Ken Dolbear

Picture credit: Ken Dolbear, MBE

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Friendly Gardening Competition is once again open for entries, and this year a brand-new award for innovation is being introduced. The idea behind this new category is to encourage more people to think about alternative ways to help wildlife, even if they have limited outdoor space or aren’t gardening experts. Along with pollinating plants, habitats and corridors, judges will have an eye out for recycled and upcycled materials being used to help create wildlife havens, while reducing waste.

Wildlife friendly gardeners can enter for free online at www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk. Entry closes on Friday 25 May and an awards ceremony will be held on Thursday 26 July at Castle Gardens.



We take great pride in having options for everyone at our garden centres, even those with limited or no outdoor space, who want to enjoy plants and engage with their environment. That’s why our houseplant department is so important and has now undergone a bit of a revamp.

Our newly appointed houseplant department manager, Kyla Foster-Shaw has expanded our range of houseplants to include new cacti, succulents, foliage plants and flowering varieties. She has also brought a more modern feel to our displays, showing the plants in ways that can easily be translated into the home.

Houseplants are a great route into embracing horticulture, so we really hope the people who are discovering the joys and health benefits of these plants today will become the avid gardeners of tomorrow.


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We have teamed up with Winstone’s Bookshop in Sherborne to welcome New York Times bestselling author, Natasha Solomons to Castle Gardens on Thursday 3 May at 7pm. Solomons will be celebrating the launch of her new book House of Gold in The Butterfly House with a talk, followed by a book signing. There’s even a spot of butterfly hunting in the novel, making it very relevant.

Tickets cost £2 per person, this is redeemable against the book, which can be purchased from Winstone’s ‘pop-up’ Bookshop on the night. Advanced booking is essential, and tickets can be purchased from Winstone’s Bookshop on Cheap Street, Sherborne and Castle Gardens on New Road in Sherborne. Doors open at 6:30pm.


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There is a new and local soil enricher on the scene. Bloomin’ Amazing is a new, peat-free and plant-based soil enricher, which we are proudly stocking in all three of our garden centres.

The soil enricher is a by-product of a renewable energy venture located near our Poundbury garden centre. The project is a collaboration between the Duchy of Cornwall and local farmers that is going to supply gas to 4,500 local homes during winter and 56,000 in summer.

It is a 3 in 1 gardening product which conditions the soil, helps supress weeds and provides valuable nutrition. I’ve already been using it alongside other soil improvers in our garden and on projects elsewhere, and it’s going to be a very useful addition.


Easter opening hours

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Lesley Waters, TV chef and owner of Lesley Waters Cookery School in Halstock, is bringing two pop-up cookery demonstrations to Poundbury Gardens on Thursday 10 May. Taking inspiration from local and seasonal produce, Lesley will cook three delicious courses, which seasoned cooks and beginners alike will be able to taste and try at home with the recipes provided.

The pop-up cookery demos will take place at the event space on the first floor of the garden centre, from 10:30am – 12:30pm and then 2:30pm – 4:30pm. Tickets cost £30 per person and are available online at http://www.lesleywaters.com.


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Pupils at Damers First School have this week braved the cold weather to plant out some onion sets in their new allotment. With the help of some volunteers from Poundbury and Casterbridge Rotary, as well as Lisa from Poundbury Gardens, who is propagating some potato seeds before they are planted in the allotment, the pupils are hoping to grow an abundance of vegetables for their Big Soup event at the end of the summer term. As well as a communal plot, where each year group can forage for their soup recipe, each pupil will also have a space to grow and tend to their very own plant.


We wish these budding growers the best of luck and look forward to seeing the plants grow and flourish.