We are fortunate in living near one of the finest garden centres in the United Kingdom. I recollect buying expensive conifers from the founder, Lawrence Walker, when we first moved to South Yorkshire from Lancashire some thirty five years ago. There was always some blue grafted specimen on the bench outside his greenhouses. Today Walkers Garden Centre is an increasingly stylish place with shops and a fabulous cafe to complement the plants that are always in top condition, the nursery run to perfection by Lawrence and Vera’s daughter, Elaine.  But it is the show gardens that feature here, the design of which was by Graham Bodle, Elaine’s son and Gold Medal winner from Chelsea. However the first photographs are from Lawrence’s original gardens.

Taking eight acres of what used to be quarry land and then rose beds for the “Walkers Roses” of old, Graham has created a park full of detail, from the reed bed below to the pond with my shadow prominent in the winter’s low sun.

Here we move to the outside eating area where one might dine well, enjoy the view and listen to the roar of the aircraft landing or taking off from the adjacent Robin Hood Airport. And what a joy it is to see specimen conifers celebrated so spectacularly.

Her son  

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