A grandfather from Stapenhill has such a lovely garden that he’s won two awards – and even helps friends and families out with their shrubberies too.
Avid gardener James Earley, 65, has not stopped working on his impressive garden since he moved into his house in Lincoln Road in 1986.
The green-fingered grower has felt so passionately about his flowers and plants that his stunning garden has become a talking point of the village.
“It feels nice to be recognised but to me, it’s just something I do,” the father of four said.
“I’ve been gardening for a long time; I’ve enjoyed doing it. When people come round to visit they always make a comment about the garden”.
Since gaining recognition for his floral talents, neighbours of Mr Earley had encouraged him to enter ‘Burton in Bloom’ in 2015.
After a visit from two impressed judges, James, who lives with his wife Janice, revealed that he was awarded a bronze and silver award for his impressive vegetable patches.
The awards, organised by East Staffordshire Borough Council, aim to celebrate those who put pride into their gardening and make the local area a better place to live.
Mr Earley entered the awards the following year and once again wowed the judges, but this time for his stunning hanging baskets. He was presented a bronze award for his efforts.
Not only has James brightened up Stapenhill, friends and family often ask the popular plant-grower if he could help them with their own gardens too.
Over many years he has gifted shrubberies to countless people and even contributed 80 tomato plants to a local street party which was raising money for charity.
The modest gardener said: “I think it’s mainly your attitude towards people. If you get on with people, you’ll be fine.”
As a hard worker, Mr Earley had many jobs throughout his life, his most recent being as an employee at B&Q, in Branston, where he worked as a team leader.
However, in November last year, James’ arthritis condition “got the better of him” and he was unable to continue his employment at B&Q.
"Gardening is something to keep my hands going," he said. "Most people would want to give up. I think it’s a good thing for a lot of people because it’s a distraction. It keeps your mind occupied. You’re not thinking about any illness that you have."
Over nine years Mr Earley’s condition has spread across his entire body and unfortunately his spine is rapidly deteriorating.
"I just keep going," James said.
Mr Ealey continues to work on his garden and looks forward to putting his skills to good use by helping others in the area.
James Ealey’s top tips for keeping your garden in perfect condition
- Be sure to water them first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening before the sun sets. The rain often isn’t enough.
- Make sure you keep on top of looking after your plants at all times. If you go away on holiday ask a friend or neighbour to water your plants for you to keep them alive while you’re gone.
- Avoid plant sprays such as miracle growers; good old-fashioned water and sunshine will suffice.
- Plant your tallest flowers at the back and smallest at the front. That way the colours of the plants can appear to be coming downwards.