Gardening: Almondbury couple’s dedication wins them garden of the Year prize
THE call to tell Bruce and Maureen Heath that they had won top prize in the Examiner of the Year competition interrupted a family tea.
They were flabbergasted, then delighted. We are over the moon, said Bruce, a semi-retired accountant.
The couple received the Examiner Garden of the Year trophy, a s500 cash prize donated by the Examiner, Armitages Garden Centres vouchers worth s100 and a gardening book from Waterstones.
Family comes first for this modest couple, but the glorious garden they have created on a steeply sloping site at Almondbury surely comes a close second.
We are in the garden every day and if it rains, Im in the greenhouse, said Maureen.
The Heaths downsized when they moved from Lindley to their present home 10 years ago.
Their daughter, Deborah and son, Michael had moved on, creating their own lives.
Now all the family, including grandsons George, 14, Hamish, eight, and Monty, six, can enjoy this idyllic garden with the boys already showing interest in being the familys next generation of gardeners.
When we got engaged, we gardened up at Bruces mums, said Maureen. We were saving up to get married.
I used to help my dad in his garden and Bruce helped his grandad.
Gardening is clearly in the genes of this talented couple.
Their spectacular garden is not only beautiful, it is hugely productive.
The third of an acre garden has been transformed by the Heaths who have cleverly used the tree-lined environment to blend their garden with the wider landscape beyond.
They are keen wine-makers and grow vines with great success. But Maureen also picked 10 pounds of cherries at the weekend and there are figs, apples, raspberries, loganberries, tayberries, gooseberries, red currants, rhubarb and virtually every other kind of fruit you could wish for.
In the vegetable garden, the story is the same. It is immaculate, healthy and highly productive.
I do the flowers and Bruce does the vegetables and builds all the structures, said Maureen.
When a crop finishes, something else goes in its place.
That means everything from beans, dwarf, runner and broad, peas, sweet corn, Jerusalem artichokes, horse radish, turnips, swede, leeks, salad crops including beetroot, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. Theres even gingko biloba. And thats only whats obvious at first glance.