THE Open Gardens Trail held August in Cleobury Mortimer was most successful, and raised over £1500 for The Friends of Saint Mary's Church, Cleobury Mortimer and Shropshire Historic Churches Trust.

Thanks to the fine sunny weather over two hundred visitors came to Cleobury Mortimer to walk around and explore the eleven colourful and interesting gardens.

The gardens were within the centre of the town and a comfortable walking distance of each other.

Features of the gardens included an unusual vegetable area in a front garden, a compact garden with a self designed irrigation system, and a formal garden in keeping with the Georgian frontage of the house.

What can you do with a garden on a slope? Interesting ideas to overcome the difficulty could be seen in many gardens one showing a dramatic use of heathers and careful planting in a sizeable rockery formation whilst another was laid out in three terraces to include a play area for children and a water feature going from one terrace to the next.

Two other terraced gardens provided welcome seating areas with views over Cleobury Mortimer and across open fields towards Mawley Hall.

Cottage gardens varied from an old roadside cottage garden, compact and busy full of colour with an interesting array of sheds to a mature garden with a colourful display of baskets and containers.

What lies behind the houses fronting the main street? A secret garden was revealed hidden behind a grade two listed house with a 70 year old Wisteria and paths meandering down to Pudding Brook.

Welcome refreshments were served in the church and in some of the gardens en route. Whist enjoying a drink, with some home made cake; many of the visitors commented on much they had enjoyed the afternoon, how friendly people were and gave positive feedback on the event.

Our many thanks to all who supported the event and especially to those who had worked so hard beforehand preparing their gardens to share with us all.

Alec Osbaldiston.

Chairman, The Friends of Saint Mary's.