Category Archives: Gardens

The wildflower garden campaign

Plantlife’s new campaign to encourage gardeners to go native and liven up their gardens like never before!

Plantlife is urging gardeners to go native and start a new love affair. On their new webpage, The Wildflower Garden, you can get insider tips from the UK’s leading botanical experts who will introduce you to some real beauties, help show you what grows best and where, and then, when you’ve fallen head over heels in love (you will!), they’ll show you the best places to see your most beloved wildflowers growing in the countryside!

Wild flowers and plants are not only beautiful – they are an essential part of our lives. They provide food for humans and animals, and are the basis for many medicines. Without plants, bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife would not exist.

These beauties may thrive in your garden but in the wild many of them they are in real trouble – vanishing from the countryside at an alarming rate.

Plantlife’s Botanical Specialist, Dr Trevor Dines, only grows native wildflowers and plants in his own garden. He says: “Did you know that many of our garden favourites, like Box, Pasqueflower and Welsh poppy are also some of our rarest native plants? It always amazes me that you can pop into almost any garden centre, DIY shop or nursery in the country and by a plant of Shrubby Cinquefoil, but this same species is a beautiful native wildflower restricted to just two small areas in Britain.

“Plantlife’s Wildflower Garden aims to celebrate the native flowers we probably already grow, introduce you to a few new ones and discover the fascinating stories behind them as British wildflowers; did you know for example that, according to ledged, Pasqueflower grows from the blood of buried Viking warriors?”

You don’t need to let your garden become overgrown and tatty to enjoy them; wild plants and flowers can be woven into the tapestry of all garden styles, from cottage to formal.

Native wildflowers in your garden will dazzle you with their beauty, seduce you with their scent, intice wonderful wildlife and create a garden you’re friends will envy!

PHOTO: Hawthorn by Andrew Gagg

Children’s Award for RHS Garden Rosemoor

RHS Garden Rosemoor has won a top award in a national competition run by the online organisation – Netmums. Parents were asked to vote online for their favourite Outdoor Play venue and Rosemoor came out tops for North Devon and a Runner Up in the South West region.

Children are welcome every day in the 65-acre garden. There are two special dedicated natural play areas including a green ship and a giant woodland wind chime as well as a large sandpit and natural dens. Picnic areas abound and our long borders and meadows are perfect for running and play. Children can follow their food from the fruit and veg garden to plate in the award winning restaurant. Events for families and children are held throughout the year, especially in school holidays.

This half term Rosemoor is ‘Going Native’ with a week of activities relating to their native plants and wildlife.

Tuesday 27 May
Owl and Raptor Rescue – Owls R Us
Nigel and Jo Palmer will be on site with some of their collection of rescued owls and hawks to talk about the work they do in helping these beautiful birds. A great opportunity to see some of these shy native species up close and maybe have your picture taken with a Barn Owl or Kestrel !

Wednesday 28 May
Native Plants and Wildlife Day
A wide range of native animal and plant conservation groups will be featured in the Marquee representing a cross section of charities dedicated to the advancement and preservation of some of the UK’s best loved native plants and animal species; from rare orchids and beleaguered honeybees to the shy dormouse and the endangered hedgehog. Go along and see what these diverse groups are doing to preserve these treasured plants and animals.

Thursday 29 May
Wildflower Walks for Families – Diana Goodacre
Join Diana for a guided walk of Rosemoor’s now well established wildflower meadows as well as the wilder edges of the Garden and woods on the trail of some of the South West’s most delightful wildflowers. Please wear old clothes and dress for the weather.

For more information on RHS Garden Rosemoor visit


Pilton Garden Makeover Marks 40th Birthday

A project to improve Pilton’s Rotary Gardens is now complete, in time for the park’s 40th anniversary on Friday 23 May.

Work at the gardens began last year, with a new path and benches and extensive work on the trees and shrubs, giving the place a fresh look and making it more accessible for the local community. This week the finishing touches were made to the area around the pond.

Three new information boards have also been placed around the gardens. Two of the boards provide visitors with a potted history of Pilton and the Rotary Gardens. The third board is a tree trail, designed to help people enjoy the beauty of a variety of trees around the gardens.

The information boards have been designed with the help of the Rotary Club of Barnstaple and members of a local community heritage project called The Pilton Story.

£12,000 of Section 106 funds was released by North Devon Council for the overall project, following a consultation event with the local community. Section 106 is money contributed by developers as part of the planning conditions of large planning applications.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Derrick Spear, says: “Pilton has a rich history and a very active community, which is clear from the involvement of the Rotary Club and the Pilton Story in this project. This is exactly the sort of project that Section 106 money should be spent on, which is a contribution from developers to make improvements for the local community.”

Local ward member, Councillor Brian Greenslade, says: “I’m glad to see the finishing touches made to this project. As well as improving the look and accessibility of the gardens, we have also installed CCTV at Pilton Causeway. It’s lovely to see the new facilities being used, especially during the Pilton Green Man Festival, which always brings crowds of visitors to the gardens.”

The Rotary Club of Barnstaple’s immediate past President, Brian Ross, helped coordinate the project throughout his Rotary year. He says: “We know the former presidents involved and their chairman, the late Vivian Moon, would be proud if they could see it today. We hope everyone can visit and enjoy the tranquil setting, right here in Barnstaple and of course enjoy the Pilton Festival – when the gardens are not quite so tranquil.”

Margaret Reed, Pilton historian and member of The Pilton Story team, says: “This project links in well with our collection of Pilton’s heritage.  We have fascinating evidence of the historic use of the land which is now Rotary Gardens, over more than 100 years. We were also very pleased to be involved in such a wonderful example of community, council and charity working together to provide a lasting amenity.”

The Rotary Gardens were first laid out as a rest garden for the local community and the elderly in 1974 by the Rotary Club of Barnstaple, in celebration of the club’s 50th anniversary. Care of the gardens was then transferred to North Devon Council, which is still responsible for its maintenance today.

PHOTO: Left to right: Liz Eveleigh from The Pilton Story, 1974, Secretary of the Rotary Club of Barnstaple John Moore, Margaret Reed from The Pilton Story, Pilton Ward Member Cllr Brian Greenslade, current President of the Rotary Club Brian Kettle, past President of the Rotary Club Brian Ross and Pilton Ward Member Cllr Mair Manuel.