Category Archives: Gardens

NEW SUBSCRIPTION GARDEN PLANT SERVICE ON EXMOOR

GardeningBoxes.co.uk are a new company based on the edge of Exmoor providing subscription deliveries of garden plants. Customers can tailor the subscriptions to suit their outdoor space, with options to select plants for sun or shaded areas, and can pause and restart subscriptions at any time. The GardeningBox option is designed to provide high-quality repeating (perennial) planting for a bed 3m2 over the course of a year subscription, whilst the ContainerBox subscription comprises 3 deliveries of plants to provide year-round colour in a large (45cm) container.

Director Matt Healey says, “As a professional gardener for the past 20 years, friends told me that they struggled to select appropriate plants for their gardens and found it difficult to know how best to maintain them. We established GardeningBoxes to give people confidence and enjoyment in their gardens, by providing high-quality plant deliveries matched with easy-to-follow online advice, videos and articles which are free to subscribers. We are confident that we can provide excellent value to our customers and help them achieve a garden to be proud of.”

GardeningBox deliveries are free to UK addresses (excluding Highlands and Islands). The GardeningBox option is priced at £33 (monthly subscription), whilst the ContainerBox refreshes at £45 every four months. Gift options are also available. For more information visit the website at www.gardeningboxes.co.uk.

SOMERSET GARDENERS GROW SUPPORT FOR ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE

St Margaret’s Hospice was delighted to host a celebration event at Brympton House, near Yeovil, to thank the Somerset gardeners who kindly opened their gardens, allotments and farms this summer to raise vital funds totalling £16,600 for the hospice.

The use of the venue and gardens was kindly donated by the owners, and was enjoyed by this year’s participating gardeners along with the open garden volunteers who had supported them on their open days.

Each garden owner and volunteer received a thank you certificate, presented by Marisa Lovell-Fox, Head of Fundraising at St Margaret’s Hospice, who said: “We are humbled by the generosity of the garden owners in the Somerset and Sherborne community, who have so kindly allowed people to share their beautiful gardens, and enjoy tea and cake, while raising essential funds needed to keep our services free and accessible to local people. We have been overwhelmed by the donations received this season, which show an increase of £7,000 from the previous year.”

Susan Bickle, the scheme coordinator, added: “We had an amazing response to our Open Gardens season this year, with a variety of different visits available, from small courtyard gardens to large woodland and lakes, with allotments and farms in between. Unlike some of the national open gardens schemes, all of the donations raised from the St Margaret’s Hospice Open Gardens season are used to support local patients and families in Somerset and the Sherborne area of Dorset.

We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to take part in the 2019 season either to open their garden, allotment, orchard or farm, or to offer help as a garden volunteer. There are many ways to support the scheme, even if you are unable to open a garden, such as having a plant sale, serving refreshments at your local flower show, or having a scarecrow trail in your village. We are also seeking local businesses who would like to advertise in our 2019 Open Gardens brochure or donate a prize to the Open Gardens raffle.”

St Margaret’s Hospice is all about making each day count for their patients, families and carers – if you would like to be part of making this happen through the Open Gardens scheme, please contact Susan Bickle, Open Gardens and Fundraising Volunteer Coordinator, for more information on 01935 709182 or 07736 886145 or by email on susan.bickle@st-margarets-hospice.org.uk.

HESTERCOMBE ONE STEP CLOSER TO RESTORATION

The restoration of one of England’s most important historic gardens, the unique Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton in Somerset, is one step closer thanks to a £1.5 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).

The NHMF grant has enabled the Hestercombe Gardens Trust to acquire land totalling 320 acres, reuniting the world-class, Grade I registered landscape, gardens and buildings for future generations.

Now returned to its full size, what makes Hestercombe Gardens so important is that it combines four complete period gardens spanning four centuries of garden design.

The newly acquired land includes the site of a rare, early-seventeenth-century Water Garden which it is planned to restore together with other historic features within the park. Planted to its original design, Hestercombe’s Formal Garden is considered the finest example of the famous collaboration between garden designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Edwin Lutyens.

