to West Dean Gardens … for the positive and significant contribution they made to my career."

Leigh Glover, Volunteer

Support West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens is part of a registered charity and its upkeep and care are only possible with the support of generous donors, friends and legacy gifts.

If you share our passion for the gardens and gardening excellence,
please find out how you can help support their upkeep.