Festival Part One. The Open Gardens Fete with invited Artists
Sunday 9th June

A pioneer Festival of Landscape Painting in the English Landscape.
This is more than an exhibition it is an opportunity to see unique Artists making active and spontaneous responses to Landscape and Nature through observation and abstraction; they achieve their compositions en plein air balancing energy and tenderness.

We invite you to refresh your vision by considering the various Artists different ways of doing and seeing.
and we invite you to compare individual actions and cast a vote for the action and the work.

An event with insights for the Visitors and the Artists
In aid of The Friends of St. Nicholas Church.
Sunday 9th June 2024
In conjunction with Open Gardens, Abbotsbury Village belonging to three historic houses and two commercial gardens,

ABBEY HOUSE (guest house),
as well as ABBEY FARM FLOWERS a commercial garden
on the slope opposite the lake with a view of the Tithe Barn,

also BEE NICE BLOOMS a long established commercial garden with wide vistas of Landscape, overlooking the village rooftops and the chapel on the hill.

Tickets at the Garden Gates of :
the Manor House and the Old Gatehouse
for Open Gardens (noon – 5pm) – £5
Also tickets for the Evening Reception in Grand Barn
(5pm – 7pm) – £10.
Combined ticket : £15
No tickets required to the Grand Barn Exhibition before 4pm.


Four Gardens are in the centre of the village close to our base at the Tithe Barn, in these four Gardens our invited Artists, described in the catalogue, will be at work.

The fifth Garden “Bee Nice Blooms”, off Back Street, follow an entrance through a gate nearly opposite Rosemary Lane is where our “Wild Card” Artists will be working.

Wild Cards, ingenious and committed mostly part time or amateur Artists; they will have a parallel judging process and the two winners of this group will take their work to the Tithe Barn reception to be judged with the invited Artists at five o’clock.


The Manor House is listed Grade II* and sits within the site of the scheduled monument of St. Peter’s Abbey. The house is u shaped consisting of of two connecting wings. The north wing was built late in the 16th century and the south wing in the 17th century. The timing of the connecting section remains a bit of a mystery. It is not a purpose built manor house and basin fact originally two separate detached dwellings; it has been heavily adapted over the centuries and contains lots of interesting and conflicting external architectural features, the stone steps in the courtyard notably coming from Kingston Russell House in the Bridge Valley.

The Garden also has a story to tell, being significantly extended westward into the adjoining field in the early 1980s by the then occupier, The Hon Charlotte Townshend. This new garden area and existing garden was designed and adapted by designer Ian Tay. Mrs Townshend left the house on the death of her mother in 1989 and for the following 24 years the house was rented to various occupiers, the result being that the garden slowly became overgrown and by 2013 was fully derelict.

The current occupier, Mrs Townshend’s son, took over the house in 2014 and has quickly implemented incremental but regular restoration works. The early years being slow, maJustin ny consisted clearances try and restore some of the original design structures. Around 2018 the decisions taken to remove all borders along the full western side and turn it into an arboretum area. Following consultation with designer Justin Spink, major hard and soft landscaping works started in July 2019 to provide a new southern terrace with metal pergola, garden pavilion, and rationalised gravel car parking area. Crucially these works sought to bolt onto a major reorientation of the living arrangement within the house through recommissioning of an old southerly kitchen. All these works were completed in early January 2022.

In the last 3 years, garden designer Daniel Combes has been engaged to help restore or adapt existing borders and specify new specimen shrubs; the focus has been on low maintenance, drought and coastal tolerance plants. you may also notice an unattractive fence – this waserrected around the pond in March 2023 to hopefully divert the resident toddlers away from the water.


The Old Gatehouse is a Grade 1* listed building. The tallest part was the 14th century gatehouse to the original Abbey Barn. This was approached from the garden side, the grand archway entrance now blocked by a 16th century addition, but the exit arch into the (then) walled Abbey precinct is visible from the street. Above it are the windows of the chequer, the room where tithes were counted. Further along is the original doorway, now an arched window, to the gatekeepers quarters. The external steps have long gone but a faint trace of them is discernible in the rough stone.

In the17th century a smaller house (village end) was built on, the two being only internally connected fifty years ago. Until the middle of the last century, part of the house was used as a dairy and the building known as the Dairy House. The house has been lived in by the Neuberger family since 1984 when they began to create a garden from the field around the house.

ABBEY HOUSE (guest house)
Has a beautiful garden with views of the Abbey Farm complex and the wider landscape including St. Catherine’s Chapel

A view from Abbey House terrace

Has a history going back to the Abbey, it is an ancient building probably the monastery infirmary.

The abbey of St Peter at Abbotsbury housed a Benedictine community founded in 1044 by Orc, a house steward of King Cnut. Its layout probably followed the normal Benedictine pattern of that time, with the monastic buildings grouped around a cloister to the south of the church.

Within the walled precinct of the abbey, up to 30 black-robed monks followed the orderly routine of work, study and prayer laid down for them in St Benedict’s rule, saying mass for the soul of their founder and for the souls of anyone else generous enough to donate property to the community.


A View from Abbey Farm Flowers

Abbey Farm Flowers is situated on the slope between the churchyard and the Abbey Farm complex. There are great views from here across the lake to the Grand Medieval Barn. Up the slope there are magnificent views to St.Catherines Chapel on the hill.

“We are open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with plants, cut flowers, vases & ceramics, hot drinks, homemade cakes, cards, ice-creams and more. We have Pick Your Own from mid March until late October, after which we’ll be open for shopping and then Christmas wreaths and trees.

We have lots of plans for 2024. We’ve added more beds, so more flowers, and have created an interesting mix of shrubs, annuals and perennials so that we should have a season full of colour. We have added a lot more dahlias, as that seems to be what people love! “


Also nestled in the picturesque Jurassic coast village of Abbotsbury, with good views across the wide open landscape as well as across the village roofs to the historic St. Catherine’s Chapel.

Bee NIce Blooms is located only a stone’s throw from the family home of East Farm; it is a haven of tranquillity and indulgence for the senses.

It is a place where Samantha Wood owner of Bee Nice Blooms, is firmly rooted and as a part of a 6th generation local farming family, experienced in getting the best out of nature.

St. Catherine’s Chapel from Bee Nice Blooms

Bee Nice Blooms will be proud to host todays invited Wildcard entries for the Landscape Art event.
Wild Cards, ingenious and committed mostly part time or amateur Artists; they will have a parallel judging process and the two winners of this group will take their work to the Tithe Barn reception to be judged with the invited Artists at five o’clock.

Over the past 20 years, Samantha has specialised in garden design and providing gardening services to many grateful local people and has obtained multiple recognised qualifications via the RHS and City and Guilds, bringing assurance and piece of mind to her clients. Utilising these skills, this oasis of floral delight is expertly managed through her passion and dedication for flowers, bees and all things natural.

Grown as nature intended, you now have the opportunity to benefit from Bee Nice Blooms and their nurturing care and love, by purchasing their high-quality seasonal flowers. Imagine the smell as you dive into a posies of beautiful sustainable flowers, secure in the knowledge that they have been grown ecologically on a no dig system and cut fresh from the farm and bespoke to you.