NINE years after moving into their Sheffield home, Penny and Norman Clarry have decided it is time to share the delights of the garden.
This weekend, for the first time, they are opening the gate in Whiteley Lane, Fulwood, to visitors, raising money for two charities.
“I do a lot of gardening and my friends have been badgering me to open it up,” said Penny. “This year is the year.”
It was a beautiful garden when they bought the property but the couple found it was going to be difficult to maintain. As well as old gravel paths, there were many old and diseased fruit trees and conifers which had grown too big and gave the garden a gloomy air.
Significant improvements over the years have seen the removal of trees, reinstatement of the pond and cascade and new paths being laid. Now there are well-planted herbaceous borders and mature and unusual plants to inspire the gardener. Last year a pergola was installed, which is planted with wisteria, clematis and rambling roses.
“My father was a very keen gardener so I think it is in my blood,” said Penny, who used to be an assistant manager at the University of Sheffield’s Ranmoor House. “I love to show people around.”
The two charities – the Alzheimer’s Society and Raleigh International, which sees volunteers working abroad on community and environmental projects – are close to her heart.
Penny’s mother, Sylvia Johnson, who died last January, had Alzheimer’s, while her younger son, Alex, is raising money to go next year to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, building village kindergartens with Raleigh International.
Penny tends the garden “when time permits. When my mum was alive, I spent a lot of time helping her. Now I have got the time, I have no excuse.”
Until the recent suny spell, the weather has meant that her efforts might not yet have reached full fruition but, with a helping hand from friends, she is welcoming visitors to the house at 14 Whiteley Lane, near Forge Dam, on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 4pm.
Admission is £2 and there will be refreshments and plants on sale.
lSheffield’s Chelsea Flower Show connection, page 19
lCactus Show preview, Listings.