HUNDREDS of green-fingered residents got special access to a set of famous gardens to mark Autumn Plant Weekend.

Beth Chatto Gardens, in Clacton Road, Elmstead, invited the public to explore the gardens free of charge as a thank you to customers for their support.

A series of talks and behind-the-scenes showcases also took place across the weekend and donations were accepted for the Beth Chatto Education Trust.

David Ward, garden manager, said: “Both days were very well attended. We estimate we had 1,500 people across the weekend.

“The weather wasn’t brilliant on Saturday but everyone came well prepared and seemed to enjoy themselves. One of the most popular events was a behind the scenes tour of our growing areas.

“There were talks about grasses and plants which flower in the autumn.

“It is nice to show people how much interesting there is going on in the gardens this time of year. There is still plenty of colour and lots for people to see.

“It is also nice for us to be able to give something back to our customers by letting them in for just a donation.”

The garden’s shop also trialled a plant pot return scheme.