Britain's best gardening couple spend lockdown tending their oasis

Story and video from SWNS

A couple who created Britain's best garden have outdone themselves with a spring spectacular bursting with colour after spending lockdown tending to their oasis.

Retired GP Tony Newton and wife Marie have crammed 3,000 plants and flowers, including 450 azaleas, 120 Japanese maples and 15 blue star junipers into a quarter of an acre.

The couple have spent 38 years transforming their modest plot in the industrial heartland of the Black Country into what is now nicknamed the "four seasons garden".

Since lockdown, the couple have continued to plant Acers and camellias thanks to online shopping.They have even installed large bird-feeding stations onto the patio which has been playfully designed to look like the face of an owl from above.

Dazzling drone pictures show the garden in Walsall, West Midlands, exploding with spring colours which the couple say is the most stunning display they have ever known.

Gran-of-four Marie, 72, started tending the garden in 1982 while working as a transport planner and a nurse while Tony, 70, joined her after he retired from medicine.

She said: "Tony and I usually spend two hours a day in the garden but obviously since the lockdown and the fact we are over 70 means we have even more time to spare.

"We are sometimes in the garden all day and only come in when it gets dark.

"We went into lockdown a little bit earlier than most people because Tony was a GP and I had been a nurse and so we could see the writing was on the wall.

"We had an open day planned for May 22 and we knew that wasn't going to happen.

Pictures from the 1980s show just how much work the couple have done to transform their muddy lawn and broken rockery into the oasis it is today.

The garden has become so popular it even features in unofficial tourist trails of the Black Country.

Retired GP Tony said: "First we made it child friendly for our kids but as the years went on we moved on to planting and growing our own flowers and plants.

"There has been a lot of trial and error to get the garden way it is now and the last few weeks we've really been able to explore even more ideas.

"A lot of our plants are now 30 years old or more."We've got so many different types of birds coming out.

"We've not been able to go out and we really miss the grandchildren because they used to love playing here.

"We've got fairy houses and the streams they played in. We used to look after them on a few nights a week but that's all stopped.

"It's quite painful to not have them but we keep in contact through Skype or FaceTime."