By Adam Dutton

Stunning pictures show a couple’s spectacular ‘four seasons’ garden bursting with spring colours – hidden in the industrial heartland of the Black Country.

Tony Newton, 74, and wife Marie, 76, have devoted 42 years and more than £15,000 transforming their ordinary suburban garden into an idyllic oasis.

Their garden in Walsall, West Mids., features more than 3,000 plants and flowers, including 450 azalea, 120 Japanese maples, 15 juniper blue stars.

Locals have nicknamed the stunning garden ‘four seasons’ after the couple deliberately planted different flowers to bloom all year round.

The green-fingered couple spend up to eight hours every day maintaining the quarter-of-an-acre plot which attracts visitors from around the world.

Marie said: “Over the years we’ve had a lot of interest. Someone flew in from New York.

“We’ve had a lot of Chinese tourists. We’ve been all over the world.

“We had a couple of Chinese girls come down from Sheffield on a landscape course. Back in China they’d heard even about us.

“We used to open the garden once a year to the public but we now share it with just family and friends.”

Marie started gardening as a hobby after she retired from her job as a transport planner in 1982.

When Tony retired as a GP a couple of years later, the couple dedicated their time to cultivating their garden paradise.

Marie recalled: “I used to work on the grass and the borders a little here and there.

“I had to stay in ear shot of the landline and we had four children in five years so we were very busy.

“The garden became a feature to keep them entertained.

“We started in 1992 to develop it. We made the garden safe for the kids and attracted the children.

“After ten years they got more sophisticated. Between 1992 and 1995 we landscaped all of it. We did it all ourselves, without any outside help.

“Tony laid the paths and I was quite happy to wield a pickaxe.

“It’s gradually evolved over the years. In 2000 we built a stream and two years later built a second stream.

“We used to use head torches in the dark evenings and do the work in the garden.

“It’s the Black Country and as we always say it’s where the black country turns green. We have no houses behind us.

“We’ve got a variety of evergreens. We created the garden with lots of views, anchor plants. Spring and autumn are the two most vivid.

“They all turn lovely colours. The main trees we’ve got are maples and acers.

“They’re just brilliant colours. In the winter it’s lots and lots of bulbs. We’ve got colour all year round.

“A lot of neighbours ask advice sometimes, we all have larger gardens. We’ve had no formal training. It’s just been trial and error, a lot of error.

“We know what we need now. You have to look at the plants to see which is being the most dominant. Sometimes you have to meditate.

“We’ve been here for 42 years now and we’ve mastered our garden.

“There are times when we don’t go out, or we could spend eight hours. It can be busy in the autumn with all the leaves.

“In the spring there’s a lot, especially with the bulb leaves. There are peaks and troughs.

“It’s an all-year round thing. We try to spread it around. We’re a team, we don’t mind helping each other.”

As word spread, the couple, who have five grandchildren, would get used to strangers turning up at their door begging to see their garden.

In 2006 the couple won Walsall in bloom and the next year were crowned winners of ‘Britain’s best garden’ competition.

In 2015, celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh took a guided tour of their creations before presenting them with an award.

Thanks to the mild winter and wet spring, the couple say this year’s blooms are the most colourful yet.

Tony said: “Each year is different but May is a wonderful time.

“The colours haven’t been scorched thanks to there being no frost. It’s a celebration of the changing of the season.

“It’s a joy to see nature bursting through again. We’ve created our garden to burst through all the seasons, but late May is a beautiful time. It’s a joy to see.

“We’ve put lots of work in, between us, it’s a partnership working in the garden. The garden gives back.”

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