Toby Buckland’s Gardening Festival 2014

Powderham Castle

The inaugural local gardening festival

Yesterday was the first Toby Buckland Gardening Festival held at Powderham Castle in Kenton near Exeter. It’s been widely advertised in the local area and was generating lots of excitement on twitter this week.

Powderham Castle is a beautiful setting looking out onto the estuary and surrounded with acres of parkland. It’s also home to Toby Buckland’s nursery. I took my mum and the other half to have a look around yesterday.

A marquee was set up in the ground to host the guest speakers
A marquee was set up in the ground to host the guest speakers

South West nurseries proudly showing their best

It was great to see so many stalls attending the event and quite a few were showing off what the south west has to offer. Hill House Nursery were there and Ray did a talk in the morning. Heucheraholics had a good selection but the prize for most colourful stand goes to Avon Bulbs .

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Getting there and parking

The site is easy to find on the A-road between Exeter and Dawlish. We were able to park in the disabled area but still had a bit of a hike up the hill into the castle itself. For everyone else there was a good 10 minute walk through the grounds from the parking field. Although if you’re steady on your pins it’s a great walk past the lake in the sunshine!

Hill House Nursery on the rose terrace
Hill House Nursery on the rose terrace

There were lots of stalls on the lower terrace offering furniture and some informative stands on composting and other topics. There weren’t as many gardening sundries stands but I see this as only a good thing. My attention was on the plants and often find novelty sign stands an irritation. There were loads of good food outlets available. We were really lucky and arrived at a vendor when there was no queue and a table available – within 2 minutes of tucking in there was a queue. We all joined in with our favourite chorus of ‘timed that right’.

As well the nurseries there was a speakers tent where a program of talks was delivered. We caught part of a question and answer session with Anne Swithinbank and Jim Buttress.

My 2 companions went away happy with bunches of cut flowers from The Good Flower Company. I was very restrained and bought 2 chilli plants from the Dartmoor Chilli Farm to replace my failing seedlings. Overall it was a great afternoon out, lots of good food, fantastic weather, and a great selection of local and national nurseries.

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