Home & Garden Green-fingered couple spend £27,000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul-de-sac into magical secret garden with a folly, pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY

14:12  27 june  2018
14:12  27 june  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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A GREEN - fingered couple have transformed their modest Wolverhampton back yard into a magical garden , complete with folly , pergola and Japanese tea house . Anne and Brian Bailey have spent 28 years transforming the once-mundane plot of land behind their 1930s house

The couple have spent 28 years transforming their modest Wolverhampton back yard into a magical garden complete with folly , pergola and Japanese tea house .

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A green-fingered couple have transformed their modest back yard into a magical hidden garden that attracts hundreds of visitors a day.

Retired Anne and Brian Bailey have spent an estimated £27,000 over nearly three decades years transforming the plot of land behind their 1930s house, just over a mile from the centre of Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

a person posing for the camera: Husband and wife Brian and Anne Bailey have spent 28 years transforming their back yard in Wolverhampton © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Husband and wife Brian and Anne Bailey have spent 28 years transforming their back yard in Wolverhampton The couple, who were faced with nothing but grass and a few conifers when they moved in, have since divided the 120-foot-long garden up into different sections.

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They have spent 28 years transforming their back yard and divided the 120ft plot into different sections. The green - fingered pair have built a folly , a pergola , a summerhouse and a Japanese tea house in the garden .

Green - fingered couple transform suburban Wolverhampton back yard into magical garden which attracts more than 300 visitors a day . Caters_NewsPublished: June 26, 2018.

The impressive space has been dubbed the 'Garden of Surprises' because visitors, who make a £5 donation to charity, can't see the entire garden all in one go.

a house with bushes in front of a building: The front of the house, which was built in the 1930s has also been transformed with flowers, tress and shrubs © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The front of the house, which was built in the 1930s has also been transformed with flowers, tress and shrubs They have planted hundreds of flowers, shrubs and trees and have even installed structures in areas where nothing would grow including a folly that looks like the ruins of a medieval building, a pergola, a summerhouse, a Japanese tea house and a shell grotto which used to be an air raid shelter.   

Their award winning creation, which has featured on BBC Gardener's World and Shed of the Year, won first prize in the Daily Mail's prestigious National Garden Competition in 2015. 

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A GREEN - fingered couple have transformed their modest Wolverhampton back yard into a magical garden , complete with folly , pergola and Japanese tea house . Anne and Brian Bailey have spent 28 years transforming the once-mundane plot of land behind their 1930s house

Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

a statue of a tree: They have planted hundreds of flowers, shrubs and trees and have even installed structures in areas where nothing would grow © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited They have planted hundreds of flowers, shrubs and trees and have even installed structures in areas where nothing would grow At the time head judge and garden designer Tim Sharples, said: 'Anne and Brian had a bold vision of a garden themed around different 'rooms', combining a broad range of plants in a multitude of colours, shapes and forms. 

'They are truly worthy winners.' 

a garden in front of a house: The green-fingered couple sitting in their Japanese tea house they built in their garden © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The green-fingered couple sitting in their Japanese tea house they built in their garden Anne, 69 and husband Brian, 66, a retired accountant, now open up their garden for charity through the National Open Garden Scheme and welcome hundreds of visitors from all over the world on each open day. 

Mrs Bailey, a retired social worker, said: 'When we moved into the house in 1990, the garden was all grass and conifers, with the fence at the bottom visible from the house.

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A green - fingered couple have transformed their modest back yard into a magical hidden garden that attracts hundreds of visitors a day . A folly built by Mr Bailey in their secret garden in their home just a mile from Wolverhampton city centre The green - fingered couple sitting in their

Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

a group of bushes in a garden: Their award winning creation, which has featured on BBC Gardener's World and Shed of the Year, won first prize in the Daily Mail's prestigious National Garden Competition in 2015 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Their award winning creation, which has featured on BBC Gardener's World and Shed of the Year, won first prize in the Daily Mail's prestigious National Garden Competition in 2015 'We were both working then, so had limited time, but we developed our ideas about what we wanted to do through visiting other gardens and RHS shows and reading books on plants and garden design.