The purchase also allows for the possibility of extending the current contemporary art gallery in the house to include outside spaces for the display of art. This will affirm the Trust’s ambition to become a national Centre for Arts & Landscape.

Popular TV gardener Monty Don, who has filmed at the site several times, considers Hestercombe one of his very favourite gardens.

Hestercombe Gardens Trust chairman, Sir Andrew Burns KCMG, said: “This is a tremendous vote of confidence in Hestercombe and recognises Somerset’s leading heritage garden as a site of outstanding national importance. We are enormously grateful to the National Heritage Memorial Fund and our other funders for their most generous and timely assistance in securing the future of Hestercombe for public enjoyment.”

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of NHMF, said: “On a par with Stourhead, Castle Howard and Blenheim, Hestercombe is an exquisite landscape with such an important story to tell in the history of English garden design. This was a once in a generation opportunity to restore it in full and one that we at the National Heritage Memorial Fund felt had to be seized .”

The history of Hestercombe
The Hestercombe estate was sold to The Crown Estate by the Portman family in 1944. In 1961 The Crown clear-felled all the eighteenth-century designed landscape, parkland and woodland for its timber value. This process also drained the lakes and destroyed a number of garden buildings. The statuary from the Lutyens garden was sold off and the Georgian landscape and surrounding woodland were replanted as commercial forestry.

In 1953 Somerset County Council rented Hestercombe House from The Crown to provide a headquarters for Somerset County Fire Brigade. In 1973 Somerset County Council began the restoration of the Formal gardens designed by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, which was awarded a European Heritage Award, the council also purchased the house and formal gardens.

The total cost of acquiring the land, following the Crown Estate’s decision to sell off its agricultural holdings, together with a picturesque gatekeeper’s lodge, which was acquired separately, was £2.7 million. Substantial and generous partnership funding to complete the purchase was received from three private trusts and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Philip White MBE, Founder and Chief Executive, said that: “This had been a remarkable and possibly unique opportunity to put back together a nationally important historic landscape when so many others are broken up, which has been made possible thanks to the vision of Hestercombe’s trustees and its generous supporters.”

The Hestercombe Gardens Trust is very grateful to the leaders of both Somerset County Council, Cllr David Fothergill, and Taunton Deane Borough Council, Cllr John Williams, for their strong support and also to Taunton MP, Rebecca Pow, a long time champion of Hestercombe, who was able to promote the application at a national level.

WINTER WORK PLANNED AT ROTARY GARDENS IN BARNSTAPLE

Further improvements at Rotary Gardens in Pilton will continue over the winter months.

North Devon Council’s parks team will be replacing some of the shrub beds, adding more colour with new herbaceous planting and installing some more seating around the gardens for visitors to enjoy.

A number of low-quality trees will also be taken out to open up the views around the pond area and will be replaced with more suitable tree species elsewhere in the gardens. This is the latest in a series of improvements in the park, including a tree trail, interpretation boards and memorial plinth.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture with North Devon Council, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We like to let local residents know if we’re planning any tree work, so they don’t get alarmed. The trees we’re taking out are not of great value and aren’t suitable species for their setting. Those we take out will all be replaced with better specimens, more appropriate to the park and will much improve the look and diversity of the gardens in the future. I’m sure the extra seating will be appreciated, as it’s such a lovely space to sit and enjoy the views.”

Local ward member for Pilton, Councillor Mair Manuel, says: “We have been working together for some years on improving Rotary Gardens for the benefit of residents, visitors and community groups. The changes so far are very obvious and this additional work will further enhance the gardens, with the seating placed to take advantage of the tidying up that has been done, the new plantings and opening up of the views. All will add to the beauty of Rotary Gardens and confirm it as a great asset for the community of Pilton.”

Stay up to date with news and events from the council’s parks team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/northdevoncouncil) or follow @ndevoncouncil on Twitter.

