Home is where the art is for Much Wenlock's Kenneth - with pictures and video
An eye-catching garden in Much Wenlock, created on the site of a medieval hospital for lepers, is in full bloom and attracting admirers.
The Spital garden is the result of almost 40 years of development by artist and award-winning gardener Kenneth Milner.
Roses, orange blossoms, rambling rectors and geraniums are among the gorgeous blooms flowering at the 73-year-old’s home in Stretton Road.
Kenneth says the colourful flora often sees passing motorists pull over to take pictures of the garden that covers two thirds of an acre.
He says he designed and built the house himself with the help of relatives and started working on the garden when he moved there, in 1980.
In addition to flower beds, it features a range of weird and wonderful sculptures which he has made himself, with names including Serene, No Brain and Fungus of the Mind.
“When I was 14 I won the best garden prize in Much Wenlock, but when the judges came round I was so nervous I wouldn’t come outside to meet them. When I was 23 I won an award at the Shrewsbury Indoor chrysanthemum Show and I had some competition success with my vegetables too around that time.
“After that I started race walking and I still hold the record for the fastest time for Bridgnorth Walk at 3hrs:15mins. I still walk for Dudley Harriers.
“I named the garden The Spital to commemorate the leprosy hospital. I thought the sculptures would be a nice touch. I paint as well, particularly during the winter months. I don’t know where it comes from. I’m a creative person, but I never went to any classes. I’m self-taught.
“I made the sculptures out of cement. It is surprising because nothing here is contrived. The ideas have just developed over time. I bought the grounds in 1976 and built the house myself with the help of my brother George, who passed away, aged 68, in 2010. My cousin Clem Shaw, an architect, helped to draw the plans, but I designed the house and the garden myself.
“I do reflect on things because at school I got left behind and I don’t think the teachers thought I was very bright. I learned to read as an adult and I have written books which are on sale at the Much Wenlock Guildhall now,” Mr Milner says.
He added that visitors to the town’s open gardens event on July 9 were welcome to drop in at The Spital to have a closer look at his creations.