'We gradually started nibbling away the grass, expanding the borders and removing overgrown conifers, with the idea of dividing the garden up into different sections, which couldn't all be seen at once.

a house with bushes and trees: Judges in the Daily Mail's prestigious National Garden Competition, which the couple won in in 2015 described it as a 'bold vision of a garden...combining a broad range of plants in a multitude of colours, shapes and forms' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Judges in the Daily Mail's prestigious National Garden Competition, which the couple won in in 2015 described it as a 'bold vision of a garden...combining a broad range of plants in a multitude of colours, shapes and forms' 'Much of the garden was very dry and shady, so we had to learn how to work with that and one of the solutions was to put interesting garden buildings in the very worst places, where nothing would grow.

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Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

'Brian loves working with wood and his first effort was the Japanese teahouse in the farthest dark, dry corner of the garden, so the area around that grew into a oriental garden, screened off by large bamboos.

a tree in a garden: A folly built by Mr Bailey in their secret garden in their home just a mile from Wolverhampton city centre © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A folly built by Mr Bailey in their secret garden in their home just a mile from Wolverhampton city centre 'Things really gathered pace when we retired eight or nine years ago. And things then got a bit out of hand and the surprises got more and more surprising.

'Brian built a stone folly to link the fernery to the oriental garden and we turned on old underground air raid shelter into a shell grotto, with the entrance hidden behind a gothic summerhouse.

a close up of a flower: The couple, who were faced with nothing but grass and a few conifers when they moved in, have since divided the 120-foot-long garden up into different sections © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple, who were faced with nothing but grass and a few conifers when they moved in, have since divided the 120-foot-long garden up into different sections 'The sunny borders near the house are all colour themed and the paved terrace was reorganised with an open veranda, raised lion's head fountain and lots of pots and hanging baskets.

'Every year we say we won't do as many baskets and then every year we end up doing even more.

a group of people in a garden: The couple said the design of their garden has take a lot of 'trial and error' but they added: 'We just learnt as we went along and changed the things that didn't work' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple said the design of their garden has take a lot of 'trial and error' but they added: 'We just learnt as we went along and changed the things that didn't work' 'There was lots of trial and error, both in terms of design and planting, but we just learnt as we went along and changed the things that didn't work.'

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Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

The couple have found a clever way to water the garden by installing large, hidden water tanks, which collect rain water off the roof and distribute it through leaky hoses snaking down the borders.

a close up of a person: Mr Bailey places shells onto the ceiling of an old World War Two bunker that was transformed into a grotto in their secret garden © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Bailey places shells onto the ceiling of an old World War Two bunker that was transformed into a grotto in their secret garden But Mrs Bailey admitted the garden still took hours of pruning and deadheading each day.

She said: 'We are such plantaholics that the beds are stuffed with plants, so there is no room for weeds, but we have to do a lot of refereeing, to save the shyer plants from the bullies.

a large brick building with grass in front of a house: The rear of the Bailey's house in the early 1990s is almost unrecognisable to what it is like today © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The rear of the Bailey's house in the early 1990s is almost unrecognisable to what it is like today 'Managing the trees, so they don't overwhelm the garden, also requires constant vigilance, as does the ongoing battle with slugs and snails.

'One visitor said ours was a Tardis garden - bigger on the inside than the outside and another even claimed to be lost once.

a group of people standing in front of a bus: The couple have opened up their garden for charity through the National Open Garden Scheme and welcome hundreds of visitors from all over the world on each open day © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple have opened up their garden for charity through the National Open Garden Scheme and welcome hundreds of visitors from all over the world on each open day 'We wanted to create a garden that has something unexpected around each corner and we seemed to have done that.'  

