The leaves are unfolding and the buds are opening in front of our eyes! Not to forget our noses…spring is bringing freshness and zest on the breeze, adding to our sense of wellbeing.

So what better place to go at this time of year than Keyneston Mill, the Dorset home of all things fragrant!  This botanic garden and 50-acre working estate dedicated to scented and aromatic plants, is where the key ingredients for the beautiful Parterre perfumes are grown.  Open to the public daily, you can visit the show gardens where wallflowers, narcissi, tulips and early-flowering magnolia, are followed by a magnificent display of irises, peonies and roses plus a gamut of other more unusual fragrant gems.  You are encouraged to rub leaves and sniff as you wander, imbibing fragrance at every turn!

If the mood takes you, you can stride out and explore the rest of the estate which encompasses the fern garden, with its contemporary design, large corten steel ponds and unfurling fern fronds, and the naturally beautiful water meadow where you might see nesting swans, spot egret or even a flash of iridescent plumage as a kingfisher flies by.  At the far end of the Avenue you will come to the delightfully overgrown Lost Orchard where, from late April to mid-May the apple blossom is abuzz with bees from the estate’s own hives.

Alfresco dining at the Scented Botanist Bistro

Feast with your Eyes (and your Palate)

After your walk we strongly recommend a visit to the bistro, The Scented Botanist, where the food is beautifully presented and equally delicious.  They say you feast first with your eyes, and it is certainly true here, with edible flowers from the gardens elevating both savoury dishes and tempting desserts.  The two-course set lunch menu is great value at £16 per person, and there is a good choice of wines.  If the weather is fine, the outside dining area is the perfect setting to enjoy the spring sunshine.

Spring dish at the Scented Botanist Bistro

Groups, Birthday parties, Hen or Baby showers, Corporate get togethers

Whether you are planning an afternoon tea, champagne reception or lavish lunch, the two geodesic domes at Keyneston Mill make great venues for parties, each with its own private garden space. Most popular of all is the BBQ option, and with a menu that includes cedar planked salmon, tiger prawn skewers with coconut & lime, pulled lamb with tzatziki, and hot & spicy Spatchcock poussin, it is hardly surprising!  There are vegetarian options too, all served with a selection of fresh and fragrant salads.  Call their events team for more details….

The gardens in bloom at Keyneston Mill

Creative Workshops with a Difference

We all love spring flowers for their vibrance and colour, and Keyneston Mill offer some really unusual floristry workshops where you can learn to create something unique to celebrate the season.  Using estate-grown foliage, scented herbs and seasonal blooms, you can design a hand-tied bouquet or a spring table centrepiece.  You can even make a living succulent wreath where the plants will embed in the moss and grow over time creating a unique feature for your door. Other creative workshops on offer include perfume making, scented candle making, silver clay jewellery and watercolour painting, so there really is something for everyone.

Living Succulent Wreath from a Keyneston Mill workshop

Outdoor Cinema & Music Evenings

For evening entertainment, take a look at the outdoor cinema and live music programmes which include an eclectic range of films and some great jazz-inspired and classical music acts.  Keyneston Mill are gaining a reputation for bringing some seriously good musicians to their venue, and in summer, these sessions will take place down by the river with great food and wine to complete the experience. Early booking is recommended!

Outdoor cinema at Keyneston MillThere isn’t space to include more details here, so do have a look at the Keyneston Mill website.  Or better still, put aside a day and visit.  Be creative, take a friend, or simply take the time to enjoy some wonderful springtime scents for yourself!