BECOME AN ALLOTMENT GRADUATE AT RHS GARDEN ROSEMOOR

RHS Garden Rosemoor, in Great Torrington, is once again looking for ten keen gardeners to take part in their informative and practical allotment course in 2019.

Starting in February, the successful candidates will receive expert RHS tuition, have their own plot to tend, and take away home-grown harvests. They will receive regular allotment master classes and weekly access to their plots, all in the picturesque setting of RHS Garden Rosemoor.

Pete Adams, course leader at RHS Garden Rosemoor, said: “Our allotment course has grown from strength to strength over the past four years, and once again we are excited to welcome new novice vegetable growers to join us to learn from our expert team. We offer brilliant facilities, all the equipment and the know-how for a successful year of vegetable growing. So why not apply to join us for the 2019 course!”

The course, which attracts a small fee (to cover safety boots and a contribution towards materials) is open to everyone and the 2018 intake came from a great variety of backgrounds and across all age groups but they all have one thing in common – the passion for and a willingness to learn the basic principles of growing your own vegetables. The hope is to see a similar diverse group of people apply this year too.

Comments from previous graduates:

“Thank you Pete, it’s been a blast! I’ve had so much fun and learnt lots” – Julie

“What a wonderful experience. Thank you Peter for all your hard work and advice. This opportunity to learn gardening skills is so valuable” – Dan

“Thanks Pete. Working the allotment has made me realise that with the right knowledge and well worked soil I can grow great veg. I’ve found the experience just so rewarding and great fun with great people.” – Steve

The course will start in February 2019 and run through to the end of the year. Applications close on 26 November 2018. To apply, please write to Curator Jon Webster with a brief personal background (approx. 50 words), stating why you would like a beginner’s vegetable plot at Rosemoor (approx. 50 words), and indicating what you will do with your new knowledge (approx. 100 words) and letting us know how or where you found out about the course:

  • By post: Jon Webster, RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington Devon EX38 8PH.
  • By email: jonathanwebster@rhs.org.uk.

For further information please visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor

ONLY RHS SHOW IN SOUTH WEST RETURNS BIGGER AND BETTER

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has a long-standing reputation with its flower shows such as RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court, Chatsworth and Tatton Park. Now the altogether different and more relaxing experience of the Garden Flower Show comes back to Rosemoor in Devon.

For three days, 17-19 August, RHS Garden Rosemoor in Torrington, Devon will host its second Garden Flower Show, sponsored by Atkins Ferrie Wealth Management. Following visitor feedback, this year the Rosemoor team have worked hard to bring you an even bigger and better show featuring increased flower power. Key changes include a new floral display trail, The British Flower Bus, flower arranging demonstrations, more stalls, more specialist talks and all within 65 acres of stunning grounds.

Rosemoor is located in a sheltered valley in Devon and, unlike traditional temporary flower shows, it has permanent show and model gardens with amazing planting displays like its iconic Hot Garden and Long Borders, water features, and wonderful Fruit and Vegetable Gardens to provide inspiration for everyone no matter how large or small their garden is.

Brand New for 2018

  • Floral Display Trail. Some of North Devon’s finest flower clubs have designed flower displays in five of the garden shelters that all have a ‘Tales of Beatrix Potter’ theme.
  • Jonathan Moseley’s British Flower Bus will be at the show promoting British Flowers.
  • Flower Arranging Demonstrations. The five flower clubs as well as Jonathan Moseley will be giving up to four Flower Arranging Demonstrations each day of the show.
  • Food and drink to tempt you including a new banquet style food hall.

