Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

advice for gardening with dementia

by Diane - May 2nd, 2019

Admiral Nurse, Dave’s, advice for gardening with dementia

Dave Bell works on Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline which is staffed entirely by specialist dementia nurses

Maintaining physical activity, cognitive function and social interaction, all helps someone who has dementia to remain stimulated, feel valued and helpful.

Being involved in gardening can really contribute to a person’s wellbeing.  Gardening is on-going and ever-changing; anyone who has a garden will recognise that there is always something to do! Even if you have no garden, and have only limited space (perhaps for a few pots on windowsills) this is an activity that can give great pleasure.  It can distract, engage, add to routines and be a focus for physical activity.

Gardening can provide a fantastic opportunity for stimulation of all the senses. There are the sensations of touch – soil, flowers, bark (but mind the thorns!), and perhaps the feel of a gentle wind, of sun or rain. There is visual stimulation – an amazing range of colour and shapes, sunlight, as well as the wildlife a garden can offer. There are the smells of flowers and vegetables, of herbs or of a freshly mown lawn. And there are the sounds – birdsong, insects, and rustle of wind in trees; and of course, there is taste – eating fruit, vegetables, and even edible flowers such as nasturtiums or marigolds.

It may be that someone’s memory difficulties and cognitive disability can get in the way of a whole sense of what is happening in the garden However, much activity for someone who has dementia is in the ‘here and now’, and the enjoyment of sharing a current task. This can be so rewarding in a garden, where the calmness of the surroundings can also lead to developing and sustaining relationships, not only through doing things together but also through the talk that always takes place.

There are many physical benefits – including dexterity skills and broader exercise through potting, planting, digging, sweeping, weeding and pruning – which can lead to reduced agitation and improved sleep.

There are cognitive benefits too – in terms of getting the person to help plan the activities, and perhaps to choose seeds and consider how flowers and vegetables are organised in the garden.

There are also huge benefits socially. For example, a caller on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline said recently that she and her mother had never had so many conversations with others on their street as they did when they cut her hedge for an hour last summer, with Mum sitting on a chair, directing, while the daughter did the hard work!

Gardening activities for someone with dementia

There are many gardening activities which could involve the person living with dementia, whatever their disabilities. If they are physically able, they may be able to be prompted to do the tasks themselves.  Otherwise, helping, or even just watching and feeling involved can be enough.

Tasks are there to do all year round, both indoors and outdoors.

  • Planning – This can involve formal planning of how to lay out the garden. It can include a visit to a local garden centre together – a pleasant experience in itself. These are usually safe and easy to navigate places, often with disabled loos and usually with a café attached!
  • Preparing –If the person is able, they can help (or be helped) with preparing beds for sowing, by weeding, removing stones and spreading compost. Getting pots and trays cleaned and ready for sowing is another satisfying task that can be done together.
  • Planting – Planting seeds can be done together, both indoors and out. Together you can buy seeds and sow them in pots or trays in a greenhouse or on a windowsill. If planting directly into the ground, you can work together to make the rows and sow the seeds, and both be involved in watering and tending as shoots appear.
  • Potting and planting out – As seedlings get strong enough, another shared task is repotting or planting out – careful dexterity may be needed, and lots of kneeling! Raised beds can make life a lot easier if you have the space.  Again, the garden centre can be a good place to visit, to buy flowers and vegetables already in pots and ready to plant out at home.
  • Maintenance – This is the on-going, and sometimes most challenging part of gardening! Weeding and watering, as well as fighting off bugs and pests can be a constant battle, but can be hugely satisfying. There are also tasks to do in dead-heading flowers like roses, or in thinning out of plants.
  • Picking/harvesting – This is the fun part of gardening. Picking flowers together can be a wonderful experience. The joy of picking fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, strawberries, beans, peas etc. can involve all the senses, and can be a great opportunity for reminiscing and sharing experiences.
  • Using the produce –This can involve flower arranging or even giving bunches of freshly picked flowers to friends and family which can enhance a person’s sense of self-esteem. Using vegetables in cooking together is a multi-sensory activity, and having a herb garden, or even a range of herbs in pots in the kitchen, can bring back memories and encourage conversations. And it can be a very satisfying few hours spent making jam.

