Grow With the Pros: Tom Brown

Time for an extra little bonus ‘Grow With the Pros’ to end 2021 with, as earlier this year I was lucky to get a very brief Q&A with Tom Brown, Head Gardener at West Dean Gardens in West Sussex.

Tom has worked in horticulture for 25 years and has been in his current role at West Dean for the last two. Away from the day job, he is also very busy as a garden writer – including penning a column with the Telegraph – a lecturer, and a floral show judge for the RHS.

Onions growing in the kitchen garden ©West Dean Gardens

The Walled Kitchen Garden at West Dean grows a wide range of plants and features 13 impressive Victorian glasshouses. The garden itself has a classic Victorian design, with four central beds created by two paths and borders situated along the walls. It produces an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and flowers for cutting.

Tom was generous enough to answer a few brief questions, to help provide some advice and inspiration for other growers to use on their own gardens or allotments.

Q. What is the best bit of advice you ever discovered about growing? 

Tom: Establishment is key, water well for the first few weeks.

Q: What more unusual crop would you encourage people to grow, and why? 

Tom: Try sweet potatoes and ginger, they’re easier than you think.

Q: Is there a garden/grower that you find inspiring and would encourage others to check out? 

Tom: Nigel Dunnet’s style of naturalistic planting is well worth checking out.

Remember to “water well” to ensure plants establish

For more inspiration and advice from expert growers of vegetables, fruit, herbs, and also flowers, check out some of the other articles in my Grow With the Pros series.

(Blog Header image ©West Dean Gardens)

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