Garden in June

Our work is paying off and the borders are crammed with flowers topped by roses.  Our new supports from Snape Supports at Snape Cottage near Bourton are proving invaluable.  Usually we can make hazel supports in the Winter but this year it was too wet to get onto the flowerbeds.  ( )

Our incredible Himalayan Musk rose is now spilling over the garage roof as well as the old greenhouses. 




Chestnut tree has to be felled.

With huge regret I have to tell everyone that the big chestnut on the tree had to be felled last month. Without warning, one side fell onto the flower bed below and the tree surgeon said that it was unsafe to leave standing.  It was in full flower and looked magnificent.

We had a wedding the following week so all hands on deck to restore order.  A huge pot was moved from elsewhere in the gardens, structures were made for the roses and new plants found.  

Once we had got beyond mourning the tree which gave us such wonderful shade for lunches and for weddings a place for babies to sleep, grandmothers to sit away from the sun or keep drink cool we realised that the view across to the Gazebo was lovely and now hardly miss it.

Shade can now be provided by our two new garden sails from Lidl in Blandford.  They are bigger than they look below and would easily take a table of drinks.  Michael can stand up underneath and he is six foot three.


Easter at Shillingstone

Easter is celebrated at Shillingstone with Easter Trees and ancient cardboard eggs filled with small presents.  Even our egg hunt does not feature much chocolate as granddaughter is not allowed anything sweet.  Michael and I, however,  seem to have accumulated a pile of little eggs to eat!

New pots for the garden

Winter is the time for refurbishment although this winter has been challenging as the lawns have been to wet to walk on  and we have had two loads of deep snow.

We added some box balls in pots to the rose border to give some interest for our wedding in January.  We thought they looked so good that we have bought some new bigger ones.  They look very new so we are going to paint them with yogurt to age them!

One of the new pots in the melting snow

One of the new pots in the melting snow

Great New Cheese Maker to add to our website!

Just back from a wonderful residential cheese making course with Louise Talbot, a cheesemaker who lives near Blandford, so she is very local.  The course took place at Denman, the WI College,  which holds an amazing array of courses open to WI members and non members alike.

The course was fantastic and what is even better is that Louise holds four hour courses suitable for Hen Parties.  She can be found at "Cutting The Curd" -


As you can see from the pictures below, I brought back a huge amount of cheese and had an amazing time with a very patient and excellent tutor.







New Marquee company came to visit

Chris from Abbas Marquees came over to bring photographs on a USB stick for couples to take away and look at. ( They are based in Somerset and Devon but work all over the UK and have been Marquee specialists for the last 15 years.

They seem to cover every type of Marquee from traditional to Tipis and have a vast range of additional items that they can hire as well. Take a look at the listing under suppliers on the website.

First wedding of the year

We had a wonderful ceremony only wedding in the dining room on 20th January.  Taking place in the dining room with a fire in the grate and candles and fairy lights on every surface it had a beautiful, warm and cosy feel to it on a cold and wet day.  (more photographs and a full write up to follow)

Christmas 2018

Christmas seems so long ago now but I felt that I must share how the garden is very much part of our lives even at Christmas!

Aliums from the big border sprayed silver on the Christmas Tree and honesty seed pods and old man's beard on the staircase.


Leaves and twigs from the garden dried and sprayed white,  mixed with the red twigs of the Cornus on the dining room table.   Otherwise, here, it was a recycled Christmas!



Shillingstone History Festival

September brought a History Festival to Shillingstone with incredible records and photographs on display in the Church Centre and a celebration in flowers in the village Church.

I joined our village florist, Emma Whitcher from Martha and the Meadow,( / and many other ladies from the village to celebrate historic moments of village history in flowers.

My task was to fill the porch with the many items that used to be sent up to London from Shillingstone Station and Emma's huge arrangement to commemorated the fallen from the village in World War 1 with every soldier represented by a red rose.

Other arrangements showed the Roman Villa which once stood at the Blandford end of the village, the maypole which at one time was the tallest in Dorset, the WI, the Brownies and Cricket and Football club.

Our old prams took their place by the font as we used to have a maternity home in the village.

The event was a huge success and hopefully the records will be put onto a website in the future.

Picking Figs and Damsons



Ross Kidner returned to the Walled Garden to pick figs and damsons to make into his wonderful jams and chutneys.  It was quite a hectic day as we had a wedding clearing up around us and they had to carry the ladder over the wedding bell tent

Ross made last year's crop into chutney and it was really successful.  To buy or catch him at one of the markets he sells from go to - or  

If you wanted to give some of our Shillingstone Fig Chutney as your favours please let us know and we can ask Ross to pot them up in little jars for you. He can design a label for you.

Ross made a donation as thanks and we gave this to Home Start North Dorset -





Art Society visit

For the second year running the garden filled with members of PEDAS, the Poole and East Dorset Art Society. ( ) The sun shone,  so many of the members chose the shade but several hardier soles sat out with their easels.  They produced some wonderful paintings and sketches as you can see from the pictures below.  To see more of their work go to the website above. 

In thanks for the visit each member donated £3 and we were able to donate £36 to the North Dorset branch of Home Start which was wonderful.



We now have a supplier for showers!

Rob Beale Ltd who has produced loos in the past now has a very smart two stall shower.  I know that some of our 2017 brides were keen to have this information.  They brought them to show me the other day and they are pristine and well equipped.  Fully recommended.  They can plug into our electricity and water by the camping site.

Another new photographer!

Very late in writing this post!  We had another great new photographer visiting last month.  He has enormous experience and has worked in London and abroad until moving to Chettle, just outside Blandford.  He brought a marvellous selection of photographs of past weddings, each one adapted to the style of the wedding - some formal and some very much not - I think he would be great fun to work with and very easy to get on with.

Have a look at his website - or send an email -