A VILLAGE community is to benefit still further from a successful garden festival.
This year’s Shelley Garden Festival saw 30 green-fingered residents open up their gardens – raising £3,000 for the village.
And their efforts mean a helping hand for several village projects.
Ann Priestman, chairman of the organising committee, said: “The day was a resounding success, with 30 gardens opening – more than ever before – including Shelley First School and Shelley College.
“We had excellent reports through the day of how much everyone enjoyed visiting these.
“The young children proudly showed the visitors round their vegetable plots, and showed them the chickens and explained how the vegetables and fruit are given to the school kitchens for everyone to enjoy.
“Up at the college their young visitors were fascinated by the pond wildlife and the clouds of damselflies that burst into the air as they watched.”
Since the biennial event began in 1999, the number of gardens opening each year has continued to grow.
This time 10 new gardens opened for the first time.
Ann said: “We had a good mixture of old favourite gardens opening and gardens that have never opened before – it gave everyone some good ideas to take home with them.
“And the visitors were all delighted with the hospitality of the villagers as well as the beautiful gardens – with many gardens offering refreshments, in one case served up by dashing French waiters.
“In fact Jean Shaw – the Examiner Gardener of the Year winner – laughed when her first set of visitors dashed through her garden looking for the cream teas being served next door.”
The committee have presented a cheque for £1,000 to Shelley First School to buy a new greenhouse.
Ann said: “Their last one blew down in the bad winter, and they enjoy raising their plants from seed.”
Local children involved in helping make the festival a success were given certificates by the community association.
The children helped by showing visitors round the school, tending the garden and holding stalls and running cafes in their own gardens.
Ann said: “Green fingers start small nowadays – and all our visitors were really impressed with the eager enthusiasm shown for growing-your-own by the youngsters.”
More of the money will be saved for a Christmas tree for the village green and the remainder will be used to fund any green projects in the area.