Gardening - A Flixton couple who made their mark on their plot

PUBLISHED: 18:49 06 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:42 20 February 2013

Seating area on the patio

Seating area on the patio

Our gardening writer Linda Viney takes her camera to Flixton to meet a couple who made their mark on a long established plot

There is a certain responsibility when you take over an established garden, but it was one Bob and Beryl Wheeler accepted with relish when they found themselves looking after an impressive plot that had been on the go for 90 years.

They moved to Brookfield in Flixton, near Urmston, more than 45 years ago and while the rhododendrons, azaleas, peonies and poppies have always been the backbone to this third of an acre, they have certainly made their own mark

Over the years rhododendrons have had to be cut back and more bulbs have been planted so the yellow dancing daffodils are followed with chinadoxias which cover the rockery.

Bluebells were in the pear orchard even before the house was built, and still nod their flowers in the breeze. Gradually as the seasons progress the herbaceous borders blossom. The Wheelers, who open annually for the National Garden Scheme, do like a certain formality and the lawn is pristine with precise stripes and immaculate edges.

A large lean-to greenhouse is a hive of acticvity as seeds are sown giving a display of colour. The perennials are hardened off in the fancy cold frame, which was bought as a wedding anniversary present during a trip to Chelsea. It also protects plants in the winter.

My favourite garden is Holehird in the Lake District, Beryl said. I love mass planting and we try and go to the Flower Festival at Arley Hall where we have become one of the Friends. Whenever we go on trips we often stop off at garden centres and we are always buying plants. I suppose I am a plant-aholic!

Beryl is a member of an art club and loves painting in watercolours and her natural artistic skills are reflected in the garden, with a lovely blend of colour and form. Heucheras have become popular and the variety of colours of the foliage will blend and contrast. A water feature always adds tranquility and a small waterfall flows into a pond which is surrounded by a rockery. Marginal plants soften the edges and water-lilies burst into flower while a fountain adds another dimension.

A rose bed is a mass of blooms that, with regular deadheading, will give a long season of colour and perfume. They are regularly fed with Toprose. There is a shady area with a path leading through and again the sound of water adds tranquility and Miranda a Copenhagen mermaid rests by a pebble pool. This leads through to the raised vegetable beds where beans are grown up a maypole structure which had been bought online.

Gardening is certainly their passion and they spend many hours in it and even when the weather is bad there is always the greenhouse. They are always adding plants and sometimes nature takes a hand giving more space. During the severe winters a couple of years ago many shrubs, including a prized Pittisporum were lost, but that just provided them with a new opportunity. With all the trees and shrubs it is a haven for birds and has become quite a sanctuary. It is certainly a garden for pleasure.

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