Press release: Launch of Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain Trainee Horticulturalist Fund

The World-Famous West Sussex Gardens create a fund to give a trainee horticulturalist a great start - a year working in West Dean Gardens

In the year that they retire, West Dean Gardens is establishing a fund and seeking donations, to establish a Trainee Horticulturalist post in honour of the legacy that Head Gardeners Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain have left in the gardens; to give someone at the start of their career, the chance they need to work towards managing a garden like West Dean.

Jim and Sarah have spent the last 28 years revitalising the magnificent landscape and making West Dean Gardens one of the greatest restored gardens in the UK. They will retire in spring 2019.

As Sarah Wain said: "Large gardens want people to come with experience, but it's so difficult to gain experience in the first place, it's a catch 22. We want to set up a fund to help a person right at the beginning of their horticultural journey so they can one day manage large gardens like West Dean."
Through a complete annual cycle, the trainee will work with the West Dean team, learning about every aspect of the gardens and gaining practical experience that will act as a springboard for their career. They will be eligible to apply to the most prestigious horticultural training programmes in the country, including the RHS Diploma or Kew apprenticeship scheme; without this experience, they may not be considered.

West Dean's aim is to secure enough money to fund the first three years of this programme, which equates to £70 a day. The cost to deliver the Trainee Horticulturalist post next year is £17,400 which covers their salary, membership of the Professional Gardeners' Guild and vital health and safety training courses.

West Dean Gardens are open to the public from February to December (Closed December 24th to January 31, 2019).

West Dean Gardens, Near Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 ORX

Editor's Notes:

  • West Dean Gardens is part of the Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, also comprising West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • To find out more about the scholarship and make a gift to the fund, please visit, or call 01243 818284.

More information is available on or through social media:

For further information or high-resolution digital images, please contact: Rachel Aked ([email protected]) tel: 07790 732448