The couple have been opening their garden to visitors for eight years, as part of the National Garden Scheme.

a group of people standing next to a tree: Visitors from all over the world visit the Bailey's garden. The couple said one visitor described it as a 'Tardis' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Visitors from all over the world visit the Bailey's garden. The couple said one visitor described it as a 'Tardis' They have so far raised £15,000 for the scheme's charities, which includes Macmillan, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Hospices UK.

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Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

The garden's summerhouse and grotto also featured on television programme Amazing Spaces - Shed of the Year in 2014, and earlier this year their garden featured on the BBC's Gardener's World.

a house that has a sign on the side of a road: The property sits on a quiet cul-de-sac in Wolverhampton, with no sign of what lies in its back garden © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The property sits on a quiet cul-de-sac in Wolverhampton, with no sign of what lies in its back garden The garden was open to view on Saturday, June 3, and is next open from 12.30pm to 5.30pm on July 1. However, private viewings can be arranged for other days.

Entry costs £5 per person, and tea and cake will be on offer to be charged separately. All proceeds go to charity. 

What are secret garden couple's top 10 gardening tips? 

a man standing next to a tree: The couple say they spend hours each day tending to their creation © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple say they spend hours each day tending to their creation 1. Feed the Hostas with liquid seaweed fertiliser. It gives you enormous leaves almost a foot across.

2. Slugs start early in February or March. Use the blue pellets to kill the slugs – you have to get to them before they start breeding. The time of year they start breeding is usually early spring so you need to get in there before and put the pellets out.

3. Put gravel around your plants, in particular sharp gravel. Go out at night to pick the slugs off from the gravel and throw them in a bucket of salty water.

a large tree house in a garden: The rear of the garden in the early 1990s shows the World War Two bunker being transformed into the grotto, one of the first main features of the garden © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The rear of the garden in the early 1990s shows the World War Two bunker being transformed into the grotto, one of the first main features of the garden 4. Plant very densely, so there’s no room for weeds. You must not be able to see any bare earth in between the plants. You need to have them close enough so the different plants knit together.

5. Keep dead heading in the summer. Most herbaceous plants will keep flowering if you dead head them. If you cut off the flower as it’s dying before the plant develops its seeds, the plant will put its energy into developing more flowers so it keeps flowering.

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Green - fingered couple spend £ 27 , 000 over three decades transforming the back yard of their suburban cul - de - sac into magical secret garden with a folly , pergola and Japanese tea house that attracts 300 visitors a DAY .

a close up of a flower garden in front of a house: The rear of the house has been transformed with a veranda and many different flowers and roses. The patio also works as a tea garden for visitors © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The rear of the house has been transformed with a veranda and many different flowers and roses. The patio also works as a tea garden for visitors 6. Watering is very important. We’ve put in a system where we collect the water off the roof, it runs into big tanks. You then have leaky hoses running out of the tanks down the boarders, this reduces the amount of watering you have to do, and the plants also prefer rainwater.

7. Encourage the bees – their numbers are dwindling all the time. You need to plant Astrantia, which makes it easy for bees to get in and get the pollen. Any kind of open flower such as Cirsium or Rambler roses will do.

a path surrounded by trees and bushes: The couple have been opening their garden to visitors for eight years, as part of the National Garden Scheme. They have so far raised £15,000 for the scheme's charities © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple have been opening their garden to visitors for eight years, as part of the National Garden Scheme. They have so far raised £15,000 for the scheme's charities 8. Never throw away a plant that looks sorry for itself – pot it up and love it. Give it plenty of compost and don’t give up on it.

9. Have lots of cups of tea. There’s so much a cake in our house – toffee and walnut and lemon drizzle are particular favourites.

10. Enjoy and love your garden. I love gardening because it takes you out of the business of the world and into something that’s quiet, calm, green and gentle.

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These 30 things make a house a home, according to British homeowners .
But do you agree?

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