Couple opens exotic garden for tenth time for charity day

Melvin and Linda Moran from Castleford are opening up their garden to the public as part of the yellow book scheme, which they have taken part in for the last 10 years.
Melvin and Linda Moran from Castleford are opening up their garden to the public as part of the yellow book scheme, which they have taken part in for the last 10 years.
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A Castleford couple will open up their garden to the public for the tenth time this year to raise money for charity.

Melvin and Linda Moran’s ‘Little Eden’ was the first council house garden in the country to be recognised as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS), and have welcomed visitors for six years to support charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Parkinson’s UK.

Mrs Moran, 66, started work on the garden after the couple visited Cornwall’s Eden Project.

She began gardening as a child, helping out her grandparents.

Mrs Moran’s aunt, Betty Clark, suggested the couple joined the Yellow Book programme but died of cancer a week later and never got to see their first NGS opening.

For four years before that, the couple also invited people to see their 60ft by 30ft tropical paradise, to raise funds for Doctor Jackson’s cancer ward at Pontefract General Infirmary.

He said: “It all started after visiting the Eden Project and we just thought I wonder if we can do anything similar in Yorkshire.

“I am glad we managed to do something to improve what people reckon of council house estates. You don’t have to be rich to take pride in your garden.

“We do it to make the place look better and hopefully it will give people coming to visit it ideas about what they can do too.”

Mr Moran, who is disabled but helps out with the garden when he can, said: “People are amazed at the amount of plants we have got in, the types we have and how well they look in this climate.

“We always said it’s just trial and error. We look on the internet about what the plants require, where to position them and how to look after them. If we can do it, anyone else can.”

Mr and Mrs Moran will open their garden, at 29 Lancaster Street, to the public on Sunday, August 23 from 10am until 4.30pm.

Mr and Mrs Moran’s garden features plants native to places as far away as Australia, Africa and the Canary Islands.

It includes banana and kiwi plants, a grape vine and orange trees.

Other features include a summer house, benches and a pond and waterfall.

It has attracted visitors from across the country and one couple even came to see it from Sweden, after seeing it on Gardeners’ World and in national newspapers and magazines.

Mr Moran said: ”They were on holiday in England and were going from the Lake District down to London. They said they had to call in and see it on their way.”

In 2011, the year the garden was featured on Gardeners’ World, they had more than 350 people call in to see it.

The garden appeared on an episode of the show looking at the most inspirational gardens in the north.