Other Show Highlights

  • Increased number of nurseries and trade stands.
  • More talks from specialist nurseries as well as a ‘Question Time’ with Rosemoor’s garden team.
  • The Flower Show Breakfast, hosted by the Garden Curator and his team of gardeners. This very popular event is open to anyone, includes a delicious hot breakfast hosted by the Rosemoor Garden Team, gives guaranteed on-site parking, and exclusive early access to the show on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 August. Breakfast tickets need to be booked online in advance.
  • A number of other stands including RHS Advisory with Plant Finder, Devon Plant Heritage, Bicton College, The Animal & Plant Health agency and WFGA (providing information on working and retraining as a gardener) will also be at this year’s show.
  • Why not relax by the lake whilst listening to delightful music and sipping on a Pimms’ or Rosemoor’s very own Gin. There will be acoustic minstrels ambling through the showground as well.
  • The Rosemoor Plant Centre & Gift Shop will also be fully stocked with wonderful plants, gifts, toys, gardening tools and accessories or mementos of your visit.
  • Family friendly activities such as circus skills in one of the children’s play areas or you can follow the Jurassic Discovery Garden Trail… which may have a few (large) surprises along the way!
  • Free park and ride shuttle from two locations in Great Torrington: Torrington Rugby Club, EX38 7BT and South Street Car Park, EX38 8AE.

Rosemoor’s second Garden Flower Show promises to be a grand day out for everyone.

Normal garden admission applies, which is free for RHS Members. Please visit www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/rosemoor/RHS-Garden-Rosemoor-Flower-Show or call 01805 626810 for more details.

 

FORTHCOMING FIVE-WEEK ROSE FESTIVAL AT ROSEMOOR

From 16 June to 22 July, RHS Garden Rosemoor will host a five-week-long Rose Festival: a breathtaking showcase of colours and scents set against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful RHS Gardens, bordered by acres of stunning woodlands. Swathes of scented blooms, floral workshops and unusual cultivars on sale make this a must-see for Devon visitors this summer.

Boasting one of the UK’s largest collections of roses, RHS Garden Rosemoor is home to two dedicated rose gardens, bringing together over 2,000 roses across more than 200 different varieties and a wealth of hues and perfumes. From cottage garden climbers, to bright and beautiful container varieties, there will be a rose to inspire and suit all gardens.

Top highlights from the festival include guided tours, expert advice from RHS horticulturists, a floral themed craft market, a rose trail, and much, much more.

Festival Events and Highlights:

  • Rose Weekend, extended to a three-day event from 22 to 24 June featuring a floral-themed craft and food market with over 40 stalls in the stunning new Garden Room events building.
  • Brand New for 2018 and to celebrate the centenary of the end of the First World War and in memory of those who lost their lives, Rosemoor has planted a group of Rosa Pax. Latin for ‘peace’, Rosa ‘Pax’ is a hybrid musk rose and was developed by the rose breeder, Joseph Pemberton, and launched in 1918 to commemorate the end of WW1.

Armed Forces Day, 30 June                                                                        

100 red ceramic poppies, interpreted and designed by popular local artist Renée Kilburn, will be on display to start Rosemoor’s commemorations of the centenary of the end of the First World War. Standing tall amongst the poppies is a wonderful sculpture of an ‘Unknown Soldier’ affectionately known as George N. The life-size soldier is crafted by another popular Rosemoor and Devon based artist, George Hider.

Armed forces personnel have free admission to Rosemoor on 30 June – simply bring ID.

The display will stay up until 11 November when Rosemoor will welcome all serving and retired armed forces personnel plus a family guest in for free (simply bring proof to the front entrance). Then the poppies and George will continue to be displayed as part of the annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition. The red poppies are available to purchase, with a £3.50 donation on every poppy sold going to the Royal British Legion.

  • Rosemoor’s Garden Kitchen will be celebrating roses throughout the month with a delectable series of rose-inspired and rose-infused treats, from rose meringues to rose and raspberry cakes.
  • There will be ‘Late’ openings every Friday in July – 6, 13, 20 – and 27, when the garden will be open until 9pm and visitors can enjoy the gardens at dusk as the roses release their evening scent. Special offer of ‘5 after 5’ – £5 garden admission after 5pm. There will be live music and the restaurant will be serving delicious evening meals too (advance table reservations highly recommended).
  • Every Wednesday, there will rose-themed Afternoon Teas (pre-booking required) including an expert florist will demonstrate flower-arranging techniques with English roses and be present for a Q & A session.
  • The Celebrate Summer self-guided trail will take visitors on a historic, scented journey throughout the 65-acre garden and includes stunning rose varieties and their fascinating stories from the Queen Mother’s Rose Garden and the Shrub Rose Garden, down the Long Borders, the Cottage Garden, as well as other roses at Rosemoor House.

