Welcome to Toby’s Garden Festival!
Now in our fifth year, the festival is a two-day celebration of gardening held in spring at Powderham Castle near Exeter and in early autumn at Forde Abbey, Chard in Somerset.
Toby’s Garden Festival started life in 2014 when Toby and his wife Lisa decided to create a gardening event which champions smaller, specialist nurseries, to give them a chance to reach a wider audience and allow gardeners to get the best advice. The first Garden Festival took place at Powderham Castle near Exeter to popular acclaim and is now an award-winning event, returning for its fifth year in April 2018.
Past speakers have included BBC One Show’s Christine Walkden, Joe Swift and Adam Frost from BBC Gardeners World, Pippa Greenwood and Anne Swithinbank from BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time.
Our ethos is to work with local nurseries, artisans and craftspeople, to promote local, quality and home-grown. Past feedback from visitors tells us we are friendly, welcoming, polished, vibrant and unstuffy – and it’s our aim to improve every year, getting better but not necessarily bigger!
In 2017, we were proud to become a Devon Tourism Awards winner in the category of Tourism Event of the Year, taking home a Bronze award.
Toby’s Garden Festivals are organised in partnership with Country Gardener Magazines – now established as the gardening authority on local gardening in the South West, Cotswolds and Hampshire. Over 120,000 copies are distributed every issue to a loyal and enthusiastic readership. Started in a small way in Devon in 1997, the free magazine has grown into several larger, more colourful editions covering four counties and a vast area around the Cotswolds, following the full gardening season from early spring to Christmas. Its readership is now an estimated 250,000. It is published ten times a year. www.countrygardener.co.uk Tel 01823 431767
Powderham Castle (Garden Festival 28th-29th April 2017) is the family home of the Earl & Countess of Devon and is located in a unique, picturesque setting just outside Exeter, on the banks the Exe estuary. The Courtenay family has lived at Powderham since building the Castle in 1390, and for over 600 years the family has farmed, tended and enhanced the remarkable landscape that surrounds it. The Castle and grounds are a popular tourist attraction, open to the public from April to October and available all year for concerts, weddings and corporate events along with lavish accommodation. Only eight miles from Junction 30 of the M5 on the A379 between Exeter and Dawlish, www.powderham.co.uk Tel 01626 890243
Once described as “The most perfect monastery in England,” Forde Abbey is a beacon of elegant antiquity set on the Somerset/Dorset border. Built almost 900 years ago by Cistercian monks, the Abbey is now a family home to Julian and Alice Kennard and their three children Ben, Sam and Marcia and their two pet spaniels Pixel and Photo. A past winner of the HHA’s Christie’s Garden of the Year, the place still embodies the serenity and philosophy of the order who lived, prayed and farmed there. Forde is home to two champion trees, a 1700-acre working farm with prize-winning herd of Ruby Red cattle and one of oldest Shetland ponies in the UK. The Kennard family continues to live and work there in an informal style and where visitors will always receive a warm welcome. Follow daily life at Forde Abbey on instagram or on facebook and twitter, or visit the website www.fordeabbey.co.uk