Teachers Open Day Saturday October 19th

Free open day welcomes teachers to wildlife friendly garden

Wimborne’s Knoll Gardens is inviting teachers to visit free-of-charge on Saturday 19 October. Featuring stunning autumn colour, the garden which is renowned for its ornamental grasses and naturalistic style, is a perfect late season visit.

The free Teachers’ Open Day has been organised by the Knoll Gardens Foundation which exists to promote the benefits of its naturalistic style and offer ideas to help everyone welcome wildlife into their gardens.

”Teachers can play an incredibly important role in inspiring the next generation of gardeners and opening their eyes to the amazing range of wildlife a garden can support,” said Knoll Gardens Foundation Chairman Peter Gear, “As we celebrate our first autumn Festival of Grasses at Knoll we were keen to encourage local teachers to come along and see what we are up to in east Dorset, and hopefully provide the inspiration to get involved with our drive to promote wildlife-friendly gardening across the generations.”


Knoll Gardens’ Teachers’ Open Day is one of a series of Community Open Days run by the charity throughout the year.

Teachers will be admitted free-of-charge to the garden from 11 am – 4pm on Saturday 19 October and are asked to show appropriate ID on arrival to prove their teaching status.



Late Season Reports

Approaching the end of the counting season, the latest reports from our lepidopterology and odonatology expert, Keith Powrie

Week 25

This week was pretty much the same as last week – just that the cold nights have reduced the numbers.

No Brimstones, nor Peacocks were found but Speckled Wood numbers increased and the late Holly Blue was still in attendance.

The inquisitive Southern Hawker was still patrolling Dragon Pond and, a surprise to us all, was a Black Darter, in exactly the same place as one was seen at the end of last season

Speckled Wood

Black Darter

Last week next week – weather forecast not good, however!

Week 24

Despite it being near the end of the counting season 22 butterflies, of 9 different species, were seen this week.

Migrants such as Small White and Painted Lady were still in evidence. Home-grown Large Whites and Peacocks were also present, along with a rather late Meadow Brown.

Painted Lady


Large White

Meadow Brown

Last week, no dragonflies were seen at all.

This week, however, an inquisitive Southern Haker inspected us closely, as we walked round Dragon Pond. The wooden hoops, bordering the new plot,  outh-west of the Forum, proved to be ideal resting places for Common  arters, with 2 males perched on adjacent hoops.


Southern Hawker


Common Darter

September Quartet – Upcoming events

Everyone will have their own particular interests but there’s no denying that Knoll Gardens hosts a wonderful set of contrasting of events.

A look at the Knoll Gardens Events Page  recently, provided a good  example across just  three days coming soon in September!!

Outdoor Yoga

September 12, 2019 9:00 am – 10:00 am £8.00

Come and enjoy outdoor yoga in the tranquillity of Knoll’s glorious naturalistic garden before it opens to the public. Dependant on the weather the class will either by on mats on the lawn if warm and sunny; a yoga walk around the gardens if a little chilly; or under the marquee if a little wet. With 18 years of experience, Yoga Therapist Jackie Hayfield may include flowing movements with the breath, standing postures, breath work, guided relaxation and meditation in the garden. Booking essential.

More information and booking:Jackie Hayfield 07955 587772 or Jackie.hayfield@sky.com


Grass Masterclass

September 12, 2019 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm £35.00

Spend the afternoon with the UK’s leading authority on ornamental grasses as Knoll Gardens owner, Neil Lucas shares his wealth of knowledge and draws from personal experience and Knoll’s stunning autumn displays to provide practical advice. From maintenance to design, Neil covers all you need to know about grasses and how to use them in a garden setting.

Book Online

To obtain special RHS MEMBERS PRICE of £28 please phone nursery direct and quote membership number.

Friday; Dorset Wildlife Trust Members Day

September 13, 2019 10:00 am – 4:00 pm free to DWT members

Meet up with representatives of Dorset’s largest conservation charity and discover how Knoll’s naturalistic gardening ethos continues to create a garden that welcomes wildlife as well as providing year-round beauty.

