Experienced and beginner amateur gardeners

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The Kilmington Gardening Club brings together both experienced and beginner amateur gardeners in a convivial atmosphere and aims to provide a range of events throughout the year to enhance members’ gardening experience. What do we do? We:

  • organise the Kilmington Flower Show, in conjunction with the Annual Village Show
  • have monthly meetings with talks on Plants, Gardens and Gardeners – see the Annual Programme page
  • visit gardens both in the area and further afield – details on the website and at our monthly meetings
  • have a Spring Plant Market
  • exchange plants and ideas
  • enjoy discounts at local nurseries
  • are affiliated to the RHS

All this for only £7 per person per annum – terrific value! More information on how to join can be found here.

We are also members of the Gold Club, a group of Garden Centres – Brimsmore Gardens, Yeovil, Poundbury Gardens, near Dorchester and Castle Gardens, Sherborne. For more information about The Gold Club click here: http://www.thegardeneronline.co.uk/the-gold-club

Kilmington Flower Show

Our marquee at the summer Flower Show is always full of colourful flowers, vegetables and children’s exhibits, and the art and photography and home-made produce is displayed in the village hall. This year the Show is on Saturday, 23rd July.

SAVE THE DATE: The next big event in the Kilmington Gardening Club calendar is almost upon us – the Flower Show on Saturday, 23rd July. Gardening Club Members and Kilmington residents will have received a copy of the schedule, but for additional ease of planning you can access the relevant pages of the schedule via the website – they are in a PDF format so that you can print off the entry form and bring it along to the registration days as usual. Click here to have a look at the classes. Check out the ‘Tips for Exhibitors’ which give useful hints to anyone who hasn’t exhibited before. Entry forms (click here) must be completed and given to the Entry Secretary at the Village Hall during the following times:

Wednesday, 20th July 11.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Thursday, 21st July 11.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m & 4.00 p.m. – 6.30 p.m.

If you are one of the many people who have discovered gardening thanks to being locked down at home over the last two years, we hope that you will have discovered that your garden can be rewarding in so many ways – from the positive effects on mental health of being outside and ‘in touch’ with nature and the gratifying sight of home-grown fruit and vegetables (they also save money!). Growing colourful flowers lifts the spirits enormously and many flowers provide vital food for bees. So, we encourage everyone to get out there and enjoy their own space and possibly enter some of the classes in the Show! You will be more than welcome.

We look forward to seeing a bumper year for entries so start planning now!!

On Friday, 10th June, we were treated to a talk by James Cross, Head Gardener of the Bishop’s Palace Gardens in Wells on the past, present and future of the gardens. James has been Head Gardener for the past eighteen years and runs the fourteen-acre site with the help of five full-time gardeners and around thirty volunteers.

The Bishop’s Palace dates from the early 13th century. It is surrounded by a moat filled by springs rising in the Palace gardens, fed by water from the Mendips. The rampart offers lovely views of the gardens and the rampart bank has become a wild-flower meadow filled in Spring with camassias, primroses and orchids. Passing through the Gatehouse, visitors first see the immaculately tended croquet lawn, then pass through an archway into the South Lawn. In the 1600s this area was laid out as a formal Dutch garden with parterres, topiary and a canal. In the 1820s Bishop Law demolished two walls of the ruined Great Hall, added height to the remaining wall and created a garden in the then popular Picturesque style, which James has tried to re-create using the very limited archive material available. Specimen trees such as Mulberry, Tulip, Indian Bean and a mature Gingko add height and character to the area. The beds are planted mainly with shrubs and perennials giving colour and leaf structure throughout the year – the south side of the wall with sun-loving planting, the north side with plants more suited to shade.

The East Gardens, originally laid out in the Victorian period, featured twelve pillar yews representing the twelve apostles. They fell into disuse following the First World War, offering a blank canvas for James and his team who have created a new parterre, the beds edged with Euonymus ‘Jean Hughes’ with Cydonia (quince) trees at their centres. Irish yews pay homage to the 19C planting. Alongside the parterre is a hot border with colourful flowers such as Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Achillea ‘Cloth of Gold’, Echinops and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. Another feature is the stumpery, planted with moisture- and shade-loving plants such as bergenias, tree ferns, hostas, hellebores and epimediums. In front of the oriel window is a newly developed knot garden shaped like a portcullis to reflect the crest in the window glass; and in front of the old apple store there are beds with more relaxed, prairie-style planting.

Across the moat are lawns, borders and shady spring-fed pools. The rose-covered Well House was given to the people of Wells in 1530. A boardwalk leads to St Andrew’s Well, a shady area filled with damp-loving plants such as hostas, astilbes, rodgersias, Primula bulleyana, irises and rheums. The choice of plants was inspired by Beth Chatto’s damp garden. The long border was originally designed by Mary Keen but was re-planted in 2016 to provide a long season of interest.

Beyond the well pools lies the Quiet Garden, a contemporary space designed for contemplation in a glade of silver birches under-planted with wildflowers. A Colour Garden filled with bright bedding plants echoes the stained-glass window of the Lady Chapel in the Cathedral. In the Community Garden, volunteers and community groups produce vegetables and fruit for the Palace café. The Arboretum was designed in 1977 by Sir Harold Hillier to commemorate the Queen’s 25th Jubilee. Trees here include Silver Lime, Paulownia, Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ and Persian Ironwood growing amid a succession of snowdrops, primroses, daffodils, camassias, cow parsley and orchids.

James has clearly used his eighteen years at the Bishop’s Palace to great effect. Those listeners who had not already seen these beautiful gardens were most certainly inspired to pay a visit.

Beverley Perkins

Annual Membership

The cost of annual membership in 2022 remains at only £7 per person, which entitles you to free admission to our interesting monthly talks held in Kilmington Village Hall on the second Friday of the month.
Application Form

Upcoming Visits And Events


B. J. Lewis (President)


Mary-Anne Driscoll (Chairman)


Beverley Perkins (Secretary and Membership Secretary)


Jean Falconer (Show Secretary)


Jennie Seaton (Treasurer)


Christine Mills (Outings Secretary)

Tel: 01297-599018

Jane Chalk (Vice-Chairman and Plant Market Organiser)

Tel: 01297-33063

Lesley Rew (Talks Organiser)

Tel: 07900-827689