Case study

Anne, a lady of 92, had kept a garden at home, but sadly had to move to a nursing home as her mobility and cognition reduced.  At first she became quite distressed and often called out, as despite the efforts of staff to keep her engaged and stimulated, she spent so many hours alone in the chair next to her bed with just the TV for company.

Fortunately the home found out from her family about her love of her garden and, when a room became available facing onto the garden, Anne was able to move there, where she had a French window that opened onto a patio and a flower bed beyond. Her daughter set up a variety of pots in her view.

Even though she was unable to do much of this herself, Anne could give directions to her daughters, smell and taste the flowers and produce, and, with a bird table set up in her view, could watch the constant stream of birds and even squirrels, come and feed.  Her agitation and feelings of isolation were almost immediately reduced, and the new found pleasures enhanced her relationships with staff and other residents.


by Diane - April 17th, 2019



Paultons Park is inviting horticulture enthusiasts to the Park after it closes to explore its ‘exquisite gardens’ at the first Exclusive Gardens Open Evening.


On Tuesday, July 9 2019, the Paultons Estate – home to the UK’s best-rated theme park Paultons Park, based in the New Forest, is inviting gardening enthusiasts and horticulture groups to roam more than 65 acres of landscaped parkland.


The Exclusive Gardens Open Evening will start at 6.30pm and guests will be able to explore the themed and formal gardens located within Paultons Park, such as the Japanese Garden which opened at the Park in 2017. The dedicated gardening team will be on hand to share the estate’s history and answer questions. During the evening visitors will see themed topiaries, copper water features, historic cedar trees, and much more.


James Mancey, operations director, said: “The Paultons Estate features exquisite gardens rich in history, with the original features laid out by English landscape artist Capability Brown, known as ‘England’s greatest gardener’. Several of Brown’s iconic and recognisable design elements can still be seen today.


“We’re excited to welcome our fellow gardening enthusiasts to Paultons Park for the first Exclusive Gardens Open Evening and share with them a variety of different gardens and features outside that Park’s usual opening hours.”

Tickets for this event are limited and on sale now at: Tickets are charged at £10 per person, with £2 going to the Park’s chosen charity.


Family-friendly rides, the Trekking Tractors and The Dinosaur Tour Co. Jeep Ride will be operating during the evening’s event to transport guests through the gardens in which they operate. Light refreshments will be available to purchase in the Wild Forest restaurant.


by Diane - April 11th, 2019


Chelsea Physic Garden is delighted to announce it has received initial support and development funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Chelsea Physic Garden Glasshouses Restoration project. *1 

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to repair and preserve the iconic glass structures within the Garden for at least the next fifty years. Development funding of £172,500 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help Chelsea Physic Garden progress its plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £680,000 at a later date.

 The funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will contribute towards this extensive restoration project. Today whilst the glasshouses are home to a range of rare and sub-tropical species, the structures are fragile and in need of significant repair and conservation to restore them to their former glory thus saving them for future generations to enjoy.

 When restored, the glasshouses will provide a much better growing environment for the important and diverse collection of plants. The work will include improvements to the paths and glasshouses to make them more accessible for visitors with disabilities. This will enable the Garden’s team to hold activities and workshops for a wide variety of people so they can discover and experience the history and contemporary relevance of the glasshouses plants.  A programme of open days and events for local communities and schools will highlight plants from the many cultural backgrounds represented in London and in the Garden’s collections.

The first known heated glasshouse in the UK was erected at Chelsea Physic Garden in 1683. This ‘stove house’ as it was known) is thought to have been the first of its kind in Europe.  It was heated using pioneering technology of the period which enabled the gardeners to control the heating and venting to nurture new tender species such as melon and pineapple that had never before been propagated in the UK.

