GARDENERS at one of the most spectacular allotment sites in the country welcomed visitors at the weekend.

Tucked away like a hidden oasis, St Margaret's Allotments on Margery Lane is just a stone's throw from the centre of Durham City.

Looking out onto Durham Cathedral, allotment holders could be forgiven to wanting to keep the site to themselves.

But instead of keeping it a secret garden, growers– full of pride for their plots and passion for plants– threw open the gates yesterday for the National Open Garden Scheme.

There are 82 allotments on the five acre site, which has been cultivated since the Middle Ages and was saved from development 25 years ago.

Today's gardeners grow a huge variety of flowers, fruit and vegetables and many of them welcomed visitors for a tour on Sunday and were happy to share some of their top tips.

There was also a scarecrow competition for children, music from The Northumbrian Pipers and a sale of plants and produce. Refreshments were sold in aid of St Margaret's Centre and St Margaret's Allotments Association.