Bridport-based Groves Nurseries is to launch a hand-crafted gin distilled on site on the day and flavoured with violets grown at the nursery at its Summer Fair later this month (27 July).
Groves will be working with Devon Distillery’s ‘Still on the Move’ named ‘Ginny’, a 1973 VW Pickup with a beautiful Italian copper still called 'Prosperity.' ‘Mr Groves’ Violet Gin’ should be ready for tasting around 3pm, so locals have been warned to turn up early!
The violets in the gin come from a collection started Clive Groves’ father Charles William Groves, who noticed in the late 60s and early 70s that many of the older growers, mainly in the Dawlish area of Devon, were either retiring from growing or dying off. Violets were losing their popularity as a cut flower but Clive was collecting rare varieties from around the world and breeding new ones. Groves violets holds National Collection status awarded by Plant Heritage and now has the only collection of Viola odorata and Parma violets in the country. Groves Nurseries probably has the largest collection of violets in the world, so it’s fitting that they should have their own gin, given that violet gin is totally on trend this summer.
The range of food, drink and crtaft stallholders on the day will include West Milton and Dorset Nectar Cider, Cherrytree Preserves, Ford Farm Cheesemakers, Dorset Spice Shed, Hot Hound Accessories, The Rhubarb Candle Company, West Dorset Soap and more.
The Groves team said a fond farewell recently to Annette Collins, who started working there 25 years ago to help Clive Groves set up their café, The Citrus Grove. From modest beginnings with just coffee and cake produced by a small friendly team who loved baking, the offering developed to include baked potatoes and full daily lunches. When a bigger restaurant, the Ivy House, was taking shape, Annette (pictured, centre) moved over to the plant nursery, where she became a much loved and much-valued member of the production team.