IT IS a very big day in Shelley tomorrow with 30 gardens opening to the public.
Since this biennial event began in 1999, the number of gardens opening each year has continued to grow.
At this weekend’s festival, 10 new gardens will open for the first time.
Ann Priestman, chairperson of the organising committee, said: “This is a daisy-chain festival, with so many beautiful and individual gardens looped around the village.”
Gardens bold enough to open their gates to all and sundry include Jean Shaw who won our own Huddersfield Examiner Garden of the Year competition in 2005, with her wonderful mix of rockeries, fruit and vegetable gardens and ornamental borders – oh, and a wonderful view across Fenay Beck and the surrounding countryside.
Harry Lea, aged nine, is opening his parents’ garden that he helps to manage – look out for his vegetable garden. Harry has developed his skills and interest, not only through his parents but through the enthusiastic support of Shelley First School’s Linda Green (Grumpy Green if you have listened on BBC Radio Leeds over the last few years).
Funds raised during the Shelley Garden Festival are going to support the purchase of a new glasshouse for the school’s incredibly successful garden, after the old one blew down during the winter – the school garden is open for you to see and admire and to take inspiration from.
Shelley College, having a history of offering Rural Studies and gardening courses over the years, has developed as an eco-school over recent years, being awarded the International Eco-School Green Flag Award in 2008.
The school is opening its eco-garden as part of the festival to showcase this important educational work with young people.
Of course, there are many more gardens for you to see and enjoy, including some themed gardens and possibly gardeners in fancy dress – look out for Roman ruins, Greek goddesses and Egyptian mummies to name but a few of the gardeners.
If it is your first visit to Shelley, you might also like to take a look at the incredible views, from beautiful local, rural images to stunning distant Pennine panoramas and take good look around the village itself, that local people take a pride in.
Don’t forget that the £5.00 tickets, to visit these gardens from 11am to 6pm, are available from Shelley Village Hall tomorrow morning and that there will be refreshments in the hall and transport to take you around the village if you want it.
Other refreshments are available from Armitage’s Pennine Garden Centre, Dearne Lea Ice Cream Parlour and the recently refurbished Flying Ferret and at some of the open gardens – you may find it better to walk from one garden to another, either to give you an appetite for another cream tea or to burn off one before you indulge in another – don’t forget to look at the gardens as well!
To find out more about the village of Shelley and its activities, why not visit www.shelleytimes.org.uk .
The event is sponsored by Armitage’s Garden Centre in Shelley and, to celebrated 25 years at their Shelley site, an oak tree was presented to the village this year.