In recent years, Knoll’s charitable arm, the Knoll Gardens Foundation has been working very closely with Dorset Wildlife Trust. On this special day DWT members and volunteers can visit the gardens free of charge on production of a valid DWT membership card or proof of volunteering status. And, anyone joining DWT on the day will have their garden admission charge refunded.

No booking required. Normal garden admission charges apply to all non DWT members.

On this special day for every full price ticket purchased £5 will be donated to the garden’s charity, the Knoll Gardens Foundation.

Better plant and garden photography workshop with Philip Smith

September 14, 2019 6:30 am – 12:30 pm £70.00

Join professional photographer Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year on this special course starting with the magic of the early morning light in the garden. A tutor with the Royal Photographic Society, Philip will help you gain the skills and techniques to move out of your comfort zone to take great pictures. Topics covered include lighting, composition, exposure and macro photography as well as help to ensure you are getting the best out of your existing equipment. All levels of experience welcome.

Following a short practical demonstration of Philip’s approach to garden photography, you will have a unique opportunity to photograph the garden for yourselves with Philip on hand to offer one-to-one guidance and help. The day will conclude with an illustrated lecture providing practical ideas and principles for you to integrate into your own photography.

Please note this is a practical workshop. All levels of experience are welcome, but basic familiarity with your camera kit is assumed as well as a willingness to experiment with ideas and techniques.

Ticket price includes coffee and cake.

Book online.



Painted Ladies Here

A further report from our lepidopterology and odonatology expert, Keith Powrie

Just managed to fit in a count between days of wind & rain – again!

The walk started off cloudy but the sun eventually emerged and wow – What a show!

The average count for Week 20 is 24.  Yesterday’s count was 29. The most numerous were Painted Ladies.3 were seen on one patch of Verbena, with another one nearby. These beautiful Nymphalids migrated from the continent in late spring, assisted by the south/south-westerly winds.  The arrived in sufficient numbers to enable them to find mates and produce the summer brood that now adorn the nectar plants in the Gardens.

Painted Lady
© Keith Powrie

A rather tatty Common Blue was also seen.  Its bright blue scales having been lost to the rain and wind. Dragonfly numbers have also been affected by the inclement weather.

A Southern Hawker was found resting by the Lower Falls Pond.  This species has emerged nearly 2 months later than last year.

Southern Hawker
© Keith Powrie

A Ruddy Darter was observed holding territory on Dragon Pond – chasing off a Similar looking Common Darter.

A single Common Blue-tailed Damselfly was the remnant of this year’s damselflies,also seen on Dragon Pond.


Annual Garden Survey – Pictures

As you may be aware, our Annual Garden Survey took place on 6th August. Here are some pitures from the setup and the day.

The results from the survey showing species found are available here

Jan Freeborn organises mammal trap preparation aided by Rosina Henderson

Family fun identifying wildlife at Knoll Garden’s Foundation Annual Garden Wildlife Survey 2019

Common Frog assists with the Survey Form completion

Foundation volunteer Rob Bascombe goes reptile surveying

Juvenile Grass Snake in Rob Bascombe’s hand

Looking for pollinators with KGF bumblebee surveyor and charity trustee, Rowena Jecock

Wildlife Indentification in the Marquee

Searching for Bees in the Bee Hotel

Looking for Wildlife?

Nicky Hoar, Dorset Wildlife Trust updates the board with the help of a young volunteer

More updates being made by our helpers

Moth Watch

We will shortly be conducting another Moth Watch here in the Garden and it will be interesting to see how it compares against our last Watch in July.

The results from July were most illuminating. The Great Reveal, always an exciting time, this year  helped us record  a total of 58 species in all.

We were most grateful to Mark Spencer from Bournemouth Natural Science Society for setting up the moth trap and recording and helping us identify our  visitors.

