RON and Margaret Booth’s house and garden were deluged by two feet of water in the floods of four years ago.
So their achievement in winning a competition for the best private garden in Sheffield is little short of remarkable.
The couple’s efforts in Mill Lane, Deepcar, struck gold in one of the sections in Sheffield in Bloom, the annual contest to highlight the horticultural accomplishments of residents, businesses and community organisations.
“We have managed to get silver twice before but now we’ve got gold and are the overall winner of the category,” said Ron, aged 66. “It’s champion.”
But it was all very different in June 2007.
“All the water came down from the top of Stocksbridge and our house was on the lowest ground. We have a stream at the bottom of the garden and the water came on to the front garden and the drive and then into the house.
“There was a couple of feet of water in the house and in the garden. It was a mess.
“I managed to save some of the plants but it was like starting from scratch.”
The turnaround was complete when Sheffield in Bloom judges were bowled over by the profusion of colour that surrounds the property.
Ron, who used to work in maintenance at the Stocksbridge paper mill, described it as a normal house, but it has been brightened up with “eight or nine hanging baskets plus tubs and containers”.
“In the back garden are “two greenhouses, a little bit of lawn, a little bit of patio and plants all over. You name it, I grow it.”
In fact, there are so many plants that it takes him “an hour to an hour and a half” to water them all.
It’s a joint effort, with Mary, who used to work in a clothes shop, helping with the weeding and the potting. But it’s a labour of love, rooted over many years.
“People think it’s just during the summer but my work starts when all the flowers have done,” said Ron. “I’ve got to strip them down, take cuttings and pot them on. Both greenhouses are packed at Christmas.”
Awards were presented in a ceremony at the town hall.
Now the Booths are keeping their green fingers crossed for the Stocksbridge in Bloom competition.