The present glasshouses date back to the late Victorian period and are the most complete range of teak and iron houses in the country. Erected in 1902, these buildings house some of the world’s rarest sub-tropical species together with ferns, succulents and carnivorous plants. Many of these 1200 plants are historically important and some endangered in their natural habitat. Despite being damaged in the 1941 Blitz, these modest but elegant cast iron structures have survived to become an iconic feature within the peaceful surroundings of the historic botanic garden.

To make a donation towards the restoration of Chelsea Physic Garden Glasshouses visit  


“As guardians of such a rare and special plant collection, it’s vitally important for us to ensure these plants and the structures are conserved.  When a pane of glass falls from the glasshouse, leaving the plants vulnerable to the elements I know we must act with speed to start the renovation project” Nell Jones, Head of Plant Collections Chelsea Physic Garden.

 “I am absolutely delighted that we have received the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and that National Lottery players are supporting us with this initial support.  It enables us to carry out the vital investigative and preparatory work to undertake conservation repairs on our historic Glasshouses.  We will be reaching out into our local communities as we want to know what the plants we grow today mean to people from all of our neighbours, be it in home remedies or in food.  We will also be using this conservation project as an opportunity to ensure that our staff and volunteers have an opportunity to learn new skills. This grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is a great first step and we will be launching the campaign for the funds we need to achieve the full restoration programme”.  Sue Medway, Director of Chelsea Physic Garden  

Tulip gardens to visit with the National Garden Scheme this spring

by Diane - April 5th, 2019

Tulip gardens to visit with the National Garden Scheme this spring


Blackland House, Wiltshire

April through to May sees many of our gardens transformed into a rainbow of welcome colour as tulips bloom. With 245 gardens with tulips open across England and Wales for the National Garden Scheme there are plenty to choose from, so we have selected a few to get you started.

South West

A riot of red at Yeo Valley Organic Garden, Somerset

The Yeo Valley Organic Garden at Holt Farm, Blagdon in Somerset is one of only a handful of ornamental gardens that is Soil Association accredited. With 6½ acres of contemporary planting, quirky sculptures, bulbs in their thousands, purple palace, glorious meadow and posh vegetable patch it also has great views and green ideas. Open on Sunday 28th April 2-5pm.

The Old Rectory, Netherbury in Dorset is a 5 acre garden designed and maintained by present owners over the last 25 years. Spring bulbs including species tulips and erythroniums are a speciality. They have several open days in April and May.

Blackland House in Calne, Wiltshire, open on the 1st May, is a wonderfully varied 4½ acre garden adjacent to River Marden. There is interesting topiary, trained fruit trees and specialist displays of historic tulips and unusual spring bulbs.

You may also like …

Bickham House, Devon, Kiftsgate Court, Gloucestershire, Tormarton Court, Gloucestershire, Oare House, Wiltshire

South East

Dunsborough Park, Ripley, Surrey has a spectacular tulip displays in the meadow. This magnificent 100-acre estate comprises a series of historical gardens brought to life through vistas and garden architecture. Their tulip opening is on Wednesday 17th April for the National Garden Scheme.

Great Dixter House, Gardens & Nursery at Northiam in East Sussex was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Nathaniel Lloyd. Christopher Lloyd made the garden one of the most experimental and constantly changing gardens of our time, a tradition now being carried on by Fergus Garrett. Spring bulb displays are of particular note. Open for the National Garden Scheme on Sunday 19th April.

Sandhill Farm House in Rogate, West Sussex has front and rear gardens broken up into garden rooms including small kitchen garden with gorgeous displays of tulips. Open on both Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April.

Broughton Grange, in Banbury, Oxfordshire has a large terraced walled garden created by Tom Stuart-Smith in 2001. Good early displays of bulbs followed by outstanding herbaceous planting in summer. There are formal and informal areas which combine to make this a special site including newly laid arboretum with many ongoing projects.

