I stumbled upon Marie and Tony Newton's garden in England while I was searching for Keukenhof photos on Flickr, and was instantly captivated. So I send an email to them last week to see if they'd mind if I introduced their garden to you, and they enthusiastically agreed! Are gardeners awesome or what? Here's what they say on their profile:
"We married in the 1970s and since then have always shared a passion for gardening. In 1982 we moved to our present family home in Walsall, in the West Midlands, England, where we brought up our four children. Until we retired in October 2009 we had busy jobs: Marie was a transport planner and Tony was a doctor in General Practice. We named the garden we created ‘Four Seasons’.
We wanted to create a garden to be used by the family and to be exciting in all four seasons. We totally re-designed, re-landscaped and re-planted our garden without outside help and most of the work has been done since 1992. All but two of all the plants in our garden have been planted by us. We won the battle with weeds, laid a network of York stone paths, built a chalet store, summer house, large wooden oriental pagoda, smaller pagoda, and created four water features, including a cascading 17 metre stream.
We have landscaped and created three completely different areas in our main garden. In late autumn 2011 the larger of the three areas which we call the "upper garden" was featured in five national newspapers. The "middle garden" contains the jungle, pagoda and a small stream. Whilst the "lower garden" has woodland like features, an area for perennials, and a much larger stream. In addition to the main garden areas, for the last three years our neighbour has kindly allowed us to use the lower part of his garden as a 'work area' in which, for example, we grow plants from seed and have compost heaps to recycle fallen leaves and other garden waste materials.
In planting, we especially contrast bold shapes and forms and the colours red, blue, and yellow. In particular we use bright and bold evergreens as a backdrop for flowers. A jungle has been created, including ferns, palms, bamboos and banana plants. We find that timely pruning is the key to maintaining our garden.
In early spring, flowers include 'Tete a Tete' daffodils, primulae, and camellias, and this is followed in April by erythroniums, tulips, pansies and scilla. In May there is a stunning array of azaleas together with the new growth of acers and conifers. Other May flowers include Anemone blanda and muscari. Colour continues in June with foxgloves, aliums, poppies and lilies of various sorts.
In summer the acers and conifers provide the backdrop to display the riot of colour in the upper garden from flowers including pelargonium, begonias, and bedding plants. The perennials in the lower garden include astors, leucanthemum, agapanthus, crocosmia, thalictrum, helenium and phlox. The jungle becomes more exciting in summer. and children and adults love the mist and tropical bird sounds.
Autumn starts with the rich red colour of the Virginia creeper. This is quickly followed by the intense colour changes especially in the acers and azaleas. By late autumn the Japanese acer leaves have become become vibrant with scarlet and gold colours and they serve as “autumn flowers”.
In winter, we use the colour red in the form of photinia, the red oriental ornaments and the red acer Senkaki stems and contrast these against the blue and yellow conifers and bright yellow hollies. Lighting in the trees creates a magical atmosphere, especially when plants are draped in snow. Winter flowers surge through in February with snow drops, crocus, aconites, cyclamen, hellebores and early camellias. The colour white is accentuated by the multi-stemmed Betula Jaquemontii. Other tree barks, including acer griseum, snake bark maples and serrula, give winter interest.
In 2007 we were amazed and delighted that our garden was awarded first place, out of two thousand entrants, in the Daily Mail National Garden Competition. BBC Gardeners' World Television filmed our garden during all four seasons and broadcast a half-hour television feature in February 2010. In 2010 we were honoured and delighted to be awarded another first place, this time in the "Overall Gardener of the Year" category of the UK Garden News Competition.
In 2008 we became members of the ngs (National Garden Scheme). Since 2006 we have welcomed more than 12,000 visitors to our garden open days. Most visitors were from the UK however we have also been honoured to receive garden visitors from thirty-two non UK countries. We are sincerely grateful to all our visitors for raising a total of more than £39,000 for our named charities, with by far the largest share going to the ngs."
Seriously, guys, this little selection of photos just barely scratches the surface of their garden. It's ridiculously awesome. Go to their Flickr page to see every corner in all four seasons, and also visit their garden web page.
Thanks so much for sharing your garden with us, Marie and Tony. What a spectacular achievement.
Send in your OWN photos, folks! Michelle@GardenyGoodness.com. Thanks! -Michelle