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Archive for May, 2013

This summer, The Engine Room is going to be a hive of activity, kicking off with an Art exhibition of local painters on the 10 June. The arty theme is picked up again for the late summer Bank Holliday weekend with The Big Picture, a huge Renoir painting project, where people will be able to sign up to add their part of the painting, the finished picture will be unveiled on 26 August.

Things will be getting rather musical on the evening of 24 August as we welcome Bare Bones, an acoustic trio from Bridgewater who play a variety of classic and modern cover tracks. The first one hour set will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets for this event can be purchased from The Engine Room restaurant and are £17 per person, which includes a buffet and a glass of Pimms.

For the foodies amongst you, we will be at Queen Mother Square in Poundbury for the Dorset 2013 Food Festival on 6-7 July. We’ll be giving out free vouchers for The Engine Room restaurant to visitors who have one of our Poundbury summer events fliers (you can print one here or collect from the garden centre). Our new cookshop will be hosting Thai cooking lessons on 7 June and 12 July, where people can come and learn how to cook authentic Thai food.

Mike

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This week we have seen the latest figures about the fact that 60% of British wildlife species have declined in the last 50 years with one in ten facing extinction. There is a lot that we can do in our gardens to offer wildlife an inviting and safe habitat to thrive in, and go some way to protect the vulnerable species. What’s more certain wildlife can help us keep more harmful creatures at bay, as ladybirds eat aphids, and slow worms, frogs, toads, hedgehogs and birds like to eat slugs and snails among other garden pests.

As we’ve mentioned before log piles and a little bit of mess in your garden provides the perfect place for hedgehogs to nest and enjoy a variety of bugs and beetles, as well as slugs and snails. Frogs are almost totally dependent on garden ponds; even a bowl of water will encourage them into your garden. Just a word of warning though, if you want to create a garden pond, make sure it’s in a sunny spot and the sides are gently sloped so that birds can bathe and drink, amphibians can spawn and hedgehogs can escape if they happen to fall in.

If everyone did a little bit we could all make a huge difference to our wildlife and maintain the balance of nature. You don’t even need a large space to create a wildlife haven. Hanging a variety of seeds from bird feeders from window ledges or fences will mean that birds always have a safe place to stock up which will protect them from cats and other predators.

We provide many events throughout the year for families to come and learn about protecting wildlife in the garden.

Entries for Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition 2013 which we are sponsoring close today and we will be holding the awards at Castle Gardens on 1 August 2013.

Mike

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Gluten Free Day

On Wednesday around 40 people attended our Gluten Free Day which was hosted by The Apple Tree Farm Shop at Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil. The event is something that we do every year to raise awareness of Coeliac UK’s ‘Gut Feeling Week’.

Visitors were welcomed for a morning of free nutritional advice and tips from Coeliac UK’s Dorchester group. There were plenty of gluten free tasters to go round, including a new chocolate orange cake from G-Free. What’s more The Apple Tree Restaurant served a gluten free menu all day, the apple crumble was a particular favourite, with only crumbs to spare at the end of it. The Farm Shop was buzzing as people took advantage of the 10% discount on all of our gluten free products and stocked up.

It’s safe to say that the event was a roaring success, everyone left with a new insight into eating a healthy, delicious and varied gluten free diet, as well as taking away some useful tips from Adam on adding a bit of spring colour to the garden.

For more information on joining The Apple Tree Farm Shop’s gluten free mailing list and to keep up-to-date with all of its events throughout the year, please contact Cath Collins at The Apple Tree Farm Shop on 01935 426596 or email at.farmshop@btconnect.com.

Mike

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Summer is just around the corner, and we’ve got a whole host of events, offers and free talks lined up this year.

Gardeners of all ages are invited to Hedgehog Day on 15 June, expect to see hedgehogs, (real ones), take part in drawing competitions and listen to gardener’s tips and advice on protecting the prickly little fellows. There will be a Mad Hatters tea party on 16 August, afternoon tea with Sherborne Town Band on 21 July, and open air theatre company, Illyria, will be performing, ‘Babe – The Sheep Pig’ on 29 June, and ‘As You Like It’ on 17 July, tickets are available from Castle Gardens.

The Butterfly House will be the perfect back drop for exhibitions from the Horsington Group Art, from 24 – 30 June and the South West Society Botanical Artists on 4 – 16 July.

August is all about wildlife and there’ll be many talks on making your garden a wildlife haven and courses for children. Advanced bookings are recommended for children to come and make an insect hotel on 22 August and then moth traps on 28 and 29 August. Awards for the most wildlife friendly garden will be handed out on 1 August at the Wildlife Gardening Awards, with a talk from wildlife gardening pioneer, Bob Gibbons.

And that’s just Castle Gardens; watch this space for events from Poundbury and Brimsmore!

Mike

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