Below some images from the survey:-

The Reveal in progress

Scarce Merveille du jour

Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing

The trap in situ

What a difference a few days make

Two reports here from our lepidopterology and odonatology expert, Keith Powrie demonstrating the difference only a few days can make in the Garden. Read on for Weeks 15 and 16 below!

Week 15

Another poor count week. It seems July isn’t going to be much better than June! Just 15 butterflies were counted.

The average for this week at Knoll is 32.

The most common, with counts of 4, were Green-veined Whites and Ringlets. The only ondonata present were Azure Damselflies, with no dragonflies being seen at all!

© Keith Powrie

Azure Damselfly
© Keith Powrie

Week 16

What a difference a few days makes!

On the 12th, the Week 15 count yielded just 15 butterflies of 7 species.

A few days later, on the 15th, Week 16’s count was 31 butterflies of 11 different species.

Mind you, the presence of some sunshine does help!
Several new species were enticed onto the wing:

Small White – usually as a migrant, brought over on southerly winds from the Continent.
Comma – 1st brood from overwintering adults.
Gatekeeper – single brooded in mid summer.
Holly Blue – first appearance of 2nd brood.

The cool conditions between the short bouts of warm sunshine, have curtailed the emergence of dragonflies. A few Azure Damselflies were pairing up and egg-laying, but only one Large Red Damselfly was seen.

The only dragonfly seen was a male Brown Hawker – searching for a mate. Let’s hope he finds one soon, before the next lot of bad weather arrives!

Some distance from any water feature, was the discovery of an adult Banded Demoiselle.

© Keith Powrie

Brown Hawker
© Keith Powrie

Every creature counts – Annual Garden Wildlife Survey

Annual Garden Wildlife Survey Tuesday 6th August
This year’s Annual Garden Wildlife Survey takes place on Tuesday 6 August from 10am – 3pm normal garden admission costs apply. There’s no need to book, and £5 of each garden admission ticket will be donated to the Knoll Gardens Foundation.

If you’d like to know more about the wide variety of creatures that may be living in your garden the Knoll Gardens Annual Garden Wildlife Survey is a great place to start. Led by experts from the Dorset Wildlife Trust, this special day takes place every year to create a vital snapshot of the wildlife activity in this east Dorset garden. The survey provides an important year-on-year record, and offers the opportunity for everyone with an interest in wildlife to get involved – beginners and experts alike.

Learning more about the relationship between Knoll’s flora and fauna is a key part of the work of the Knoll Gardens Foundation, the garden-based charity set up to understand the ecology of the garden and encourage others to adopt techniques that benefit the gardener and garden wildlife. In addition to the Annual Garden Wildlife Survey the Foundation also organises regular surveys of its populations of birds, butterflies, moths, bees, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals and bats.

“2019 has already seen some unusual sightings across the country with hot weather in Europe bringing an influx of Painted Lady butterflies in June and  unusual birds including the European Bee Eater and Purple herons”, said Knoll’s owner Neil Lucas.

“Whilst we are not expecting to spot anything as substantial as a heron, we will be on the lookout for rare Scarce Chaser dragonflies as we have had a female guarding her territory by a pond for nearly two months and would love to see her find a mate”.

Scarce Chaser (female)
© Keith Powrie

Painted Lady
© Keith Powrie

“Last year the survey also found an amazing variety of other insects including long-winged Conehead crickets, Batman hoverflies, Beewolf wasps and Fork-tailed Flower Bees. We hope they are all still thriving alongside the garden’s many other insects, birds, mammals and reptiles. I’d encourage everyone to come along and find out more about the wide range of creatures that may be living in their own gardens.”

This year’s Annual Garden Wildlife Survey takes place on Tuesday 6 August from 10am – 3pm normal garden admission costs apply.  There’s no need to book, and £5 of each garden admission ticket will be donated to the Knoll Gardens Foundation.

Daily Echo Article re the survey here