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Garden a cut above for hedges.

For Ronald Middleton, his garden is a labour of love, not to mention, hard graft

Ronald Middleton of Blyth has had quite a hard year. However, his garden makes everything more enjoyable since he started working on it 20 years ago.

The 73-year-old grafts seven days a week, nine hours a day, to get his garden the way he wants it.

"You never get sick of gardening, maybe tired but never sick, I love my garden and spend every minute I can in it," he says. He loves the style of his colourful garden, with 26 hanging baskets, bright flowers, colourful arches and numerous pots. He also takes great care in cutting the hedges into the shapes of a duck, goose and a teddy bear. The teddy actually has eyes. Shaping the hedges properly has taken him seven years, but has been worthwhile.

Ronald has recently come out of hospital after a full knee replacement. He missed the garden during his hospital stay, however, when he was away his neighbours, who frequently admire the garden, helped to mow the lawn, which kept his garden in shape. It isn't just his neighbours who admire the garden, passers-by frequently stop the car just to look at the garden. "It's a very nice estate," explains Ronald. "All of the neighbours look after their gardens."

As well as the wide selection of flowers and a beautifully kept lawn, one feature that stands out in the garden is a pond surrounded by bright flowers and shrubs. The pond has been there since he first started work on the garden about two decades ago and is now home to a variety of creatures including 55 fish, newts and frogs. It isn't just flowers and shrubs in this garden, there is also a table with two flower pot men either side of it, which Ronald got specially made and a garden gnome hiding among the many flowers.

His wife Moira, 73, also loves gardening and frequently helps him out. They've been married for 53 years and were engaged for three years before that.

So does he ever sit and relax in the garden? "No, I am always doing something to improve it," he admits, but despite the hard work, he does thoroughly enjoy it. He particularly enjoys looking after the beautiful sweet peas. When asked about the Me and My Garden competition he said "You've got to be a good loser at gardening, but there is always a chance. You've got to keep trying."
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 22, 2005
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