Getting the gardens ship shape for the Design and Craft Fair at West Dean

West Dean gardens

It’s June and the Design and Craft Fair at West Dean beckons! Our newest event will take place under cover in the grounds and workshops of West Dean College from 20 – 22 June 2014.

The West Dean Design and Craft Fair will feature around 85 innovative makers and designers who will show and sell their work to the public. Alongside the Fair, visitors will be able to enjoy hands-on taster workshops and demonstrations in contemporary art and craft run by the College. Come along and see for yourself!

Naturally the gardens team are playing their bit by using their garden craft skills to hone the gardens into apple pie order for the big weekend. At this time of year it is easy to be swamped by the gazillion tasks that needed to have been completed yesterday so it's list time to make life easier and saner! All the jobs, down to the teeniest, are put onto paper and sorted into garden areas such as kitchen garden, borders and glasshouses, then prioritised; this really helps when working out how much labour might be required to complete them. Jobs that are considered tedious and humdrum zing along at a more rapid rate when more hands attack them and the huge sense of satisfaction on completion of said boring task is worth bottling for a dull, rainy day. Our work, particularly in the walled garden, is made up of a myriad of these small tasks so it’s always good to identify them all so that they can be crossed off the list on completion- anyway my memory is not up to the task of remembering much anymore, so paper and pen it is.

Last winter’s rain has created stunning growth on all plants in the garden from grass to trees so we hope that the newly planted bedding, tender perennials and dahlias will take off like rockets too. These groups of plants add colourful zipp in the established borders at West Dean and by emphasizing different colours each year the appearance of the borders is altered slightly. It works especially well on the hot border in the kitchen garden where reds, oranges and yellows fight it out.

I’m always looking for new contributors to the florists’ realm on the cutting borders, so this year I’ve paid particular attention to new varieties of dahlia. Hopefully the selection I’ve chosen will work well in the weekly creations of our florist volunteers who come to ‘play’ with our flowers from the cutting garden.

For more information about the event click here.

Tags: alitex, west dean, sarah wain, design and craft fair west dean