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Virtual visits to popular district gardens

Much-loved West Dean Gardens, on the outskirts of Chichester may be closed to the public at the moment, but it continues to be a source of ‘virtual’ inspiration in the current climate, whether it be the magnificient magnolias by the pergola or the delicate Snakeshead Fritillaries under the fruit trees around the walled garden.
Short films of head gardener Tom Brown sharing professional tips are shared on West Dean Garden’s social media channels – the first was about sowing salad leaves, and the next will be planting potatoes, and followers are encouraged to post the topics they want Tom to cover next on social media.
Daily posts of photos and films offer a glimpse to everyone of what has otherwise temporarily become a secret garden as it bursts into life this Spring.
This mean regular visitors do not miss out seeing the familiar River Lavant that runs through the Spring Gardens, or the glorious Nectarine House developing as well as seeing the swathes of daffodils.
Those who typically use the stunning gardens as creative inspiration, whether as visitors or as students to West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in the grounds, are continuing to draw and paint in response to the virtual images. This week a new West Dean Sketchbook Project has been launched to encourage people to post their own creative response to regular postings of images from the gardens.
This week’s photo of a beautiful fritillary can, for example, be the inspiration for a lino cut, a chequered patchwork, a charcoal drawing or abstract art.
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