You may also like …

Rymans, West Sussex, The Old Vicarage, Washington, West Sussex, Down Place, West Sussex, The Garden House, East Sussex, Penns in the Rocks, East Sussex, Calico House, Kent, Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire,


As a member of the Society of Garden Designers, Charles Rutherfoord has created the garden at 51 The Chase over 30 years. In 2015 the main garden was remodelled to much acclaim. The garden is spectacular in spring, when 2000 tulips bloom among irises and tree peonies and it has open days on Sunday 28th April and Thursday 2nd May.

East of England

Ulting Wick in Maldon. Essex promises thousands of colourful tulips and flowing innovative spring planting at their openings on Sunday 28th April and Friday 3rd May. It was voted one of the 100 Best Gardens to visit in the UK in Garden News Magazine.

Netherall Manor, Soham Cambridgeshire is an unusual garden appealing to those with historical interest in individual collections of plant groups which includes old English tulips. They have open days on Sunday 7th April and Sunday 5th May.

Alswick Hall in Buntingford, Hertfordshire is a listed Tudor House with 5 acres of landscaped gardens set in unspoiled farmland. At their opening on Sunday 14th April you can enjoy herbaceous borders, shrubs, woodland walk and wild flower meadow with a fantastic selection of daffodils, tulips, camassias and crown imperial.


Thousands of multi-coloured tulips, fritillaries and camassias at The Old Corn Mill, Ross-on-Wye

The Old Corn Mill, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire is 4 acres of woodland, meadows, ponds and streams. A tranquil and relaxed country garden of scents, sights and sounds. Interest all year with drifts of tulips at their April openings.

The Mount at Bishop Castle, Shropshire is an acre of garden that has evolved over 24 years, with a view that sweeps down the valley over fields and then up to the Long Mynd. Daffodils and tulips abound at their opening on Saturday 27th April.

Court House, Stretton-on-Fosse in Warwickshire (open as part of Stretton-on-Fosse Gardens) is a 4 acre garden with year-round interest and colour. Extensive and varied spring bulbs, herbaceous borders, spring beds, fernery and a recently redesigned and restored walled kitchen garden. Open on Sunday 14th April.

John’s Garden at Ashwood Nurseries, nr Kingswinford, Staffordshire, A stunning private garden adjacent to Ashwood Nurseries, it has a huge plant collection and many innovative design features in a beautiful canal-side setting. Open on Sunday 21st April.

You may also like…

Lyndale House, Shropshire, 14 Hartington Crescent (part of Earlsdon Gardens), Warwickshire, The Beeches, Staffordshire, Yew Tree Cottage, Staffordshire, The Manor House, Lincolnshire


Gorsty House in Powys is a garden with planting to attract wildlife. With wooded and shady areas, herbaceous borders with abundant cottage garden planting, hundreds of bulbs in season which you can see at one of their many openings in April and May. You can read more about their love for bulb planting here.

Borders bursting with late spring colour can be found at Glebe House in Abergavenny, Gwent at their May openings (18th & 19th). Set in an AONB in Usk Valley there is a south facing terrace with wisteria and honeysuckle, decorative veg garden, orchard and wildflower meadow in development.

Also in Gwent, High Glanau Manor is a listed Arts and Crafts garden laid out by H Avray Tipping in 1922. Original features including impressive stone terraces with far reaching views over the Vale of Usk to Blorenge, Skirrid, Sugar Loaf and Brecon Beacons.

North of England

The Old Vicarage at Whixley, Yorkshire is a delightful ¾ acre walled flower garden that overlooks the deer park. Gravel and old brick paths lead to hidden seating areas creating the atmosphere of a romantic English garden. They open for the National Garden Scheme on the 6th & 8th May.

Abbeywood Gardens, in Northwich Cheshire is in a superb setting near Delamere Forest. It has approximately 4½ acres of gardens surrounding large Edwardian House with vegetable garden, exotic garden, chapel garden, pool garden, woodland garden, lawned area with beds.

No. 2 Ferndene in Tyne & Wear are open by arrangement for groups of 10 or more to view their tulips. There is also woven willow work – a willow arch, fencing and gates, plus a woven willow ‘barrel’ feature in the garden. A willow ‘hide’ was constructed on the edge of the pond in 2017. To visit this garden please contact the owner in advance to arrange a suitable date.

