Programme Forum 2017 – 23rd- 24th SeptemberBack to the grapevine

 West Dean Walled Garden      Glass and Glasshouses

Saturday 23rd September         Booking form – West Dean 2017 PDF

9.00      Registration and coffee

10.00    Welcome followed by our speakers and hosts:

  • Sarah Wain & Jim Buckland – Head Gardeners of West Dean Gardens for over 25 years
  • Simon Harrison – Victorian Glasshouse Company
  • Chris Sawyer -Director at Alitex
  • Ben Pope– head gardener of private estate with restored walled garden near Petersfield, Hants

There will be a coffee break during the talks

1.00 – 2.00     Lunch

2.00    Tours of the Walled Kitchen Gardens with Sarah and Jim

Ending with tea and time for discussion.

16.30  End of the first day

In addition to the main Forum, delegates will be able walk around West Dean’s extensive pleasure gardens, before a reception that will be held in the Oak Hall of West Dean House. There will be a small additional cost (see below)

Sunday 24th September

9.30     Meet at West Dean to depart in cars for visits to other Walled Gardens

16.00   Provisional finish time for the Forum

Final details for the gardens we are visiting will follow, all will be within easy driving distance of West Dean. We currently plan to travel first to Fittleworth House, then on to Whithurst Park, Kirdford, ending at Petworth to visit the private Walled Gardens.

Garden entrance, tours, coffee and lunch will be included during the day, car shares can be organised and will start and end at West Dean.

Additional Plans

Friday 22nd September (afternoon)

Alitex are relatively close to West Dean, we have been invited to visit their factory at Torberry Farm, South Harting. We will meet there for a tour around 1pm, to have enough time. We will send map and confirm times nearer the date.

Alitex have been strong supporters of WKGN for many years and we are really pleased to have the opportunity to see the factory and discover the history and processes behind their glasshouses.

Saturday 23rd September (evening)

We have arranged a Reception in the beautiful Oak Hall of West Dean House on the evening of the 23rd, from 6-8pm. The cost is in addition to the Forum, £15 per person. We will need to confirm numbers, so if you’d like to attend please get in touch.


There is some accommodation at West Dean College if you are interested in staying there, please contact the College direct:

Call 01243 818295, to speak to Zoe Lane, bookings manager. Let her know that you are attending the Forum.

There are plenty of options locally for B&B or hotels – Let us know where you’re staying and if you’d like to, we can put you in touch with other attendees at the same hotels or nearby

Tourist Information Chichester:

Booking form – West Dean 2017 PDF



Dear Lucy, Susan and Mike,

I’d just like to say a really heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to all three of you: and not just for arranging such glorious weather, either.

The Forum this last weekend was absolutely marvellous in every respect. I really had a great time and I hope that you (despite the effort you were still having to put in) and all the other attendees had an equally enjoyable weekend. I’m sure that the ‘real’ gardeners were able to take away so much useful and practical advice. For me, it’s added immensely to my knowledge and understanding of Kitchen Gardens. I’m now even in greater awe of what was achieved in them, and how, than I was before.

Thanks, too, to our speakers and the various hosts, all of whom made us so welcome.

Sarah and Jim need some special thanks; for what they did for us at the weekend and, just as importantly, what they’ve done for West Dean. It was the first time I’d visited the gardens and they did not disappoint. I agree with Peter Thoday, West Dean Gardens are, “head and shoulders” above everywhere else I’ve visited (though I’ve a way to go to match Susan’s tally).

And speaking of Peter, it is 12 months since some of you were at West Dean with him to celebrate their 25th Anniversary.

So, thanks again and, here’s to WKGN Forum 2018!

Very best wishes,

Rob Willetts.


From: John Lawson
Sent: 24 September 2017 20:29
To: Lucy Pitman
Subject: Re: WKGN Forum

Dear Lucy
Fab weekend as always, such hard work for you!
Thank you – just fab.

Ps. Where to now?!!


From: Lorraine Small
Sent: 25 September 2017 10:38
To: ‘Lucy Pitman’
Subject: RE: WKGN Forum

Dear Lucy,

James and I would like to personally thank you for organising this year’s Walled Garden Forum event.
We both appreciate the enormous amount of work that must have gone into organising the venues; the logistics; catering management; speakers; registration; sponsorship and the weather!!!
Obviously, it all paid off and we thoroughly enjoyed all of our visits and the visit to Petworth House was simply the icing on the cake!!
I’ve linked a very informative article about Lady Egremont and Petworth House from the Financial Times

Our very Best Wishes
James & Lorraine


From: Sharp, Jonathan
Sent: 25 September 2017 09:41
Subject: Walled garden weekend

Hi Lucy,

I just wanted to say thank you so much for a great weekend. It was great to share my passion with so many people, and what a fantastic turn out it was!

From start to finish I had a great time and the places we visited were all equally spectacular.

I hope this email finds you well and I trust you also enjoyed yourself and managed to take in the wonder of it all?!

Do keep in touch and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Many thanks again for all your hard work and also the other organisers (sadly I cannot remember their names!) do feel free to pass on this message to them.

All the best

Jonathan Sharp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.