AROUND 2,000 visitors flocked to Usk to explore 25 gardens that opened to the public at the weekend.

Usk Open Gardens, now in its 20th year, has grown from small beginnings to become an annual event that has raised over £180,000 for local charities.

This year’s gardens ranged from small cottage gardens to Usk Castle gardens and are the result of months of hard work by their owners.

Among those to open their gardens was Marion Powell, of Ladyhill, who has been opening her garden to the public for ten years. She returned to her childhood home in 1992 and has transformed it into a gardener’s paradise.

Mrs Powell’s garden features topiarised shrubs, mature trees, a pond and water feature, hanging baskets and a quirky side passage leading to the front garden.

She said: “It’s a labour of love. I spent the last three weeks making final preparations until 11.30pm at night but I’m thrilled with it.”

Margaret Evans, who is retiring as chairwoman of Usk Open Gardens committee after 15 years, said: “We had around 2,000 visitors this year. It went beautifully.”

Mrs Evans, who opens her gardens every year, said the six-strong committee were due to find out the amount raised for charity last night.