Richard Holder (left) and Bill Beaumont (right).

This Sunday, we’ll all be cheering on my good friend Richard Holder, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) three years ago, and his cycling partner Bill Beaumont as they embark on a 45-mile tandem ride for MS Society. Once we’ve waved them and the other 50 cyclists off from the Terrace Playing Fields in Sherborne, we’ll head to Poundbury Gardens where they’ll be stopping for some lunch at The Engine Room.

This huge feat comes as no surprise to me, Rich has always challenged himself, having been a fine rugby player and recently taking up wheelchair rugby, and I know he’s been training incredibly hard for this – a true inspiration!

Good luck to all cyclists taking part on Sunday, and we look forward to welcoming you!



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A haul of boxes containing thousands of baubles and Christmas ornaments are currently being delivered across all three centres in preparation for our much-anticipated and award-winning Christmas displays. With decorating ready to commence in the next couple of weeks, it won’t be long until gardeners of all ages will feel the Christmas spirit as they wander through the meandering displays, twinkling lights and feast on festive food and drink.

October will also see The Apple Tree Farm Shop host a traditional German-inspired market, which will be filled with festive food and drink supplied by local producers including Lyme Bay Winery, Perry’s Cider, Bramley and Gage, Tom’s Pies, Hotch Potch and The Bay Tree.

Christmas display open evenings:

Poundbury Gardens, Dorchester – Wednesday 4 October from 7:30pm

Brimsmore Gardens, Yeovil – Wednesday 11 October from 7:30pm

Castle Gardens, Sherborne – Thursday 19 October from 7:30pm



If you’re looking for some cheese board inspiration, or fancy trying some new chutney and cracker combinations then this is an event not to be missed. The Apple Tree Farm Shop’s manager, Kate will host a Cheese Board Discovery on Thursday 21 September from 11am – 12pm. Tasting local award-winning cheeses, chutneys, crackers and wine is very much encouraged while Kate delves a little deeper into the making process and flavour profiles.

Tickets are £5 per person and can be purchased in The Apple Tree Restaurant by calling 01935 403158 or emailing atteam@thegardensgroup.co.uk.


Autumn is coming!

Autumn leaves

As the most traditional planting season, autumn is a busy time in the garden with a beautiful array of plants to get established before the winter chill truly sets in. Most autumn gardening is about planning for the year ahead, and thanks to a good summer, the soil will still be warm and usually moist, perfect for giving plants the chance to grow roots, which should see them through winter and right up to spring.

This month will see a wide range of ornamental and fruit trees available as well as bush fruit, such as Black, White and Redcurrants, Gooseberries, Raspberries and Figs.

Mid-autumn will see a wonderful selection of Roses available, as their quality tends to be better late October compared to any other time of year. They might look like a thorny collection of twigs when you buy them, but be patient, soon the garden will be bursting with leaves, flowers and roots.

So, don’t let the cooler weather put you off, get out into the garden now so you can reap the rewards next spring.



Julie Haylock

Award-winning garden designer and good friend of The Gardens Group, Julie Haylock from Yeovil-based Sandhurst Garden Design, will host a Border Design and Planting Workshop at Castle Gardens in Sherborne on Wednesday 6 September from 10am – 3pm. After her recent win at Taunton Flower Show with her Homeward Bound garden, we’re incredibly excited to listen to Julie’s insights into the design process for gardeners of all abilities, while discovering her tricks of the trade. Julie will be offering expert advice on how to implement these new skills in any gardens, while taking questions from attendees throughout the day.

Tickets are £75 per person, which includes lunch in The Walled Garden Restaurant and can be purchased from Castle Gardens, or by calling 01935 814633. Space is limited, so advanced booking is essential.



We’re delighted to hear Tracey Sergeant from Hazelbury Bryan Gardening Club won a voucher for Castle Gardens with her vibrant Petunia at their annual flower show last week. Since starting the Flower Show Forum, we’ve wanted to identify ways to inspire more people to take an interest in gardening and keep the traditional flower show alive, so it’s always great to hear about the successes at local flower shows and seeing the fantastic plants the gardeners have worked hard to maintain.


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Mini beasts, creepy crawlies and slithery snakes took centre stage at this year’s Bugfest, the south west’s biggest bug event, which was held at Brimsmore Gardens on Tuesday. From cockroaches and scorpions to spiders and pythons, gardeners of all ages had the opportunity to hold these unusual and mysterious creatures.

Bugfest’s display of snakes, spiders and mini beasts is seriously impressive and not for the faint-hearted! We thoroughly enjoy putting on events like this, they’re a wonderful way to engage younger gardeners with these creatures in a fun atmosphere, which will not only make them less fearful of creepy crawlies, but also give them an insight into how their actions impact upon our wildlife’s survival.

For more information on what’s on at our gardens centres this summer, click here.