Avenues Open Gardens: blooming brilliant
GREEN-fingered residents have been showing off their shrubbery in the 36th annual Avenues Open Gardens.
This year's event has a record number of entries, with 65 different gardens, two churches, an allotment and the wildlife garden at Pearson Park on display. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of musicians in a number of gardens, plant sales, locally made honey and art displays.
Pippa King, who organises the event on behalf of the Avenues and Pearson Park Residents' Association, said: "I think it is such a succcess because visitors go in and see what other ordinary people are doing with their gardens. It is achievable because it is people using what space they have to make their gardens look the best they can.
"There are so many different creations and ideas it is like an art gallery."
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Artist Jacky Ward Lomax, who has created many of the tree sculpture in the Avenues, has her Victoria Avenue garden on display.
She said: "There is a gentleness about the event that is a bit timeless. To see so many family groups walking slowly up and down, if it was not for the cars, you could almost imagine that was how the Avenues were when they were first built."
Christine Colquhoun, of Park Avenue, has opened her garden for more years than she can remember. Her living sedum garage roof, an ecologically friendly alternative roofing system, is a huge attraction to visitors, who climb a ladder to see it.
She said: "It is nice to have so many people coming and talking gardens and it is a lovely community event, with people coming out to raise money for charity.
Last year's event raised more than £11,000 for local charities, with Dove House as the main beneficiary.
Pippa King, who visited the hospice prior to the event, explained: "I was amazed by the facilities at Dove House and every penny raised is invaluable because the service they provide is priceless. We hope to raise even more money this year but we realise times are hard for a lot of people so we will have to see."
Aromatherapist Beccy O' Leary is raising money by offering treatments at her garden on Victoria Avenue. It is the first time she has taken part in the event.
Beccy explained: "We have lived here for 5 years and have always enjoyed going round the gardens so wanted to get involved. The money we raise will go to the Opens Gardens charities. It is lovely to be taking part."
Helen Scruton, who will be opening her garden next weekend, was taking the chance to grab a few ideas from other gardens.
She said: "We run the Black Boy in Old Town so we are going to be putting on a bar, with real ale in our garden. It is always good to see what other people are doing with their gardens."
Hundreds of people have already taken part in the event, with hundreds more expected next Sunday, when gardens will also be open from 1pm to 5pm.
Admission is by programme, which costs £3 and can be bought from any house displaying an open gardens poster.