Express & Star

Devoted gardener fighting skin cancer determined to keep enjoying his beautiful blooms

An award-winning gardener suffering from skin cancer is pushing on to keep his passion project going strong.

Dennis Amos 77, with his award winning garden that has been helping him as he battles cancer

Dennis Amos, 78, from Oldbury is often seen tending to his plants at 6am each day.

In the past, the retired builder's green fingers have seen him earn the Best Garden in the Country title in a contest judged by Peter Seabrooke, an exhibitor at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Dennis said: "I have been suffering from skin cancer and have had a bad year so far.

Dennis Amos

"They took a cancerous tumour out of my face in February which has left me disfigured.

"But my consultant told me to keep going with what I enjoy, don't sit around, but make sure you cover up.

"I went to see the consultant the other day and she was quite pleased.

"I do have another tumour on my chest, but I am still chirpy, still here to tell the tale and enjoying my gardening."

The 78-year-old's speciality is begonias, but you can also find tree lilies, marigolds, various roses, daisies, foxgloves and lupines at his Oldbury home.

Dennis Amos

"In the morning I spend around four hours working, then in the evening I put in around four hours again," Dennis said.

"I do deadheading and watering in the morning which is hard work.

"I save the washing up water and use that in my watering can.

"It's hard work, but you have to be dedicated.

"I have a lovely wife, Jean, who has been absolutely brilliant, looked after me and pushed me along all the way."

Dennis has worked outside all his life, from his time as a builder to his passion project, and now wants to warn people of the measures they should take to stay healthy.

"I must say to people who work in gardens, be careful, please cover up.

"I am in the garden every day, morning and night, but try and avoid the middays.

"I want to express my thanks to the NHS services, I have been seen at the City Hospital and the QE and have had no troubles whatsoever."

Dennis Amos 77, with his award winning garden that has been helping him as he battles cancer

Dennis has been an avid gardener for about seven years although he and his wife have lived in their present home on Farm Road for 28.

"A big tip is you must keep deadheading, if you deadhead one flower you get two the next day.

"You must water morning and night if there's no rain.

"And you must be dedicated, you need to weed every day, keep it tidy, stake anything you think might struggle in the wind.

"I go to bed every night thinking 'what am I going to do tomorrow' then when I wake up I think 'I will sort out what I was thinking of last night', I love it.

"It keeps me going, that along with my grandchildren and children."

Dennis' garden is about 100 feet long and 30 feet wide and he often gets help from his grandchildren, Jessica, 14, Daniel, 11, Emily, 13 and Natalie, 12, to keep it maintained.

Picture taken in 2015 of Dennis Amos with his granddaughters (L to R) Emily Amos and Natalie Amos

"I think it might be the last year I do this, I might have to slow down as I don't know what the illness will bring, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

"If anyone out there who knows me, they are welcome to come and see my garden.

"And if anyone knows of any competitions around I would love them to let me know."

Anyone with information on competitions which David could enter is asked to email and the information will be passed on.