Elaine Everton, West Midlands, UK: Welcoming all gnomes!

Elaine and Roy Everton are from Pelsall in the West Midlands and are both retired. Their garden is split into 3 sections: an oriental garden, a fairy and gnome garden, and finally a work and play area for their granddaughter. The garden is 60ft long and 22ft wide, and the soil is normal.

1. Why is it important for you to create a nice garden?

We both love to sit and look at all the lovely flowers and shrubs, and of course the birds and squirrels that are attracted into the garden.

2. How many hours a week do you spend working on your garden?

My husband spends around 12 hours a week, but i just supervise!

3. How much leisure time do you spend in your garden and what do you do?

About 14 hours during the week, although I don’t like it too hot!

4. What is your most prized plant and why?

My husband loves his Sacred Bamboo (Nandina), especially as it changes colour and has decorative berries. My favourite bush has lovely green leaves in the summer, and then once they drop, purple berries appear. It’s Callicarpa.

5. Which plant do you feel gives the best value in your garden?

Summer bedding such as Petunias and Begonias can flower from May to November, which is an exceptionally long time! The Fuchsias also keep going well into the winter.

6. What is/has been your biggest challenge in this garden?

The positioning of plants. Some parts of the garden are in shade, and some in hot sun, so I need to get the positions just right.

7. What has been your biggest gardening disaster?

Once, our shrubs all contracted a disease when our neighbour dug up her garden. We were absolutely gutted, as we had to destroy some plants that we have had for over 10 years, such as Camellia, Rhododendron and Pieris.

8. What is your favourite gardening shortcut or tip, and who taught you it?

There are no shortcuts! Just time and patience.

9. Which plant do you wish you could grow, but cannot?

None, they all seem to grow in our garden!

10. What is your oldest plant, and how old is it?

Most of my plants are 3 years old, sadly due to the shrub disease problems that killed off my older specimens.

11. Where do you find information on which plants to grow and how to care for them?

Most information we have learnt over the years, and comes with experience!

12. Do you grow anything to eat, and which have you had the most success with?

We grow tomatoes, cucumbers (Crystal Lemon ones) and Peppers, and have always had success and plenty of fruit off the plants!

13. Do you admire any famous gardeners or gardens?

No, we have ours just as we like it!

14. What have you learnt from your own garden?

The right place to plant specimens in order for them to thrive!

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