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Couple bring Spark to their garden.

In just four years the Sparks have transformed their garden from a barren waste into a spectacular splash of floral colour.

And that's in spite of the fact that they're both partially disabled.

Raymond, 59, needs two new hips, while Yvonne, 53, has trouble with arthritis and has had a number of major operations.

Because of their disabilities, the couple, who have three grown-up children, are unable to work, and so they've poured all their energies into their garden.

When they first moved into their home in The Green, Rowlands Gill, the garden consisted of four massive trees. And that was it.

After removing the trees, the couple embarked on the project of transforming the garden into a little paradise.

First they laid colourful gravel on both front and back gardens and then they began to introduce pots, containers, hanging baskets, ornaments and a water feature.

The water feature consists of a large tap with a barrel underneath it containing goldfish.

Many of the ornaments, including two pagodas, have been made by Raymond, a former carpenter, who has put his skills to good use.

In the back garden, among the blooms, you will find a bridges with a gnome sitting on it, Snow White and the seven dwarves, wheelbarrows and windmills, plus a Tunisian-style pagoda, made by Raymond.

"You name it, we've got it," says Yvonne. "We spend all our time in the garden."

And the front garden is just as eclectic, boasting not just blooms but a Chinese-style pagoda and Chinese statues. Yvonne says: "We decided to gravel the gardens as we thought grass would be too much work but watering all the plants is proving just as hard."

The garden is also a magnet for local wildlife, with birds and a squirrel making it their home.

Do you have a fantastic garden? We've teamed up with Tynedale Retail Park, which will be giving every reader whose garden is featured in the Evening Chronicle a pounds 10 voucher, with a fabulous pounds 250 voucher for the overall winner.

We want to hear from readers who have done something special with their little plot of land.

Maybe you've turned a bit of wasteground into an oasis, or turned a drab yard into a thing of beauty. Perhaps your window box is the envy of the street, or maybe you've overcome personal problems to make a garden to be proud of. Write to: Me and My Garden, Features Department, Evening Chronicle, Groat Market, Newcastle NE1 1ED, or jennifer.bradbury @ncjmedia.co.uk. Please include your name and contact details, and photographs if possible.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2004
Words:432
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