Popular gardens in the Chichester district are working hard to safely re-open this month.
West Deans Gardens say they are absolutely delighted to announce that from June 26, the gardens will be open again, and tickets are available to book online with pre-booking essential.
A spokesman said: “Your health and safety is our priority, so things may be a little different for a while and we hope our FAQs will answer your questions.”
Some key information you may want to know:
- Tickets are available online. It is essential that you book in advance, you will need to choose an arrival time.
- From June 26, the gardens will be are open seven days a week, 10.30am – 5pm (open to friends only June 22-25).
- If you are a gardens/college friend, you must still pre-book your arrival time.
- Free entry to NHS workers with a valid form of ID and one adult. You must still pre-book your visit online and show your ID on arrival.
- To adhere to government guidelines and social distancing rules, they are limiting the number of visitors each day.
- Toilet facilities will be available and a stringent cleaning regime is in place.
- The restaurant won’t be open yet, but gardener’s cottage is available for light takeaways and kiosk outlets will be situated in the gardens.
- When you arrive at the main gardens entrance, staff will direct you to a space.
- To allow for social distancing, entrance to the gardens will not be through the shop. Staff will direct you where to go when you arrive.
Head Gardener, Tom said: “It’s lovely to think that people will be returning to West Dean Gardens to enjoy the open, green space and the tranquillity and atmosphere of our much loved garden.
“Since lockdown, due to safety reasons, we have had one member of staff in the gardens each day with the purpose of maintaining and preserving our valuable glasshouse collections.
“This translates to potting on plants, watering (in very warm conditions!) and managing pests and diseases to ensure that we have a group of plants that will be ready for displays in the future.
“March, April, May and June are critical months in a garden and the very difficult decision was taken to donate all of our annual seedlings and cuttings to charity and cancel our 2020 summer displays in the light of the pandemic.
“As you wander around the walled gardens, you will see our collections are planted, ready for us to take cuttings in the summer for our 2021 displays. We are establishing our new, perennial crops in the Kitchen Garden such as asparagus, soft fruit and herbs but otherwise we’ve had to be minimal in these areas due to a lack of manpower at a critical time.”