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Archive for July, 2015

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After months of judging, Dorset’s most wildlife friendly gardens were announced at Castle Gardens last night. This year 41 keen gardeners entered including schools, museums and individuals from right across the county.

The Judges, which included Dorset Wildlife Trust president, Tony Bates MBE, have been visiting gardens around Dorset since May and it is safe to say the bar continues to be raised. This year extra marks were given to gardeners who provide a particularly inviting haven for pollinating insects.

Before the awards were announced, Dr David Aplin, director of Botanical Values, gave a fascinating talk about the weird and wonderful world of plants that partner with other organisms, including bacteria and fungi.

It’s fantastic to see so many gardeners taking wildlife into consideration and creating some truly inspiring wildlife havens.

Mike

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Illyria returns to Castle Gardens for the final time this summer with a humorous adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew on Tuesday 4 August.

Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7:30pm start and all you need is a picnic, blanket, chair and a playful sense of humour to enjoy the critically-acclaimed outdoor theatre company performing under the stars.

Tickets

Adults:           £15.00

Children:        £5.00

(4 – 12 years, suitable for all ages 8+)

Concessions:  £12.50

Tickets are available at Castle Gardens, New Road, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 5NR or online www.illyria.uk.com

Mike

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5 year old Alfie Greenslade winner of the Brimsmore Chilli Trail

5 year old Alfie Greenslade winner of the Brimsmore Chilli Trail

During Brimsmore Gardens’ Chilli Pepper Festival earlier in the month, five year old Alfie Greenslade won the Hot Chilli Trail.

It seems that Alfie is quite the gardener and really knows his stuff when it comes to growing fruit and veg, with a crop of spring onions and strawberries of his own. We were also delighted to hear that Alfie is a bee keeper and makes his very own honey called Alfie G’s Bees. Maybe it’ll make an appearance on our Farm Shop shelves one day!!

Alfie was presented with a hamper from The Apple Tree, which was full of chilli products, such as crisps and jam, chilli chocolate, condiments, nuts and pickles.

We also included some chilli seeds for Alfie to grow next spring!

Mike

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Back in March we supplied Damers First School in Dorchester, Sherborne Primary School and Huish Primary School in Yeovil with pre-potted pepper plants to grow in their classrooms for our Young Grower of the Year competition. All pupils were also invited to collect seeds and growing kits from our garden centres to have a go at home.

Throughout July, we’ve re-visited the schools to see how they got on and have awarded prizes for the best pepper plants. It was fantastic to see so many entries into the competition and a pleasure to judge them, as it was immediately apparent how much effort, time and interest the pupils had invested into nurturing their plants. It was very difficult to choose a winner for each category, as each plant had its own qualities, but each and every young grower should definitely give themselves a big pat on the back for their fantastic efforts.

We are already looking forward to next year’s competition and hope the children enjoy eating their home-grown peppers over the summer holidays.

Mike

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Honey bee by Ken Dolbear MBE

Honey bee by Ken Dolbear MBE

On Thursday 30 July Dorset’s most wildlife friendly gardens will be celebrated at the Dorset Wildlife Trust Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition Awards Ceremony, being held at Castle Gardens from 6:30pm. As well as championing the best gardens in each category throughout the county, we are very lucky to have guest speaker Dr David Aplin, director at Botanical Values, who will talk about how plants don’t grow in isolation and are in fact reliant on other organisms, such as fungi, insects and other plants, to thrive.

There will be light refreshments in The Walled Garden from 6:30pm before the awards are announced from 7pm. Tickets are £5 each and are available at all of our garden centres and from Briony Baxter on 01305 264620 or at BBaxter@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Mike

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Following entries from 180 allotments, 89 homes in Quarr Lane Park and 120 businesses, including pubs and restaurants, this year’s Sherborne in Bloom winners were announced on Tuesday 14 July. More than 100 keen gardeners of all ages, including local residents and business owners, attended the Sherborne in Bloom Growing for Gold Presentation Ceremony in the Walled Garden at Castle Gardens, keen to hear the results of their green-fingered efforts.

As sponsors it was wonderful to see such a fantastic turn out, in spite of the classic English summer drizzle. Cllr Mr Dominic Ellis was in attendance and Tim Lethaby, editor of Blackmore Vale Magazine, handed out the certificates and trophies. The Sherborne in Bloom team, who all give their time voluntarily for this fantastic initiative, include Dru Gurysinski, Mary Brodie, Paul Ferdinand, Jane Smith and Gillian Turner, and they all do a wonderful job to encourage people to enhance the town with their planting. I really hope that local residents and businesses continue to get behind Sherborne in Bloom and keep the town looking beautiful for residents and visitors alike.

Mike

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The temperature was rising at The Apple Tree Restaurant last night, with students from Yeovil College taking over the kitchen to serve up a three course chilli-themed feast for their friends and families. With our Chilli Pepper Festival in full swing, we were very excited to welcome the team to Brimsmore Gardens and watch them run the show, from seating guests and handling orders, right through to cleaning down at the end of the shift.

We even supplied the students with their chilli plants back in March, which they’ve been nurturing ever since, so it was a real pleasure to see the chillies return and get cooked up so creatively. Students with VRQ2 Professional Cookery qualifications designed the menu and faced the heat in the kitchen, working alongside a front of house team made up of students from Level 1-3 courses.

Chillies featured across their menu, keeping taste buds tingling all night. Their dishes included chilli and lime crab cakes, homemade beef burgers and spicy potato wedges with Chilli Salsa and even a Chocolate Chilli Tart with marinated minty strawberries and whipped cream to finish.

It was a superb effort all round and we wish the students the very best of luck for the future.

Mike

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