Normal garden admission applies, which is free for RHS Members. Please visit www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/rosemoor/Articles/Rose-Festival or call 01805 626810 for more details.

 

SOMERSET WILDLIFE TRUST’S ‘WILDLIFE GARDENS’ BACK FOR A SECOND YEAR

Some of the county’s most beautiful and inspiring wildlife gardens are to open to the public to fundraise for Somerset Wildlife Trust, and inspire us to use our own gardens to help wildlife on our own doorstep. These include gardens close to Greater Exmoor and some a little further afield.

After its huge success last year, Somerset Wildlife Trust is delighted to be bringing  ‘Somerset’s Wildlife Gardens’ back for a second year – an initiative that will see eight of Somerset’s finest examples of gardens specifically designed to support our county’s best-loved wildlife open their doors for the public to enjoy.  The gardens, which are spread across the county, as well as being stunning in their own right, each showcase unique features that provide special homes for our best-loved species – from small mammals and pollinators, to birds and pond-dwellers.

With many of our much-loved species facing challenges to find the habitats they need to survive – hedgehogs, bats and sparrows to name a few – making our gardens wildlife-friendly is more important than ever to help many of our species survive. In the UK there are approximately 16 million gardens – a vast amount of habitat available to wildlife. Somerset Wildlife Trust hopes that people who visit these inspiring gardens will feel empowered by them to make their own gardens more wildlife-friendly.

From putting bird feeders up in your garden and leaving parts of your garden wild, to creating your own pond and putting up nesting boxes – there are lots of ways that we can all protect Somerset’s amazing and diverse wildlife by making our own gardens, local green spaces, school playgrounds, or office gardens a secure home for wildlife.

Emma Jones, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Community Fundraiser, explains: “Many of our much-loved and well known garden species are under threat, in part due to habitat loss. Hedgehogs, for example, have experienced a decline of 30% in the UK over the last ten years, and are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers worldwide. This brings home to us the fact that our garden wildlife needs our help. This is why it is so inspiring to see that so many people have dedicated time to create beautiful wildlife havens to support wildlife, and not only that but they are opening them up to the public to inspire other to do more for wildlife too.

“For those who are looking for some inspiration on how to make their gardens wildlife-friendly or fancy a wonderful awe-inspiring day out – don’t miss out on these gorgeous gardens. These events are also fundraisers for Somerset Wildlife Trust as all hosts of the gardens will kindly donate the proceeds to the Trust to support its work across the county.”

The entry fee is £4 per adult (free for children aged 16 and under). Tea and cake is available too, at a small extra cost. No booking is required but if you have any questions please email Emma Jones at events@somersetwildlife.org. For more information on the gardens, such as parking, accessibility and dogs please visit: www.somersetwildlife.org/wildlifegardens.html

Hillcrest Wildflower Meadow and Ponds (pictured)
Friday 13 April 11:00 – 16:00
There is a wildlife rich meadow and also a stunning garden that will be full of spring flowers… a perfect spot to revive after the long winter, something we all need! This is the first time Hillcrest has opened in the spring.
Where: Hillcrest, Curload, TA3 6JA

Bracondale Garden
Friday 18 May 11:00 – 16:00
Bracondale is a fabulous example of a garden that we can all try to create. There is a small meadow and pond attracting all kinds of wildlife. A calm space to sit and ponder.
Where: Bracondale, Staplehay, Taunton, TA3 7HB

Hillcrest Wildflower meadows and gardens
Saturday 26 May 14:00 – 17:00
Hillcrest has stunning gardens and a beautiful meadow created and looked after by passionate wildlife gardeners. It is an essential wildlife haven that attracts and protects the local species that in turn gives so much joy to everyone that visits!
Where: Hillcrest, Curload, TA3 6JA

