Louth
August 25, 2021 10.45 am

The Secret Garden of Louth: Hidden paradise took decades to build

The garden continues to blossom each year

A former singer and a lorry driver have been working tirelessly for more than two decades to create a secret paradise garden full of thousands of plants at their home in Louth – and The Lincolnite went to check it out.

Jenny and Rodger Grasham sunk the first spade to start creating their stunning garden on Watts Lane in the mid-90s, which had previously just been all grass.

It has continued to blossom ever since, with more and more plants being added, including 15 different varieties of banana plants, around 20 Brugmansias, and unusual plants such as Brassaiopsis. There are also ponds with frogs, newts and Koi fish, as well as places to relax, with names such as ‘The Clearing’ and ‘The African Hut’.

The original layout and planting took around 10 years to create, but the work never stopped over the next 10 years and beyond, with the garden continuing to evolve into the tropical garden it is today.

Friends kept suggesting they should open to the public and the couple joined up with the National Garden Scheme in 2003, with the £3 entry fee going to the charity.

Step inside The Secret Garden of Louth. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The African Hut is among the various places to sit and relax in the garden. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

There are thousands of plants in the secret garden. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Jenny and Rodger’s four children, including Stuart (front) whose love of the outdoors inspired the start of the secret garden. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The garden dream started when their youngest son Stuart, who is now 34, loved playing outdoors as a child.

They spent time outside with Stuart and their other three children Gareth, Louise and Andrea. Rodger dug a patch for Stuart’s bluebells and this grew with more flowers…and the rest, as they say, is history!

This prompted Jenny to keep digging and, after reading a lot of gardening magazines, she developed the layout of the garden before it opened to the public in 2003.

You can’t tell from standing outside the wonders that await in the garden – it is definitely worth checking out! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The original garden. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Jenny and Rodger Grasham sunk the first spade to start creating their stunning garden in the mid-90s. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

What a stunning garden! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

An average of around 50 people have visited every day since the couple moved to an appointment system last year. And Jenny is proud the public can visit the garden for a 19th year.

People can visit and spend time in the garden for six weeks of the year on Thursdays and Sundays from July 22 until the end of August (11am to 4pm) – book by calling 07977 318145 or by messaging the Facebook page.

After this date, private group bookings, and special occasions and reasons, can be accommodated where possible. Some of the plants are then moved indoors with a heat mat and are regularly maintained, along with those still outside.

In addition to visiting the garden people can also buy plants from Jenny and Rodger, with 10% going to the National Garden Scheme and the remaining funds helping to maintain and add to their outside paradise.

So many plants and flowers to admire! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

One of the ponds is full of Koi fish. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Jenny and Rodger love welcoming people into their garden. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Jenny used to sing in pubs and clubs, before moving onto hotels, care homes and day centres in Lincolnshire, including in Louth, Skegness, Gainsborough and Lincoln. She retired last year and is focusing more of her time on the garden.

Jenny, who is originally from London, told The Lincolnite: “We grow thousands of plants in the garden to create a feel and a picture.

“My motto is ‘with plants go large, big leaves, and pack it all in’ and I don’t like bare soil. I continue to adapt and develop the garden and keep planting new things.”

Rodger added: “The garden means a lot to us, and during lockdown it gave us something to focus on. I enjoy spending time out here every day.”

See the rest of our photo gallery below

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

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