The Gardens Group has a longstanding and continuous commitment to the local area. Not because it has to for reasons of commerciality but because that is the only way owners Mike and Louise Burks work. From supporting local charity events with pot plants to offering a building as a community resource for adults with learning difficulties, community support is central, and essential, to the ethos of The Gardens Group.
In July 2013, Castle Gardens in Sherborne worked with The Gryphon School, a local secondary school, on its Enterprise scheme which saw the students help prepare gardens for the Sherborne in Bloom 2013 awards. Time, resources, and expertise were donated for the planting day during which seven sites in the town were transformed. What’s more, local schools are regularly invited for tours to learn about seeds, different plant families, and edible plants and fruit trees. Children are encouraged to smell, feel, taste and even listen to the plants, and they all leave having planted a pot with five or six plants which they take home to make the visit truly memorable
Gardening Clubs and other organisations
The Gardens Group is equally committed to supporting and encouraging gardening clubs in the surrounding area, so experts on different gardening subjects from our team give their time voluntarily and travel to 80 clubs in Dorset. They take plants along, discuss a wide variety of gardening topics, and sponsor award cards for more than 12 of the gardening clubs.
The Green Shed
Castle Gardens is home to The Green Shed which was ‘born’ in 2010, and provides work opportunities for adults with learning difficulties. All of the products that are made by The Green Shed, such as kindling, are sold at Castle Gardens and the money made goes back into supporting The Green Shed. More than this, the team at The Green Shed is very much a part of everyday life in the garden centre – at tea breaks, lunch and events – there is a feeling of being part of a larger team and this has directly benefitted both the garden centre and The Green Shed.
The Gardens Group is involved daily with local community groups, such as Sherborne Town Band which Castle Gardens has continued to sponsor for the last 14 years, providing £20,000 to keep the traditional band going.
Working with the community is not seen as a chore, it is an enjoyable and enriching part of daily life and part of its dedication to providing a place filled with enthusiasm for gardening, wildlife and food. Local schools, charities, rugby, football and cricket teams, nursery children, residents in local nursing homes and the Alms Houses, and community projects of all kinds are all seen as opportunities to get involved – and that is central to the ethos of The Gardens Group.