Henley Hill farm
Wednesday 6 June 11:00 – 16:00
Come along to the inspiring Henley Hill Farm to see wild flower and grass rich meadows and pastures with incredible views. The meadow has been studied by experts from Somerset Wildlife Trust who could not believe just how many species of flora and fauna they found. Beautiful!
Where: Henley Hill farm, Haybridge, (near Wells), BA5 1AL

Model Farm Gardens
Sunday 17 June 11:00 – 16:00
Model Farm shows how much nature can create a sanctuary within a decade. The gardeners have made Model Farm a beautiful garden bursting with wildlife, a joy to spend time in.
Where: Model farm, Perry Green, Wembdon, TA5 2BA

Millers Pond and Garden
Saturday 30 June 11:00 – 16:00
This is a jewel for wildlife. Last year, a top garden designer came to visit when the garden opened for Somerset Wildlife Trust and was absolutely full of praise! Why not combine your visit with a trip to Nunney Castle.
Where: The Miller’s House, Nunney, BA11 4NP

Badbury Flower Farm
Sunday 22 July 12:00 – 15:00
Visit this wonderful flower farm… the owner is a flower farmer! Using the beautiful blooms, bouquets and arrangements are created for all occasions. Come and see how they are made and get the chance to create your own posy to take home.
Where: Badbury Dairy House, Isle Abbotts, Taunton. TA3 6RS

Elworthy Cottage
Thursday 26 July 11:00 – 17:00
An inspiring, peaceful wildlife garden full of bumbleebees, butterflies and bird song. After your visit, treat yourself to a beautiful cottage garden plant from the nursery
Where: Elworthy Cottage Plants, Elworthy, TA4 3PX

ROSEMOOR ALIGHT WITH WINTER MAGIC

RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon is always a treat and is beautiful throughout the year. This year, following all the wonderful feedback from their first illuminations in 2016, visitors can once again enjoy the garden lit up on a greatly extended trail. Innovative, hi-tech, dynamic colour-changing illuminations provide a magical festive trail around the trees, shrubs and winter sculptures.

This year, the trail is roughly four to five times the length of last year’s, with additional dates, too, running from 17 November 2017 through to 6 January 2018. It takes in the Formal Gardens and extends into the Stream Field where visitors can buy warming hot drinks and snacks at the Shepherd’s Rest – a brand-new, al-fresco catering facility. The trail then follows back down the Long Borders and incorporates displays in the Hot Garden and all around the Winter Garden, too.

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday the gardens will be open until 8.30pm to maximise the effects of the lighting into the evening hours, and on those days garden entry will be discounted after 3pm. The award-winning Garden Kitchen Restaurant will be once again be serving ‘Simple Family Suppers’ from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, and booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. The Rosemoor Shop & Plant Centre will also remain open for late-night shopping on these nights and will be a magical place to go for all those Christmas decorations, gift and plant ideas, including for the first time, potted and freshly cut Christmas Trees.

A wonderful festive atmosphere will be created on some of the evenings with Christmas Food, Craft and Antique Fairs; and, on two weekends in December, the very popular Entertainingly Different will be performing ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ in their own inimitable style with songs, stories, poems and dancing. Tickets to these are free but limited and online booking is strongly recommended.

The final day of the illuminations, Saturday 6 January, Rosemoor’s Garden Room events building will be the location for a special Quantum Theatre production of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Information and details on limited ticket prices, together with a booking link are available on line at rhs.org.uk/rosemoor.

During the same period, Rosemoor will hold its extremely popular annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition, where each year over 33,000 visitors enjoy the eclectic mix of exhibits set against the backdrop of the garden. Some of these will be lit up by the illuminations, too, to make them extra special. Most of the sculptures in the exhibition are for sale.

To make the most of a winter visit to Rosemoor there is a wonderful winter walk and trail taking in much of the surprising amounts of colour, scent, texture and structure including dogwoods, ornamental grasses and some of our national collection of hollies, as well as the sculptures set amongst the shrubs.

