Trainee horticultural scholarship launched

The world-famous West Dean Gardens, in Sussex, has launched a new fund to enable a horticultural trainee to spend a year working at the Gardens.

The Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain Trainee Horticulturalist Fund is being launched in honour of gardeners Jim and Sarah who are to retire in spring 2019. The fund is now seeking donations, to establish the post and give someone at the start of their career the chance to work towards managing a garden like West Dean.

Jim and Sara (pictured below right) have spent the last 28 years revitalising the magnificent landscape at West Dean, making the gardens one of the greatest restored gardens in the UK. The scholarship is a fitting tribute to them both and gives a valuable opportunity to a trainee to kick-start their horticultural career.

Sarah points out that large gardens want people to come with experience but it can be 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,” she said.

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 to 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 the programme. The cost to deliver the Trainee Horticulturalist post next year is £17,400 which covers salary, membership of the Professional Gardeners’ Guild and vital health and safety training courses.

West Dean Gardens is part of the Edward James Foundation encompassing West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, the West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.

To find out more about the scholarship and make a gift to the fund, please visit:
or call 01243 818284.