As part of our commitment to dramatically reducing our mains water consumption, we’ve connected a 50,000-litre rainwater harvesting tank to an underground Victorian brick-lined well and plumbing system. Recently discovered under the garden centre by Louise and I, the brick-lined well was once the source of water for Sherborne Castle’s Walled Kitchen Garden, where Castle Gardens now sits, and has been revived to channel harvested rainwater into our bedding plant area.

As well as supplying a free and sustainable source of water for the plants, collected in the butyl-lined water tank, the remastered system also contributes to localised flood control, stopping excess water from hitting the road. Harvesting rainwater is a great example of how gardening is a force for good when it comes to looking after the planet. Water is such a precious resource and climate change is contributing to higher levels of rainfall, so we’re really excited to have revived a relic of the Castle Gardens’ horticultural past, while reducing our own impact on the environment as a business.

The Victorian brick-lined well is one of many discoveries that we have uncovered during our 35 years on the site. With tumbled down cold frames, Victorian greenhouses and underground tunnels carrying heating pipes among recent finds, we plan to excavate further to reveal more of the garden centre’s horticultural history in the months and years to come.