As we end a balmy summer week celebrating British flowers, our beautiful rolling countryside is home to some unique and fascinating projects.
Keyneston Mill is the creative and experimental Dorset home of Parterre Fragrances and is the largest private botanic gardens in the country dedicated solely to aromatic and scented plants exclusively for inclusion in their Fragrances.
I spent the morning with head gardener Nanette, as she took me on a journey of botanical discovery to explain how she is taking the vision of Keyneston Mill’s founders, David and Julia, and is creating an art-inspired garden with a very unique purpose.
All the key ingredients of Parterre fragrances are grown, harvested and distilled on site, and yet the 50-acre estate offers a diverse experience for every garden enthusiast. I wanted to know how Nanette has managed to marry a visitor garden alongside fragrance production so successfully.
All the unusual and exotic species at Keyneston Mill are grown and cultivated by a skilled botanical team lead by Nanette, and there have been some unique fragrance discoveries along the way - vetiver, a perennial grass with heavy, earthy, slightly sweet lemony fragrance being one of them.
Just beyond the cafe and distillery are the polytunnels, where more exotic plants have braved the wintry weather, and row upon row of plant cuttings begin their seed to bottle journey. The delight of creative botany meets artistry unfurls before your eyes as you venture out into the garden collections, and I couldn’t help but feel uplifted and inspired by the gentle development of the Parterre vision.