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Mellor Open Gardens: Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th July
visitor guidelines, garden descriptions and locations

This page provides guidelines for visitors along with intros to the 14 gardens (including several *new to the event this year) and to other attractions and activities that will be available over the two days. It also features a zoom-able map and bus time-tables for Saturday 3rd July are included too.

The dedicated team of organisers has worked very hard to make Mellor Open Gardens happen at all this year and we hope that you have an enjoyable time.

Mellor Open Gardens barrow

Guidelines for Visitors

Be assured that COVID safety rules are in operation so please observe necessary one-way systems and social distancing as appropriate.

Parking in Mellor can be challenging but as well as the car parks in Marple Bridge, there is one near Garden No 1 and also at Mellor School near Garden No 12. However there will be plenty of room in the field accessible through Mellor Church car park.

As well as the map on this page to help you plan your day using your mobile (signal permitting) a trifold leaflet with a map will be available to all visitors from the gardens and information points.

Please take care care when driving or walking on narrow lanes, especially where there is no footpath.The 375 bus runs hourly on a Saturday afternoon (time-table bottom of page), and on Sunday there will be two free MOG minibuses running through Mellor to use on a hail-and-ride basis.

Do consider leaving your car and using a bus and be prepared for plenty of walking. Townscliffe Lane and Old Hall Lane are unadopted and not suitable for parking but there is a handy snicket leading from Clement Road to Gardens 4,5,6 and 7 and another between Townscliffe Lane and Longhurst Lane.

The scenic walk up Knowle Road to Mellor Church takes about 20 minutes with a useful (but very steep) off-shoot to Garden No 13 on Longhurst Lane. And the best way to reach the not-to-be-missed Garden No14 is make the pleasant walk from the Parish Centre along the footpath behind Lower Hall to the Oddfellows Arms.

There are portaloos sited on Townscliffe Lane and in the Church carpark.

We regret that only Gardens 12 and 13 and the Parish Centre are suitable for wheelchairs.

You are requested to leave your dog at home.

Information points

There will be two information point gazebos; one in Marple Bridge by the bus stop outside Gascoigne Halman and another on the grass verge outside the Devonshire Arms.

The fourteen Mellor Open Gardens:

Garden No 1 - Arboretum

This surprisingly extensive two-acre garden lies on a south-facing sloping site with a series of descending terraces, lawns and borders, along with some lovely drystone walling. At this time of the year the magnificent tree collection is an outstanding feature. There is a bog garden with two ponds and an area of ‘wild’ woodland to explore, together with a ‘secret garden’ enclosed by high hedges where the greenhouse and nursery beds are found along with more beds and borders. The resident saxophone quartet will, once again, be playing on the terrace – weather permitting.

Garden 01

Garden No 2 - Unexpected *

A south-west facing garden, this garden begins as a plunging cliff-face accessed via a large decking area supported by nine engineering piles which go down to a depth of six metres. The curved metal stairs were designed after contacting an engineer in the United States via the internet. The stairs lead to a winding terraced footpath and meet a bridge over a brook, where access to an open grassed enclosure is hidden amongst a wooded area.

Garden No. 3 - Root and Branch: a Radical Revamp *

Over the past two years almost every square inch of this garden, which surrounds a converted chapel, has been redesigned and landscaped, with the aim of conjuring an illusion of light and space, adding colour and planted urns (illuminated at night) to draw the eye when viewed from the windows, and creating a series of contrasting areas. There are patios, a shade garden, an (extremely small) croquet lawn, plus two red cedar wood sheds and a Victorian-style glasshouse.

Garden No 4 - Paths, Ponds and Pergolas Refreshments may be available

Refreshments available opposite this garden.

This is a garden all about different levels and landscapes. It is about 100m long and divided up into several different sections. The top section is a formal square shaped garden to complement the modern extension on the rear of the house (and a place to play badminton in the summer). The middle garden is laid out around a circular lawn and semi-circular path with future space for herbaceous plants on one side and a pond/wildlife area on the other. The lower garden has a series of three curved terraces that drop down to a large pond (has been accused of being a lake) with steppingstones and a lot of sticklebacks. The top terrace is used as a vegetable garden; the others are currently meadows (with skate ramp, trampoline, and zip wire). On the other side of a big grassy bank there is a dell area with summer house and fire pit. A secret path loops round the very bottom of the garden where you can glimpse Mellor Brook in the bottom of the valley. The garden was started as a major project in 2011 with the lower garden landscaping finished in 2013 and the upper garden in 2015. The middle garden is currently work in progress. Design and digging by Bill, flowers and vegetables by Sue.

