flowerDid you know that the first cabbages were cultivated in Wimborne St Giles? The very first blueberry plants to arrive in this country from Canada were grown in the area and it is home of the first ever garden centre?

What better way to discover the proud horticultural heritage of East Dorset than to follow the new guide put together in partnership with specialist nurseries and local places to stay?

I had a splendid day visiting Cranborne Manor, built as a hunting lodge for King John in the 12th century; these stunning private gardens are tranquil and timeless. They surround the ancient Manor House and boast a beautiful walled garden, croquet lawn and fragrant old fashion roses. The very memorable wild flower garden shows off cowslips, ox-eye daisies and many wild orchids grow through the uncut grass.

There are five other special gardens to visit and seven specialist nurseries offering UK leading camellias, splendid heathers, azaleas, and fuchsias.

Neil Lucas, owner of Knoll Gardens and holder of ten consecutive Chelsea Gold Medals, is proud to be part of the area’s tradition.  “Specialist nurseries are the life blood of unusual and quality plants which can make a garden really special. This guide gives everyone the opportunity to discover the wealth of glorious gardens in the area”.

The guide has specially chosen places to stay, including country cottages and an Edwardian country home – all with their own delightful gardens.

If you, like me enjoying playing with plants and finding out more I suggest you head on down to tranquil rural East Dorset.