In pictures: The Shropshire couple behind one of the UK's most popular gardens

Shropshire is boasting not one but two finalists for the BBC Gardener's World Magazine Gardens of the Year awards.

Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World Award. Photo: Neil Hepworth
Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World Award. Photo: Neil Hepworth

Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from near Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World People’s Choice 'Garden of the Year' Award, which is now open to a public vote.

They are one of two Shropshire households to be nominated for the award, which attracted almost 1,000 entries.

John and Sarah have spent the last three years transforming a tidy but uninspiring plot into a wild wonderland.

Prior to their hardwork, the modest-sized garden featured not much more than a well manicured lawn and patio area

Before their hard work, the modest-sized garden featured not much more than a well-manicured lawn and patio.

Three years later, their garden showcases several seating areas, green roofs and a greenhouse as well as being jam-packed with plants of all sizes, shapes and colours.

"Most of it's for the bugs, we grow a lot of plants for bugs and bees and it's always full." John explained: "We get all sorts of insects including dragonflies, they really love what we've done with the place."

Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World Award. Photo: Neil Hepworth

It's not all for the bugs though, as the couple has ensured the perfect setting to enjoy their spoils.

"I do really enjoy our seating area," John added: "Where you can look back over the garden with a glass of wine and see the picture you have in your head be there in real life.

"That's my favourite bit about gardening - seeing that picture come to life."

Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World Award. Photo: Neil Hepworth

Whilst John, a university lecturer in neuroscience, has been an avid gardener for over 25 years, until recently his love for gardening was between him, his grandad, and the bees.

John said: "Until Sarah moved in I had no idea anyone cared about my garden, it was just something I did on my own and for myself.

"Sarah started taking some photos and putting them online and the whole thing took off, it made me realise we had something really special.

"So it was amazing to be selected as a finalist for the award."

Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World Award. Photo: Neil Hepworth

John began gardening when he was just 12 years old when the death of his great-grandad resulted in his parents inheriting a greenhouse.

"I just started messing around and seeing what I could make," John said: "My inspiration is my grandad though really.

Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World Award. Photo: Neil Hepworth

"He is a really keen gardener, and we're like best mates when it comes to gardening, we're always swapping ideas and tips and tricks.

"I have told him we're in the final, I'm sure he's very proud but you know what that generation are like - he won't tell me, but I know he is."

The other finalist from Shropshire is Ian Rayer-Smith.

Couple John Butcher, 37 and Sarah Berry, 33, from Market Drayton are among eight households shortlisted in the BBC Gardeners’ World Award. Photo: Neil Hepworth

All the finalists are now open to public vote at gardenersworld.com/garden-competition. Voting closes at midday on November 14 with the winner revealed in the January issue of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine.

All gardens are also featured in the November issue of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine.

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