You may also like …

Lambshield, Northumberland (open by arrangement only), Long Acre, Cheshire, Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Cheshire

The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to 3,500 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales, and raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake.

Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors we have donated a total of £58 million to nursing and health charities, and made an annual donation of £3 million in 2019. Our beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.




To find more gardens open throughout spring use our find a garden search facility online at

Snowdrop Festival brings first signs of Spring

by Diane - January 14th, 2019

Snowdrop Festival brings first signs of Spring


On a wintry day there is nothing better than visiting a garden teeming with one of the earliest flowering plants of the year –and the National Garden Scheme’s fourth annual Snowdrop Festival brings the first signs of Spring to everyone with over 92 snowdrop gardens open across England and Wales.

Whether you enjoy carpets of naturalised white in woodlands, meticulously grown rare varieties of snowdrops or gardens boasting a colourful mix of snowdrops, hellebores and other early Spring flowers – there is something for galanthophiles and garden enthusiasts alike throughout January and February.

George Plumptre, Chief Executive of The National Garden Scheme, says:

“Over the last few years the National Garden Scheme’s Snowdrop Festival has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to gardens throughout January and February. But garden visiting at this time of year isn’t just for galanthophiles who are looking to discover a rare variety of snowdrop in gardens they may never otherwise find.  Snowdrops are the perfect antidote to the Winter blues and spending the afternoon at one of our Snowdrop Festival gardens is the ideal opportunity to get outside and enjoy some spectacular scenes at an otherwise depressing time of year.”

Snowdrop garden highlights include:

  • Welford Park, Berkshire

Welford Park in Newbury is one of the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the country with 4 acres of grounds to discover. The garden may be familiar – Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off is filmed here.

  • Gelli Uchaf, Wales

Gelli Uchaf is a smallholding in Carmarthenshire with an organic 1.5 acre garden. Visitors can enjoy trees and shrubs underplanted with hundreds of thousands of snowdrops (200 cultivars and a unique Welsh Snowdrop Collection), cyclamen, crocus, scillas and other bulbs.

  • Horkesley Hall, Essex

Horkesley hall is an 8 acre romantic garden in Colchester offering an evening snowdrop walk on 19th February, when visitors can enjoy the garden’s snowdrops by the light of the full moon and twinkling fairy lights.

  • Higher Cherubeer, Devon

Higher Cherubeer is a stunning country garden in Winkleigh, which boasts a National Collection of cyclamen species and hellebores, as well as over 400 snowdrop varieties lining woodland paths.

The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to over 3,600 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales, and raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake. Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors, the National Garden Scheme has donated a total of £55 million to nursing and health charities, and made a record annual donation of £3.1 million in 2018.

To find your perfect snowdrop garden, visit or download the National Garden Scheme app. 

The Asian hornet

by Diane - January 3rd, 2019

I am a beekeeper and I am pledging to make more people aware of the Asian Hornet this year.
It’s a non native species that quite likes eating other insects and unfortunately for honeybees because they live in a colony they provide a whole larder of food for Asian hornets.

The National Bee Unit has a page on the Asian hornet

You should be able to get copies of the poster from your bee inspector or your bee association. It’s important to share these with relevant people – anyone who spends a lot of time outside and will observe an unusual insect. Whether it’s gardeners, groundskeepers, the council’s tree man, they all need to know.

If you’re in a bee club you’ll probably have discussed an Asian hornet action team. If not, go back to your group and ask!

The poster shows the asian hornet and details of the abdomen which has one yellow stripe. They look like lit cigarettes coming at you apparently. If you sit next to your hives you can watch for them hawking your bees.
Monitoring traps are a good idea – but need to be regularly emptied of the native species that might get caught in the trap.