Garden 04

Garden No 5 - Down the Garden Path

A free and easy garden evolved over twenty years. This is a garden of loved plants with a newly-created area in the middle. Formal gives way to informal as the long winding path leads down through the flowers and past the vegetables to a wooded area at the bottom. Our garden has everything: lawns, herbaceous borders, weeds, ponds, vegetables, sunny bits, shady bits, dry bits, boggy bits…..and hopefully you. 

Garden No 6 - A Homage to two Wonderful Grandads *

This is three gardens in one with a side of veg. In September 2019 we moved to Mellor. In March 2020 covid hit and so began the renovation of the garden. The upper garden was already well-stocked, and though primarily a spring one, has been left except for a few roses to add colour . Both allotments have been totally revamped, reimagined and a reminder of two lovely Grandads - Harold Gwyther and John Greenaway, who were gardeners personified. My slant brings veg and herbaceous planting in a modern juxtaposition of colour and taste – a cunning way of distracting the pests. It’s only been 15 months since its birth but things are coming together. I hope you like it.

Garden No 7 - Spot the Differences

A garden characterised by lawns, specimen shrubs and trees and a productive orchard. Those who have visited in previous years may however notice that some features have disappeared, and some have changed – the orchard is much wilder and all the soft fruits have turned into bilberries. Thanks are due to Arbella Gardens for effecting these changes!

Garden No 8 - An ‘Entertaining’ Garden

During lockdown, all of the herbaceous borders were refreshed and a new woodland area/stumpery introduced. Although the garden is still in transition, it’s still worth a look! New garden buildings include a bar. There are also plenty of places to take a seat and enjoy the garden for what it has to offer.

Garden No 9 - A garden to enjoy being in

Everything is crammed in together with very little regard for the principles of garden design. Surprises abound in the midst of the exuberant planting and as well as creative consideration for humans, great respect is shown for the provision of food and habitat for wildlife.

Garden No 10 - Country Calm * Refreshments may be available

Refresments available a few doors up from this garden.

A challenging plot of modest proportions, for many years it had been dominated by privet hedge, rockery, overgrown shrubs and a huge cherry tree. However, it is now very different! A major redesign over the last three years has created planting areas and somewhere to sit. New young specimens therefore mingle with the more mature in a profusion of enthusiastic planting. It is a garden for all seasons and every plant has to earn its place.

Garden 10

Garden No 11 - Jazzy Mix

A traditional style of garden. Enter to a paved area with well-stocked flowerbeds and a small pond, home to newts and frogs; step between flower beds onto the lawn; pass through the arch to a secluded area with views toward the hills and Mellor Church. The planting reflects the owners’ love of plants and displays a large variety of perennials, grasses, ferns and bog plants. A jazzy mix of planting in a garden designed for sitting and relaxing.

Garden No 12 - The Crooked Pear Tree Garden Partially accessible to wheelchairs 

From peonies to potatoes, beans to begonias, there is much to enjoy in this large and varied, well-kept garden which is fully accessible to wheelchairs. The verdant lawns and rose hedge are well-known to passers-by on their way to school. Browse the colourful flower beds, the roses, the fruit trees, the flourishing kitchen garden and the fish in the pond. Then, why not take part in our competition…

Garden 12

Garden No 13 - Herbaceous Heaven Partially accessible to wheelchairs

Our garden has evolved since 1986 - we bought a jungle and began to tame it - through projects.  The first was a little greenhouse but we couldn't stop there when there was a rose pergola to build, a summer house with extension, vegetable plot, pond and bog garden, the rhododendron wall, blue, red, white and yellow beds.  Where to put the grasses?  Name a hosta?  Our latest project is here waiting to be visited, please come and see.  If it grows I love it and want it in the garden.

