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How an Euxton couple brought some fun into their garden

PUBLISHED: 00:00 21 March 2018

Help! One of their amusing features

Help! One of their amusing features

Linda Viney

A couple in Euxton have managed to create a beautiful garden packed with plants and a sense of humour

The Croft, Euxton The Croft, Euxton

As a nurse, Jean Robinson spent her career caring for patients. Six years after retiring she is still caring but the hospital beds have been swapped for flower beds.

A heart attack made her reassess her life and she decided to spent more time with her plants in the garden she and husband, David, created in Euxton, near Chorley.

It is much smaller than their previous garden in Wrightington but still full of interesting and some unusual plants. Never one to take things easy, she also has a small business at Heskin Hall making bespoke cards for weddings and other celebrations.

Jean began her love of gardening as a small child when she was fascinated to watch nasturtium seeds, given to her by her mother, produce beautiful flowers. When her parents moved they gave Jean and David their terraced house as a wedding present and they created their first garden in the backyard.

Eventually they moved to Wrightington where they had a garden covering a quarter of an acre. It was a challenge downsizing to Euxton, just managing to find room for the plants Jean has grown to love. Aquilegias are a particular favourite of this knowledgeable plantswoman, especially the double varieties.

They started with a blank canvas with The Croft. The front garden was mainly lawn and one of the first tasks was to hire a skip and completely remove it and replace grass with gravel. The quote from the landscapers was £1,000 so with a lot of determination and hard work, they did it themselves for £350. By adding two water features visitors get a nice welcome to the house.

It is immaculately designed with a fountain and bubble water feature surrounded by larger pebbles. A choisya and box balls add formality and it is surrounded by shrubs with a statue on an ivy covered plinth. A conifer gives some privacy, while a strategically placed seat allows them to enjoy this tranquil space.

Moving round the back area the open views beyond have been brought in and used as an extension of their garden. There are many quirky, interesting features from artefacts like a stone lantern given to them as a 25th wedding anniversary present, and a Buddha. There are also amusing sculptures including a half-buried man and Henry, created from a skeleton bought one hallowe’en from a supermarket and now dressed with charity shop togs. He sits in a corner looking ready to garden.

Jean has become quite a ‘plantaholic’ and although she doesn’t know what she wants she knows when she sees it and likes to be different. Favourites include a collection of acers which give fresh spring colour through to autumn richness. These are arranged in pots and were brought from their old home, adding to the oriental theme. They are also keen to encourage wildlife and there are bird feeders including a novelty house.

As a plumber, David was able to save some old pot sinks and these have made an ideal theatre to display the collection of auriculas Jean has gathered over the years. An old step ladder was rescued and it is used to display Jean’s collection of ferns. She is always looking for new unusual plants to add to the garden ‘I somehow always managed to find space even if there looks to be none,’ she said.

Although the front garden has water features they wanted another in the main garden and this is a monolith which, although looking like stone, is made of resin and is very effective.

Over the many years, I have visited gardens and it is more often the men who are passionate about their lawns. This one has a bed cut into it to break up the curved borders, an idea which is very effective and draws your eyes round the garden. It certainly is immaculate, neatly edged and some areas surrounded with gravel.

David admits he is quite obsessive about his gravel and if a piece strays onto the lawn or looks out of place he is there with his rake. ‘I don’t realise I’m doing it’ he laughs. The garden may be small but it is full of ideas to take home and, don’t worry, if you visit David won’t follow you around with his rake!

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