Asian hornet identification


If you’re not a beekeeper then you could get the poster and display it at your local garden centre – just ask, I’m sure they’ll let you put a poster up. Share it with as many people as you can. Thanks


by Diane - December 10th, 2018


Research from around the world has confirmed something many gardeners already know ­– gardening really is good for you!

So, it’s time to grow yourself healthy this year with support from the Gardening is good for you campaign. Month-by-month you can explore the many benefits of gardens and gardening to your health and wellbeing.

Gardens are great places to relax, and just being in or looking out onto gardens and green spaces has been shown to relieve stress, improving wellbeing and creativity. By creating a beautiful garden outside your own back door you’ll have a personal sanctuary to step out into, and somewhere to grow healthy food, welcome in wildlife, and spend time with family and friends.

In fact, gardening could be described as the Natural Health Service, as doctors recognise the numerous benefits gardening brings without the need for costly therapies and drugs, with their unwelcome side effects.

For instance, eating well can start by growing your own organic homegrown crops – all part of the ‘5 a day’ we all need. Herbs for example not only add wonderful flavours to our home cooking and teas but bring many health benefits too.

By choosing the right plants we can design gardens that encourage birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife to drop in for food, water and shelter, or even take up residence. Developing an all-year-round wildlife-friendly garden satisfies our own creativity and feeling of achievement, bringing us outside and closer to nature to reduce stress and improve our wellbeing. Contact with plants and the soil also enhances our health and boosts the immune system, too.

By creating a garden that looks great all-year-round you’ll not only have a beautiful outlook but more opportunities to be tempted outside throughout the year to stay active and grow yourself healthy.

To give your garden structure and form choose plants that offer more than one season of interest. In particular, pick evergreen plants and architectural shrubs with green, coloured or variegated foliage that also produce seasonal flowers, and perhaps fruits or berries too.

Plant these to form the backbone to your garden, giving it structure, and adding height at the back of borders. Use their bold shapes and sizes to obscure eyesores and cover boring fences, cut down noise from roads and neighbours, and create a sense of privacy and seclusion.

Choisya eg ‘Sundance’ AGM, ‘Aztec Pearl’ AGM
Hebe ‘Red Edge’ AGM
Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ AGM
Skimmia japonica ‘Fragrans’ AGM
Photinia eg ‘Red Robin’ AGM
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’  AGM
Japanese spotted laurel – Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ AGM
Osmanthus x burkwoodii AGM
Elaeagnus x submacrophylla ‘Limelight’
Euonymus, Pieris, etc, etc.
Follow ‘Gardening is good for you’ at

Being outside and getting your hands dirty is a great way of exercising. Pull those weeds out, do that pruning! Enjoy being outside, it’s good for you!

Spider proof shed!

by Diane - December 5th, 2018

Spider season hits: New spider-proof shed


With 25% of the British public admitting they’re too scared to venture into their sheds due to arachnophobia*, experts at Tiger Sheds want to tackle this head-on with the world’s first Spider Proof Shed.


No longer will you fear grabbing your gardening tools or bustling for your bike; visit your outbuilding with confidence with the Spider Proof Shed. The shed has been intelligently designed to repel spiders and unlike your standard garden shed, the whole space is airtight.


As we all know, spiders like to crawl their way through the smallest cracks and holes so the expert designers have taken extreme care to cover any potential areas that the eight-legged visitors can sneak through by including a special airtight door seal. The windows are made from toughened glass and are completely sealed in to ensure the shed is not only water resistant but spider proof too!


The shed also comes with lining paper in a sky blue colour, as this has been scientifically proven to help repel spiders. Tiger Sheds are also offering extra treatments as an upgrade with your purchase, such as treating the wood used with peppermint, citrus and insecticide; all ingredients which spiders despise!


A novelty ‘No Spiders Allowed’ sign comes as standard with your purchase, making the perfect decorative piece for your Spider Proof Shed. It even features some useful tips on keeping your shed spider free!


As an optional extra with this product, you can include our ‘Creepy Crawley’ den, which is a special home designed to attract spiders away from your much loved garden shed. The Spider Home is a dark wooden box with holes for the spiders to crawl into. The inside of the box is painted black to make it even darker to attract them to stay in the Spider Home. We suggest you place this outside your Spider Proof Shed.


