Green fingers

Janice and Frank Flynn in  their garden at Wheel Lane, Pilling.
Janice and Frank Flynn in their garden at Wheel Lane, Pilling.
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IT’S been a real labour of love, but Janice and Frank Flynn have their gardens just how they want them.

And the prize-winning gardens in Pilling will be open for the 10th year running this summer to raise money for charity.

The green-fingered couple have been cultivating the gardens at Chapel House, Wheel Lane, for more than a decade, since buying it in 1996.

As soon as mum-of-two Janice saw the garden, she wanted to buy the place – regardless of the house.

She said: “We were shown the garden first and as we walked down the lawn, a duck and her ducklings waddled towards us.

“I asked if we could buy it and Frank said ‘You haven’t seen the house yet’. I replied ‘I don’t need to, I can fix it. It’s the garden I want!

“The garden was daunting at first. I really knew nothing and I was, at times overwhelmed.”

Taking things slowly at first, Janice began to plan the garden she wanted and started work.

There was a methodist chapel, built in 1813, which was demolished, and the stone used in the village school wall and the windows in a house in School Lane.

Starting at the front, which was just concrete, the couple, who have played in the Frank Flynn Trio since the 60s and 70s, created a small Japanese garden, and moved on to the driveway, before re-designing the main garden.

A folly was built, followed by a stunning Japanese water garden and Janice’s Garden, Frank gave her for her 60th, which includes a greenhouse. The rotten old barns were demolished and a double garage built with a clock tower on the roof.

Janice entered the Pilling community Garden in Bloom competition in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and won first prize each time.

The couple first decided to open their garden in 2002 to raise funds for Over Wyre Macmillan Cancer Relief Fund.

Janice, 67, said: “It’s been hard work, but the pleasure it gives to me and now to others is quite wonderful.

“Everyone who comes here says it’s magical and has a deep sense of peace.

“I’ll just carry on as long as I can and while I still enjoy it and hope one day someone will continue the work and put their own stamp on it.”

Frank 68, added: “Macmillan’s a really good cause and we know people who have been affected by cancer, so many people do.”

This year, the garden will be open on June 26, 11am until 3pm.

Admission is £5. There will be a raffle, along with a cake stall and plant stall.

For details, call (01253) 790293.