About the garden
Edward James Foundation Ltd
Laid out in the 1890s and 1900s, West Dean has now been extensively restored. Harold Peto's 100m pergola and the sunken garden which terminates its eastern end have both been completely rebuilt and replanted to create a vision of Edwardian opulence. Much of the damage to the 50 acre (20ha) St Roche's arboretum caused by the 1987 storm has been made good. The great range of glasshouses in the walled garden has been repaired and the garden itself planted as a working kitchen garden that is now the crowning glory of West Dean.
A huge variety of plants - from peaches to peppers, cucumbers to coleus, aubergines to orchids - grows in the 16 glasshouses and frames. Out of doors are orderly rows of cabbage, carrots, lettuce and beetroot, alongside herbaceous borders in rich reds, oranges and yellows. No space is wasted: the kitchen garden has over one mile of walls covered in trained fruit trees - more than 200 different apples, pears and plums. No private garden has so many beautifully grown fruit and vegetables. Anna Pavord once wrote in The Independent: 'I have never been in a kitchen garden so rich, so profuse, so well ordered, so tempting'.
Beyond the walled garden (2 acres in size) are 35 acres (14ha) of ornamental gardens, the St Roche's arboretum (now really coming into its own, with broad paths and splendid trees) and 240 acres (97ha) of landscaped park - all linked by a 2.5 mile walk. Herbaceous borders and annual bedding schemes have been reinstated and more than 400,000 bulbs planted. In the spring garden are an 1820s rustic thatched summerhouse with a moss- and heather-lined interior and a floor of knapped flints and horses' molars.
In the wild garden are new woodland and herbaceous plantings, a pond and wetland area. A garden at the peak of perfection.