Jack Sutcliffe at Tiger Sheds said: “Before developing this product our skilled design team carried out extensive research to fully understand exactly what repels spiders and keep your garden building spider-free. The product is scientifically proven to be spider proof and is the perfect shed for anyone who has a fear of spiders and wishes to enter their outbuilding in full confidence!


“For those who are still sceptical we also offer an optional six-month ‘pest test’ which will be conducted by a fully trained member of the Tiger Sheds team who will carefully inspect your Spider Proof Shed for any spiders. If we do find any, these will be carefully removed and a full investigation will take place into how this may have occurred.


For more information on the worlds first Spider Proof Shed please visit:


Results are in for Heligan’s First Rare Breed Poultry Show

by Diane - November 27th, 2018

Results are in for Heligan’s

First Rare Breed Poultry Show

The Lost Gardens of Heligan played host to its first Rare Breed Poultry Show, with an invitation to take part opened out to all local poultry and waterfowl keepers.  There were over 80 categories and the event saw just under 700 people on the day, which was co-hosted with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Poultry Club of GB and the Rare Poultry Society and was the third Rare Breed event to be held at Heligan this year.

“Thanks must go to the representatives from RBST, Poultry Club of GB and Rare Poultry Society who gave great assistance in the planning and delivery of the event. It was a fantastic day and we are absolutely delighted as a Rare Breed Park to be able to be a platform for events such as this within the South West.” Laura Chesterfield, Heligan Livestock Experience Manager.


Judges Kevin Dowrick and Simon James commented on the quality of the birds shown, especially the waterfowl and turkeys. Many of the birds entered met competitive show standards and were fantastic examples of these rare breeds.


Angela Kingsnorth from the RBST, who co- hosted the event commented “holding an event like this that purely highlights the rare breeds is an important progressive step for RBST in collaborating with farm parks that creatively bring rare breeds to a wide audience”.


The show received entries from 10 of the 11 heritage rare Turkey breeds, which in itself is a rare sight and makes it the third largest turkey show in the UK, held this year. Kind support was given to Heligan by Turkey Club of Great Britain, who sent rosettes for the turkey classes.


Heligan’s very own poultry made their debut in the show ring and made exciting placings with their beautiful Silver Appleyard Drake taking 1st place in the Appleyard class, their 2018 hatched Shetland duck winning the Shetland class and their lavender booted bantam winning the 2018 hatched bantam class.


Winners and results 

Best bantam- Nankin bantam cockerel, owned by William Merrell

Best Duck- White Campbell drake named Wilbur, owned by Peter Hayford.

Best goose- grey Toulouse Male, named John. Owned by Ed Whiteman.

Best Turkey in Show, and Best female Turkey- bronze hen, owned by Ian Waterman.

Best Male Turkey, crollwitzer Stag owned by Angela Kingsnorth.

Best hard feather chicken- Le Flèche hen owned by CS&S Davies.

Best child Handler- Lowen Smit Chesterfield (7) with Lavender a Booted bantam

Best juvenile – Josh Trew (13) with Millie, a Lemon MilleFleur Sablepoot.

Reserve Show Champion cup, donated by Roger Thomas, awarded to the Best Bantam.

The Heligan Show champion cup was awarded to the Best Duck.

Asian Hornet Map

by Diane - November 17th, 2018

Not a hugely cheery subject but one beekeepers need to be aware of: Asian hornets.
I’ve got a monitoring trap out at the moment and keep checking it regularly to see what’s in it.

The BBKA Asian Hornet map is updated each time a new sighting is confirmed by Defra.

There’s a video for the monitoring trap instructions here. Well worth making one. If you’re in a beekeeping group then you might already have discussed having an Asian hornet action team, and perhaps have had a day of making traps to ensure everyone has one.

The BBKA have a leaflet that has the identification information on. This can be given away to anyone who might spend time outside and might observe insects!