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Toby Buckland announces New Garden & Harvest Festival at Forde Abbey

There’s an exciting new date on the gardening calendar – Toby’s Garden Festivals have teamed up with Forde Abbey in Somerset to create a brand-new annual event, Toby’s Garden & Harvest Festival.

Running on 16th and 17th September 2017, Toby’s new festival is destined to be a practical celebration of Autumn gardening and the harvest, delivering all the horticultural delights that fans of the festival have come to expect, including quality West Country nurseries, celebrity speakers and practical demonstrations, along with delicious local food and entertainments in a picturesque location.

With so much to do at this productive time of year, the theme of the festival is ‘Autumn Harvest’, aiming to give gardeners a cornucopia of plants and information to bring back into their plots, including trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs with lots of advice on what to do now. There will also be fantastic shopping with ample opportunity to stock up on beautiful, well-grown plants, from experts and purchase local crafts and gifts, perhaps even to make a start on that Christmas list!

Toby says, “I’m delighted to bring the GardenFest to Forde Abbey, not least because the gardens there are stunning in early autumn, with its aster-filled Herbaceous Border, beautiful trees and abundant Kitchen Garden which will make a spectacular backdrop.”

The setting for the Festival will be in and around Forde Abbey itself. Founded by Cistercian monks over 800 years ago, it became one of the wealthiest and most learned monasteries in

the country. After the dissolution in 1539, the Abbey lay empty for 100 years until in 1649 it was transformed into the magnificent house it is today.

Set in thirty acres, Forde Abbey’s award-winning gardens make a fitting location for the Festival’s nursery exhibitors, boasting abundant herbaceous borders, a bog garden, arboretum, lakes and a working Kitchen Garden which will be the location for our practical demo’s. The Great Pond is monastic while the chain of ponds leading from it was laid out in the 1700s and is one of the earliest examples of landscape gardening.

Forde Abbey has been owned by the Kennard family since 1869 with current custodians Julian and Alice Kennard the sixth generation to live and work there.

Alice Kennard says, “”I’m very much looking forward to welcoming Toby and his team to Forde Abbey next September for an Autumn plant fair that celebrates the very best of what’s in season.”

The celebrity talks which run both days of the Festival will take place inside the historic building, located in the Great Hall, recently the setting for the Corn Exchange in Thomas Vinterberg’s 2015 adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd starring Carey Mulligan. There will also be a secondary set of speakers  based in adjacent Chapel.

Festival-goers will be treated to the sight of the UK’s highest powered water feature, Forde Abbey’s famous ‘Centenary Fountain’ which creates a spectacular 160ft plume visible for miles around when it’s turned on at intervals throughout the event.

Early birds can get discounted tickets at a rate of £10 instead of the usual gate fee of £12 by logging onto www.tobygardenfest.co.uk and buying online in advance, plus children under 16 go free. The group rate is £8.50 for 10 people and over.


Toby’s Garden & Harvest Festival – Adult tickets, £12 on the gate, £10 in advance online, Children under 16 free, £8.50 for groups more than 10 and garden clubs – Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September 2017 10-5pm at Forde Abbey, Chard, Somerset TA20 4LU

For information and tickets, www.tobygardenfest.co.uk

Note to Editors

Toby Buckland is a qualified horticulturist, TV broadcaster, author and a lifelong gardener whose career has taken him from professional gardener to presenter of numerous TV shows. Toby is also an award-winning garden designer. In 2014 Toby decided to create a gardening event which champions the 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 to popular acclaim and is now a premier gardening event in the South West returning for a fourth year in April 2017 as an annual festival.

Toby Buckland Garden Festivals are organised by 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

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

PRESS CONTACT For further information, images or to arrange interviews with Toby contact Lisa Buckland on 07561 261615 or lisa@tobygardenfest.co.uk

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