Meet the Gardeners

Husband and Wife Team – Jim Buckland & Sarah Wain

Jim Buckland, Gardens Manager

Jim manages the historic and listed 90 acre-West Dean Gardens. An Honours graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Jim has managed historic, public gardens in both Australia and the UK. He frequently lectures in the UK and is a regular contributor to magazines.

Sarah Wain, Gardens Supervisor

Sarah’s horticultural career began in Australia where she trained for three years and obtained a Diploma in Horticultural Science at Burnley Horticultural College, Melbourne.
Sarah worked for three years in the Temperate Department at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where her responsibilities included looking after the back-up collection for the Australian House.

Returning to Australia, Sarah worked as a manager for a local council nursery before taking up a post as Supervisor of the gardens at Burnley Horticultural College.

In 1987 Sarah returned to the UK with Jim Buckland, her husband and they worked together to establish gardens at Lockerly Hall, Hampshire. Since 1991 Sarah and Jim have worked at West Dean Gardens restoring the walled Kitchen Garden, including sixteen Victorian glasshouses and frames.


Over the past 21 years Jim and Sarah, with the support of a small permanent gardens team and volunteers have ensured that the 90 acres of grounds have undergone a bold redevelopment designed to bring the Nineteenth Century gardens into the Twenty-First Century.

Jim Buckland & Sarah Wain, photographed by Charlie Hopkinson. Jim Buckland & Sarah Wain, photographed by Charlie Hopkinson.

This huge undertaking has been acknowledged by the Royal Horticultural Society by awarding Jim Buckland the RSA Associate of Honour conferred to someone who has given distinguished service to horticulture in their professional working life.

In recognition of Sarah Wain’s contribution to the redevelopment project she has received two Awards. The Professional Gardeners’ Guild ‘Loyal and Outstanding Service Award’ in recognition of her dedication, drive and commitment to the highest horticultural standards “instrumental in raising the standard and profile of the West Dean Gardens in general, and of the restored Walled Kitchen Garden and Victorian Glasshouses in particular, to the point where they are now seen as being exemplary in their field.” Sarah also received ‘The Institute of Horticulture Award’ and is widely recognised as the superb grower of West Dean’s imaginative glasshouse crops including tomatoes, chillies and herbs.

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