Colour, craft and 3,000 plants: The incredible Walsall garden open to the public this weekend
Full of colourful flowers and vibrant foliage – it’s a tranquil and beautiful paradise that takes your breath away.
As the birds sing in the trees and and the stream trickles in the distance, Tony and Marie Newton’s spectacular garden is coming to life thanks to the May sunshine.
Creating their beautiful haven Four Seasons has been a labour of love for the self-taught gardeners since they first moved into the home a mile away from Walsall town centre in 1982.
Their first priority had been to make their quarter-acre garden a safe and welcoming place for their growing family.
Then, as their needs and interests changed, they took the first steps towards creating the meticulous landscaped oasis that exists today.
With more than 3,000 plants, including 450 azaleas, 120 acers, 100 camellias and several conifers, they have planted their garden to ensure it’s interesting and eye-catching in all four seasons.
“The garden has just evolved over time and is still evolving now. It’s a pleasure to walk around the garden every day and see it in the different seasons when there is always beauty to be found. It’s just as stunning in winter as it is now,” says retired GP Tony, 71.
Their secret is to combine evergreen and deciduous trees that provide all-year round colour with the likes of the azaleas and camellias while adding bedding plants such as begonias during the summer months.
“We like contrasting lots of bright colours – especially reds, blues and yellows throughout the garden so we might have a red azalea next to a yellow or blue conifer,” says retired transplant planner Marie, also 71.
While the upper garden has formal planting, the middle has been transformed into a jungle area with palms, bamboos and banana plants as well an oriental pagoda and fairy houses made by Marie.
In the lower garden, there is a 54ft stream, complete with waterfall and bridges, as well as a summerhouse with heating, lighting and music.
When it comes to ensuring their garden, which gently slopes down to the mature deciduous trees on their boundary with Walsall Arboretum, is always looking it’s best, “little and often” is the couple’s mantra.
Pruning is their biggest job as they want to ensure each plant or tree has the space it needs.
“We control the growth by pruning and giving the impression that nothing is changing but actually the garden is trying to change all the time.
“It’s understanding the plants and that they’ve got to live with each other and ensuring there is balance and harmony by giving each plant space. I believe that plants give you hints when they need a little bit of tender loving care so it’s about listening to those cues and acting on them. It’s not about perfection, no garden is ever going to be perfect. It’s just about removing any obvious eyesores and problems,” explains Tony.
Marie says they’ve gained plenty of experience over the years which helps them to ensure the garden, which also attracts wildlife including hedgehogs and foxes, springs back into life every year.
The couple, who have four grown up children and four grandchildren, say gardening is a shared passion and estimate that on average they spend two hours a day each over the year tending to their cherished space.
“Some days it might be more and some days we might not do any. It depends on the time of year and what needs doing,” says Marie.
But they make sure to take time to sit back and enjoy their garden, which is used for family celebrations too – although the couple say they are always keeping an eye out for any job that might need doing.
“We will be sat having a cup of tea when one us will jump up to do something we’ve just spotted. We often walk around the garden checking on how things are growing and what’s changing as the seasons develop,” adds Marie.
During the past 12 years the couple have raised more than £46,500 for charity, held in excess of than 100 open days, and have welcomed over 14,000 visitors from 43 countries.
And this weekend the couple are once again throwing open their gate in aid of the National Garden Scheme.
“We didn’t do all of this to hold open days, that was something that happened over time, but we do enjoying sharing the garden with others,” says Marie.
- Four Seasons at 26 Buchanan Road, Walsall, is open from 10am until 5pm Saturday and Sunday (May 18 and 19).