Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Friday, 4 June 2010 17:01 UK
A Shropshire garden with an intriguing secret
The Big Brother sculpture in the sculpture graden at Lower Frankton
Big Brother with his weathered face and ivy 'hair' is a favourite

When Clive and Jo Wilson moved into their home at Lower Frankton, near Ellesmere the garden was derelict with piles of rubble and plenty of weeds.

Now, 17 years later, visitors flock to Yew Tree House, not just for the beauty of Mrs Wilson's flower beds, but for the garden's hidden delights.

Mr Wilson's wood sculptures peer out from the undergrowth.

The sculpture garden started with a stone circle created from boulders found in the rubble.


The sculpture garden at Lower Frankton near Ellesmere
Stones from a pile of rubble were the inspiration for Stonehenge

Mr Wilson calls it their mini Stonehenge: "Now it's covered in moss it looks like it's been here for a couple of thousand years. Maybe in a couple of hundred years people will think 'Gosh, look at that! There's the Lower Frankton stone circle'. "

Using an abundance of wood in the garden from fallen trees, Mr Wilson became a sculptor: "It's something I've always wanted to do. I've wanted to do it from a very young age. Unfortunately it was not until I was well into my forties that I actually started."

Each piece of wood dictates the shape the sculpture will take: "I don't know what I'll do until I start. I'll get a bit of wood and then I'll see something in it.

It's in there, they're always in there, you just have to uncover them, that's all."

A face from the sculpture garden at Lower Frankton
This is the face of a sculpture which fell apart

One of the things Mr Wilson loves about sculpting with wood is the way it changes and weathers over the years. Big Brother, a special favourite, was carved from a dead willow tree in the garden. It now has a rugged face, thanks to the attentions of woodpeckers, and an ivy wig.

Some actually fall apart but that does not mean they are no longer attractive: "This was a stand-alone sculpture and his face fell off, but he's beautiful. I think he's actually nicer now like that when he was when he was a stand alone sculpture."

It is not just the sculptures that catch the eye. The garden has been created by Jo Wilson: "A lot of it was trial and error because we are actually in a bit of a frost pocket here... so I'd go and look around neighbours' gardens and see what they were growing."

A verbena bush at the sculpture garden in  Lower Frankton
This dramatic verbena bush draws the attention in the garden

Over the past few years Clive and Jo Wilson have planted around 700 trees in an area they call the New Wood.

Mrs Wilson said they were careful to chose the right trees: "We've planted mainly native broadleaf trees and quite a few are specific to Shropshire, as few fruit trees as well and the Shropshire damson."

In pictures: Rare view of sculpture garden
03 Jun 10 |  Arts & Culture


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