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Gardeners’ Question Time at Poundbury Gardens

On Saturday 24 September the shop floor at Poundbury Gardens will become the stage for our very own Gardeners’ Question Time panel, in aid of Dorset and Wiltshire’s Children’s Hospice, Julia’s House. Our expert panel, which includes Lucy Simpson, manager of Poundbury Gardens, and Dr David Aplin from Kingston Maurward College, will be offering tips and advice while answering any gardening queries put to them. There will also be a charity raffle table throughout, with tickets available to purchase from 10am – 4pm.


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While judging gardens for the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Friendly Gardening Awards earlier in the year, we visited Southwell Smiley Faces Pre-School in Portland to judge its Out of School Club’s entry. The work that Jenny Whyton and her team have done is fantastic, creating not only a safe environment for children to learn, grow and garden, but also a haven for wildlife, so much so that it scooped them first place in the Community Garden category.

This wonderful outdoor classroom, which is also home to many bees, bugs, butterflies and birds, is due to be sold to housing developers, which means that all of the wonderful work that Jenny and the children have carried out will be dug up and replaced by houses. Jenny is doing all she can to try and retain this plot, despite the development work planned, but needs as much support as possible to show how valuable this space is, not only for the children’s learning but also to the wildlife thriving in it.

To show your support for this cause, you can complete the survey here and the results will then be presented to the local council.


Iwerne Minster

Iwerne Minster Produce and Horticultural Association’s Summer Show.

Following the momentum gained at our inaugural Flower Show Forum back in March, many gardening clubs and horticultural societies from Dorset, Somerset and beyond are currently reviewing the success of this year’s flower and horticultural show calendar, ready for the second Flower Show Forum at Castle Gardens on Thursday 15 September.

So many positives came out of our first forum, so we are really looking forward to hearing how the advice given by our panel has been implemented by these clubs and societies. It will be a really valuable exercise to review what worked and what didn’t, as we gather to evaluate and reassess the barriers that shows are still coming up against. These discussion points will additionally help to shape the topics for the next forum, which is scheduled for March 2017.

We will also be announcing an exciting new initiative, which we’ve been working on, as we continue in our efforts to help grow membership of gardening clubs and increase entries into shows.

The Flower Show Forum is free to attend and will be held in The Butterfly House at Castle Gardens in Sherborne from 7pm – 8:30pm, with the doors opening at 6:30pm for light refreshments.


It’s time to dig out those glad rags and practice your moves for an evening of dinner and dancing on Saturday 10 September in The Butterfly House at Castle Gardens. In aid of Fortuneswell Cancer Trust, there will be live music from 50s, 60s and 70s covers band, Wi;; Geeson and Louisa Glanville, plus Guitarist on Wheels, and The Walled Garden Restaurant will serve up a delicious supper.

Tickets are available from Castle Gardens and cost £10 each, which includes food. Please feel free to bring your own wine and dance the night away.


Brave the Shave

On Saturday 20 August, Helen Green from Yeovil will be letting her children shave her hair off at Brimsmore Gardens in aid of Macmillan. Helen has already exceeded her target of £350 and is hoping to raise more tomorrow as people gather to watch her Brave the Shave!

There will be cake on sale from 3pm and Helen will be having her hair shaved off at 3:30pm. We would like to wish Helen the best of luck in this courageous effort to raise awareness and funds for such a wonderful cause.

For more information and to make a donation, please visit bravetheshave.org.uk/shavers/helen-green.



Bug Hotel

From big tops and fancy dress to creepy crawlies and making miniature gardens, we’ve got plenty of free activities to keep the whole family entertained during the summer holidays. Whether it’s getting better acquainted with mini beasts, learning circus skills or creating a garden inside a container, everyone is welcome to join in with the fun!


FREE summer events at The Gardens Group

Children’s ‘Circus of the Sun’ Summer Fancy Dress Party – Friday 12 August, 2pm-4pm at all three garden centres.

Summer BBQ – Saturday 13 August, 11am – 5pm at The Apple Tree Restaurant at Brimsmore Gardens.

Miniature Garden Workshop – Saturday 20 August, 11am-12pm & 2pm-3pm at Castle Gardens.

Bugfest – Saturday 20 August, 2pm-5pm at Brimsmore Gardens.




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We have been inundated with great news over the past few weeks, with award after award being announced. These achievements always give us a real boost and represent a huge combined effort from the whole team, across all three centres.

Garden Centre Association – Wales and West

Brimsmore Gardens:

First place in the Environmental Opportunities category


Garden Centre Association – South Thames

Poundbury Gardens:

Fifth place in the restaurant awards

Castle Gardens:

Second place in Most Improved category

Third place in Customer Service category

Fourth place in Community and Environment category

Fifth place in Outdoor Living category

Overall fifth in the region (which is the largest in the GCA)


Taste of the West Hospitality and Retail Awards 2016

The Apple Tree Restaurant – Gold (third year in a row)

The Apple Tree Farm Shop – Gold (fourth year in a row)

The Engine Room Restaurant – Silver


A big well done to the whole team!