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A tapestry of Spring

A tapestry of Spring

It feels like a tipping point in the season. A surge of energy gathering momentum. Pink-cheeked magnolias keeping company with stellata, more spools of ribbon blowing in the breeze, but Joshua Sparkes has already got his feet firmly planted in the next season. Not so...
Seasonal botanical prints

Seasonal botanical prints

Nature never stands still. Not for a moment. A restless twitching of energy framed by the seasons and textured by the very best of British weather in all it various humours, both light and dark. It’s what makes the mornings endlessly nuanced, and chasing light such a...
Jobs in the Garden

Jobs in the Garden

First it was the snowdrops, softening the edges of February, then came the shoots and unfurlings. The wisps of pale mauve tommasinianus, before the full palette of purple crocus came bursting forth, with magnolia, hammamilis and the first flush of daffodils. An energy...
What makes a good compost

What makes a good compost

Here at Forde Abbey, we’re going to be making our first ever compost heap. In previous years, it was put in a pile and used on the farm as silage and the garden predominantly ran on masses of leaf mould. This year, we’re keen to get a compost system up and running...
How to grow for the future

How to grow for the future

Longer Summers and warmer weather might strike a chord with our nostalgic notion of childhood, but the reality for the garden is far from idyllic. Going by last years crop of vegetables in the kitchen garden, higher temperatures had less than productive yields and...
Perennial Tulips for a longer lasting display

Perennial Tulips for a longer lasting display

Velvety reds and purples under a canopy of acid green, and oranges, and whites intermingling with pinks. After the pared back minimalism of the Winter scape, a Spring catwalk of tulips and an exuberant flush of colour will be choreographed by Joshua Sparkes, our head...
Propagator Job

Propagator Job

Senior Propagator/Sales Yard Manager An exciting opportunity has arisen at Forde Abbey for a Senior Propagator to join the gardening team to raise plants for sale through the plant nursery, and to work as part of the existing gardening team with the direction of the...
Biennials

Biennials

No sooner has the tulip bulb order been dispatched, but the biennials are going in for next year’s display. Sown en masse, gently teased apart, pricked out and potted up, they’ll gather strength over the Autumn months in readiness for their part in next year’s...
Designs on the long border

Designs on the long border

The potting shed is lined with row after row of seedlings, painstakingly pricked out and potted up for the next big project later this year; digging up the entire length of the long border and replanting it with the aim of bringing back the individual characteristics...
In the potting shed

In the potting shed

Late July and the potting shed is lined with row after row of seed trays, freshly pricked out in readiness for planting this October. A rich mix of lunaria, anchusa, blood red wallflowers, verbascum blattaria alba and digitalis ‘Pam’s Choice.’ But as...
A new way of working

A new way of working

Joshua Sparkes is curious by nature. Keen to question and look at alternative practices further afield. It’s this approach that won him a coveted Winston Churchill bursary and afforded him the opportunity to travel to America for a month in June and fully immerse...
Forde Abbey Fruit Farm

Forde Abbey Fruit Farm

There’s no taste that evokes the English Summer any better than a locally grown berry. Freshly picked and still warm from the sun, they have an intense, sweet flavour. They don’t need much dressing up either. Delicious just as they are or to be enjoyed with a splash...
Old English Dorset Meadow

Old English Dorset Meadow

The sweet vernal, crested dogstail and meadow foxtails have set seed and, left uncut until July, the meadows edging the garden are a rich tapestry of textures, tassels and tufts the colour of brown sugar. Flecked with Common Spotted and Southern Marsh Orchids,...
Tulips in Spring

Tulips in Spring

They’re the welcome burst of colour in the Spring before the garden really gets going. And with such variety, that ordering the bulbs in October gets more involved with every year. What started out as a display of 13,000 bulbs back in 2013 has rapidly grown to over...
Meet the team

Meet the team

Introducing Joshua Sparkes, our new head gardener (crouching down in the photo of the gardening team). At 10.30am most days, you’ll find a neat line of boots outside the kitchen as the team down tools in search of a mid morning coffee – the perfect time to catch...
Save a South West Icon

Save a South West Icon

In 2018 we’re helping to launch a campaign to secure the future of the iconic M5 willow man who strides alongside the motorway near junction 23 at Bridgwater. Created by artist Serena de la Hey in 2000 as part of The Year of the Artist the willow man was conceived as...