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Archive for December, 2014

Louise's winning team, courtesy of The Greatest Christmas Awards Garden Trade Extra

Louise’s winning team, courtesy of The Greatest Christmas Awards Garden Trade Extra

On Thursday we got the fantastic news that Castle Gardens in Sherborne won the national Garden Centre Association Christmas Competition. With garden centres across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the running, we came out on top with our selection of Christmas trees, house and hardy plants, Christmas displays, restaurant and festive additions to the website. This is the fifth time in seven years that we have won the garden centre category and we could not be more pleased. Louise and the team work incredibly hard to make the Christmas displays come to life and look their absolute best, so it’s wonderful to have this recognised, especially when up against such impressive competition.

What a great way to end 2014 but rest assured that as we all take down our decorations in January, Louise and her dedicated team will be planning 2015’s displays.

Mike

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The Gardens Group - opening times Christmas and New Year

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The Gardens Group - NYE

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We are delighted to announce that The Engine Room Restaurant at Poundbury Gardens raised £300 for Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, when it opened its doors for a very special ladies night on Thursday 27 November. The restaurant was a hive of activity as our guests took a well-earned break from the pressures of Christmas unwinding with a glass of champagne, a manicure and an array of seasonal canapés. There is no doubt that this event was a huge success and has really got us all in the festive spirit.

The Engine Room will also be opening its doors on New Year’s Eve, so if you don’t have plans yet and would like to see our award-winning Christmas displays at their twinkly best, dance to live music until midnight and enjoy a rustic feast, please contact Jess Mitchell at jess@thegardensgroup.co.uk.

Mike

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As we start thinking about putting up the Christmas tree, ordering the turkey and stocking up on cheese, crackers and wine, we must spare a thought for wildlife. Hedgehogs, bees and birds don’t have the luxury of battening down the hatches and nipping to the green grocer for more Brussel sprouts when they’ve run out. This week, we’ve invited James Haldane from Dorset Wildlife Trust, to guest blog and remind us of what we can do in our gardens to provide welcoming and safe habitats this winter.

Mike

Last year’s The State of Nature report presented us with a problem. UK wildlife is struggling in a big way, with over half of our species in decline and even some that we face losing forever. Hedgehogs are in decline. Bees are in decline. Song thrushes are in decline. And so on, and so on. At first glance, this all seems to be rather overwhelming. Is there anything that we can do to help?

It is part of my job to realise that things really can change when lots of people all do the same thing – however small. With over 15 million gardens UK-wide, covering a larger area than all national nature reserves combined, it seems clear to me that there’s a possible solution. Maybe we can all do something extra for wildlife with whatever outside space is available to us.

Dorset Wildlife Trust is running a wildlife gardening campaign called Make Wildlife Welcome to encourage, what I’m starting to call, some domestic conservation across the county. We’re equipping our supporters with a fun and effective starter pack, including the fantastic The Wildlife Gardener book and easy-to-use, bee-friendly seedballs. In return, we’re asking for a monthly donation of £3 or more, which entitles each new supporter to full membership of Dorset Wildlife Trust. Funds raised are going towards our own conservation work, looking after some of Dorset’s most important habitats and wildlife-friendly places.

150 supporters have pledged their support so far, and we’d love you to join them. Visit our webpages to find out more about the campaign and to pledge your support.

James Haldane, Membership Manager at Dorset Wildlife Trust.

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