Garden No 14 - Ever Evolving

Hidden away at the top of Moor End, this extensive garden is the highest of all the open gardens. It features an ever-evolving eclectic mix of planting in an unexpected series of large garden rooms. The styles range from formal to cottage to woodland with new projects including a herb garden and a crevice garden. And all this is enhanced by its long border of glorious panoramic views over the surrounding countryside.



Other attractions and points of interest during Mellor Open Gardens

Mellor War Memorial Gardens

Here is a hidden gem where you can sit on a bench beside a large rose bed and drink in the scent next to a newly-planted prairie bed. A new interpretation board tells of its hundred-year history. It is full of interest: from the wedding-cake tree to Acer Sango-kaku, stone pine, Irish yews, crown imperials, knautia, white peonies etc. Over the last twenty years, volunteers have tended the flower beds while the council looks after the lawn, hedges and paths.

The Devonshire Arms Wooden Gazebo

Mellor Primary School will once again be wholeheartedly supporting this community event, this time with a display of creative MOGpot scarecrows on the theme of ‘Great Garden Characters’ from children’s literature. And, in response to popular demand, there will also be a miniature gardens competition! These delights will be on show in the wooden gazebo beside the garden of the Devonshire Arms. For the purposes of this event, it has kindly been reserved for the exclusive use of Mellor School and visitors to Mellor Open Gardens. It will therefore only be accessible from the rear carpark, not from the garden. However, please note that the parking is for Devonshire Arms customers only.

The Parish Centre Partially accessible to wheelchairs  Refreshments may be available

This will be a hive of activity (under strict COVID rules). A field leading from the Church car park will be available for extra parking and the Parish Centre will host many delights as well as providing toilet facilities and selling tickets. Refreshments will consist of tea, coffee, soft drinks and an array of home-made cakes and scones – Mellor’s finest! Books, plants and garden paraphernalia will be on sale with an expert on hand between 2 and 3.30 both days to answer your garden questions – Diana Cole from Arbella Gardens A local art group has been very busy preparing an art exhibition, too. And don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets and view the delectable prizes. The Roman Garden, one of Mellor’s historic archaeological sites, is close to the church as is the fascinating wild flower trail, an innovation for this year.

Wildflower Trail

The Old Graveyard at St Thomas’ contains some lovely little nooks and crannies along a largely south-facing bank. Earlier in the year it hosts swathes of snowdrops and primroses full of Easter promise. By late June ox-eye daisies fill the site of the Old School and our favourite new find , the mouse-ear hawkweed (pilosella officinarum) is tucked between the steps of the flattened stones. As you pick your way carefully between moss-covered gravestones and vault entrances, find foxgloves and geraniums as well as a range of sorrels and grasses that, while less showy, all support lots of buglife. This is the first time we have suggested a trail through our Living Churchyard and is part of our journey toward understanding how to manage it for visitors and wildlife together.

Wildflowers at Mellor Church

The Roman Garden

This garden is planted out with plants and shrubs that would typically have been cultivated during the Romano British period. However, the garden is set in an area which dates back to much earlier times. Excavations, by Mellor Archaeological Trust, have revealed that the Mellor Hilltop site has seen human habitation for at least 10,000 years. Evidence of Iron Age roundhouse, a large hall and a defensive ditch encircling the hilltop have been discovered. Many of the artefacts found during the archaeological dig are now on permanent loan to Stockport Museums and displayed at Staircase House.


Garden "pins" do not identify exact addresses but are accurate enough for you to plan your day and use during your visit if you take your mobile (and can get a signal). However, a paper map and detailed information will be available for everyone on the day too from the information points and individual gardens and all gardens will be clearly signed. There is no need to worry about finding them.

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Participating Gardens.
Information Points.
Attractions Marker Other attractions.
Refreshments Marker Public Houses.
Public Car Park Marker  Recommended Car Parking.

375 Bus Timetable (Saturday 3rd July only)

For full 375 bus timetable and more details visit the TfGM web site.

Up the hill times:

up timetable

Down the hill times:

down timetable

On Sunday 4th July a mini-bus service will be in operation.

Marple Places