Tony and Marie

Four Seasons Garden

We met in Birmingham in 1972 when we were both students, and married in 1975. We have four children, two girls and two boys, who are now in their thirties.  Our fourth grandchild was born in December 2018.

Prior to 1972 Marie worked as a volunteer, firstly as a housemother in a half-way house in Houston, Texas for one year and then as an unqualified nurse in Guatemala for more than two years, before returning to Birmingham, England, to start formal nurse training.  In 1977 we both worked for 9 months as volunteers in a rural hospital in West Bengal, India.

Until our retirement in October 2009, Tony was a GP (General Medical Practitioner) and Marie had worked for a few years as a Transport Planner with Walsall Council after a previous career as a nurse, midwife and health visitor.  

Tony’s parents had a large garden in Southampton. He was brought up on endless weeding of vegetable plots. He resolved that if he ever had his own garden that he would somehow beat the weeds. He also developed very useful pruning skills whilst cutting more than 150 yards of hedges at his parents’ home.

Tony came from a great sporting family and his schoolboy achievements included representing England in athletics and playing Rugby for the South of England. Since then he has channelled his energies into work, family and gardening!


2005 painting the pagoda pieces.


When she was eleven, Marie’s parents allocated her a small garden patch, but it was overshadowed by a large tree and covered in chick-weed! In her teenage years Marie enjoyed doing much of the heavy physical work entailed in re-landscaping her family’s quite large garden.

It was only when she was a student, sharing a house with others, that she got properly into growing plants, including vegetables. Tony came on the scene and gave some expert advice! 

We met in 1972 and ever since then we have shared a passion for gardening! At our first home in Birmingham we grew lots of vegetables and started collecting acers and azaleas.

In 1982 we moved to Walsall, which is where the Black Country turns green! A third of the borough is green open space and there are many miles of canals.

Since 1992, without outside help, we have dramatically re-landscaped and re-planted. We have won the battle with weeds, built a chalet store, summer house, large wooden oriental pagoda, smaller pagoda and created three water features, including a cascading 17 metre (56ft) stream.

We have derived immense pleasure from doing this huge project together. It is very satisfying to use so many skills, and to have done every task ourselves, despite us both having full times jobs.  


1993 landscaping the lower garden.


We’ve come a long way along the gardening route since 1973 when Marie killed her blackfly infested runner bean plants by spraying them with a strong solution of washing up liquid! 


2001 building the first stream.

1982 upper garden

It gives us pleasure to walk in our garden on every day of the year and to share the delights with others.
 2019 upper garden

We hope you visit our garden on the open days and experience just some of the pleasure it has given our family, friends and visitors.

Our story