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Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 14:07 UK
Heavenly garden created by Castleford couple
Exotic garden in Castleford
The garden includes a range of exotic plants, unusual for West Yorkshire

A couple from Castleford have turned their modest council house garden into a tropical paradise.

Banana plants, orange and fig trees are all home-grown outside the home of Mel and Linda Moran.

The green-fingered pensioners efforts have left their garden in the same company as some of this country's grandest homes.

Their hard work has been recognised and have been accepted into the National Gardens Yellow Book Scheme, which includes the famous gardens at Hampton Court Palace, London.

The 60ft by 30ft garden includes more than 2,000 plants, including an exotic banana plant and work to transform it has taken only seven years.

The Moran's back garden is crammed full of blooms, including unusual tropical plants not usually seen in Castleford.

It features olive, orange and fig trees, as well as kiwi fruit, kumquats, blueberry, and pomegranate plants.

As part of the scheme the garden is opened to the public and visitors can admire the plants for a small fee, which is donated to charity.

Just because we live on a council estate doesn't mean we can't take pride in our garden.
Linda Moran, garden-enthusiast, Castleford

Linda, 61, says she has always been a keen gardener, but it was only after she visited the Eden Project in Cornwall, that she decided to create her own tropical garden outside her council home.

She says it been an expensive hobby but it's been worth it. She explains: "I've spent around £1,500 on the garden so far.

"At Christmas I just ask for money so I can spend it on compost. My kids think I'm crazy, but they love the garden."

She adds: "Just because we live on a council estate doesn't mean we can't take pride in our garden. I love how unusual it is to have tropical plants on the estate.

"When people walk past they always stop to have a look."

Mel, who is disabled and has to use a walking stick says he helps out in the garden as much as he can.

He said: "It's a small space but we've managed to fit in a summerhouse, a greenhouse, a garage and a pond, as well as all the plants. It really is amazing to see and I'm very proud of it."

The couple applied to join the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) when Mrs Moran's elderly aunt Betty Clarke persuaded them.

She died of cancer last year and now the couple are donating the money raised from the garden in her memory.

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