For more information on events at RHS Garden Rosemoor visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members). Garden open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am – 5pm.

November’s Winter Events at Rosemoor:
4 – 12 November
‘A year in the life of Rosemoor’ Art Exhibition
Theresa Shaw and Jill Griffin have their art on display in Rosemoor’s Lecture / Exhibition HallDaily 10am – 5pm, normal garden admission – free for RHS members

17 November 2017 to 6 January 2018
See how our garden glows Winter Illuminations
Every Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 4pm – 8.30pm Normal garden admission discounted entry after 3pm.

18 November 2016 to 18 February 2017
Winter Sculpture Exhibition
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the garden in winter with its amazing textures and surprising colour and scent, Rosemoor’s Winter Sculpture Exhibition is now an established part of the events programme. The exhibition continues through into 2018 with an exciting and eclectic mix of exhibits from a diverse collection of sculptors, and using a wide variety of media including from steel and glass to cement and pottery. Visitors can pick up a trail and see how many sculptures they can discover through the garden. Most of the pieces exhibited are for sale. Free, guided sculpture walks leave the Visitor Centre at 11.30am most Wednesday mornings.
Daily 10am – 5pm, normal garden admission – free for RHS members

24 – 26 November
Christmas Craft Fair
The Garden Room will be full of the South West’s best craftspeople, making it the ideal place to snap up an early Christmas present or two.
Friday & Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm in the Garden Room. Normal garden admission – free for RHS members

 25 & 26 November
Garden Wildlife in The Spotlight
Devon Wildlife Trust will be in the Plant Centre offering advice 1pm – 4.30pm

A NEW HOME FOR PARKS & GARDENS UK WITH HESTERCOMBE

Parks & Gardens UK is entering an exciting phase in its development at its new home with the Hestercombe Gardens Trust. In September 2016 Parks & Gardens UK (P&GUK) with Hestercombe Gardens Trust received £97,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to secure the future of the P&GUK database and website of historic designed landscapes.

The P&GUK archive has records of over 9,100 historic designed landscape sites and over 2,400 biographies of associated people and organisations. The Hestercombe archive contains a significant collection of documents, photographs, plans and manuscripts relating not only to Hestercombe itself (with its eighteenth-century Landscape Garden and also its Jekyll/ Lutyens gardens) but to other parks, gardens and designed landscapes in the United Kingdom.

The combination of the two databases, by offering economies of scale and ease of access between them, will offer a powerful research resource unmatched elsewhere. It will also allow for its expansion by maintaining and developing the existing close relationship between County Gardens Trust and The Gardens Trust, as well as the development of new relationships with like-minded organisations. Hestercombe, near Taunton, is readily accessible and has a range of conference rooms for seminars, summer schools and workshops that will make the study of gardens and landscapes available to a wider public.

Dr Barbara Simms, chair of P&GUK, said: “Both organisations have worked hard over the past months to secure the successful transfer of Parks & Gardens UK to Hestercombe Gardens Trust. It is very exciting that Parks & Gardens UK has a new home that will allow its expansion as the leading on-line resource for historic parks and gardens.”

Philip White, Chief Executive of the Hestercombe Gardens Trust, said: “I am delighted that Hestercombe will have the opportunity to develop and expand on the considerable work achieved by P&GUK over more than ten years and look forward to working with the County Gardens Trusts and others in realising the database’s considerable potential.”

Explaining the importance of the National Lottery support, Drew Bennellick, Head of Landscape & Natural Heritage at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This project offers a unique opportunity to bring together two incredibly important sources of data and research for the very first time. Whether it’s someone just wanting to find out more about our rich history of landscape design, or a researcher delving into the history of an early park or garden, these databases are an important and accessible resource for all. Having supported the Parks & Gardens UK database since its inception, we’re pleased to offer this support so that it can transition into a new chapter in its existence.”

PHOTO by Chris Lacey Photography for Hestercombe.