A GREEN-FINGERED great-grandfather has seen his stunning garden become an accidental tourist attraction.
Robert Burns inherited a front garden which was a jungle of weeds when he moved in to his pretty cottage on the banks of Loch Lomond with wife Lizzie in 2000.
Now visitors travel from around the world to admire the cottage, which the couple painstakingly transformed into a joyful oasis of blooming colour.
Tour buses stop outside the holidaymakers’ hotspot in the hamlet of Aldochlay, just south of Luss, Argyll, so that passengers can hop off and take selfies with the blooms.
Robert, 75, sometimes sees the flashes of cameras outside his windows at night – much to his bemusement.
And he was even more astonished when a friend discovered the immaculate garden features on coasters, fridge magnets and jigsaws for sale in gift shops in England.
He said: “One of my friends bought a jigsaw from England after realising it was my house. He then did it and put it in a frame.”
It’s a far cry from the couple’s early days in the home. Robert admitted: “It was a jungle so my wife and I set about altering it.”
Their work soon began attracting attention and interest has snowballed.
“At first I was quite excited but I’m used to it now,” added Robert, who used to run a business selling garden tubs.
The great-grandfather-of-six loyally credits his late wife for the plaudits the garden receives, adding: “My wife liked the garden, she was a good gardener.” Lizzie died in 2011 after the pair had been married for 50 years, but Robert has carried on tending to the picture-postcard space which looks out to the island of Inchtavannach.
But there has been a price to pay for his garden’s fame, as he has been forced to lock his front gate and put cones on the pavement outside to stop people from parking there and blocking his view.
But overall, Robert is enjoying the attention his garden is receiving, although he admits he “isn’t getting any younger”. He suffered from cancer in 2003 and had to stop working for 18 months while he recovered, but the disease returned in 2010 and he had a kidney removed.
But while his plot looks practically perfect, there is one common gardener’s plight that Robert has struggled to shake off.
He has had to change many of the flowers in his garden due to rabbits, and has tried to find plants that the animals won’t eat. “I have begonias, dahlias, impatiens, fuchsias and nasturtiums,” said Robert. “But the rabbits have started eating the nasturtiums.”
Ultimately, he maintains the garden because he enjoys it.
“I don’t do it to be better than anybody,” added Robert. “Other people get pleasure out of it.
“I’m not The Beechgrove Garden. I couldn’t give anybody any tips. Sometimes it takes me ages to remember the names of the plants I’ve put in!”
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