Pensioner’s garden blooms into accidental tourist attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert Burns and his wife Lizzie spent 16 years working on the flower garden. SWNS

A great-grandfather has seen his beloved garden bloom into a bustling tourist attraction after transforming it from a weed-ridden jungle into a beautiful oasis.

Robert Burns spent 16 painstaking years working on the flower garden and now has queues of holidaymakers lining up to take selfies outside his home. On an average day, the 75-year old can look past his begonias and see swathes of people turn up by the coach load.

“At first I was quite excited but I’m used to it now,” he says. “They’re here all hours of the day. Even at night I see cameras flashing and wonder ‘how can they take photos when it’s dark?’, but they do.”

It has become so popular, 53-seater tour buses regularly stop outside his door in the hamlet of Aldochlay, just so that passengers can hop off and take photos – much to the amusement of Robert and his understanding neighbours.

“One neighbour said to me, ‘You’ve built a monster tourist attraction’ but they don’t really bother,” says Robert. “The old lady next to me is turning her garden into mine. They’re happy to have people taking photos.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert Burns spent 16 painstaking years working on the flower garden. SWNS

Robert moved into his pretty cottage on the banks of Loch Lomond with his wife Lizzie in 2000 and inherited a front garden which was a tangle of weeds.

“It was a jungle,” he says. “An old woman of 90 was in the house and it was a bit of a mess.”

Lizzie and Robert got to work and within a year their handiwork started getting some attention and it just kept getting busier and busier.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Tourists turn up by the coach-load to snap Robert’s garden. SWNS

“I do it because I enjoy it. I don’t do it to be better than anybody. Other people get pleasure out of it,” says Robert modestly.

The green-fingered great-grandparents had unassumingly spawned a holidaymaker hot-spot, with increasing numbers of American and Japanese tourists flocking to see it. The astonished couple even had a friend who discovered that their immaculate garden features on coasters and jigsaws for sale in gift shops.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

obert moved into his pretty cottage on the banks of Loch Lomond with his wife Lizzie. SWNS

“The people at the coasters and fridge magnet place make a fortune out of it,” says a bemused Robert.

“I get half a dozen coasters and fridge magnets for all my work.”

Sadly, Lizzie died in 2011 after the pair had been married for 50 years. But Robert has carried on tending lovingly to the picture-postcard garden which looks across Loch Lomond to the island of Inchtavannach.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert has worked hard on his garden but credits his wife as the one really behind it. SWNS

Robert was finally recognised for his horticultural prowess this year, when he won a gardening competition in recognition of his hard work – after being entered by a friend, as he “would never do that”. However, the great-grandfather-of-six loyally credits his late wife for the attention the garden receives, saying: “My wife liked the garden, she was a good gardener.”

There has been a price to pay for his garden’s fame, however, with swathes of tourists often blocking or causing traffic issues on the road.

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert enjoys meeting the people who travel to see his garden. SWNS

Robert has been forced to lock his front gate and put cones on the pavement outside to stop people from parking there and blocking his view.

“I locked the front gates as tourists were letting their kids in and they were running around,” says Robert.

“They were attracted by the fountain. I can’t have them doing that.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert has been forced to lock his front gate and put cones on the pavement. SWNS

But overall, Robert is enjoying the attention his garden is receiving, although he admits he “isn’t getting any younger”. He suffered from cancer in 2003 and had to stop working for 18 months while he recovered, but the disease returned in 2010 and he had to have a kidney removed.

“I’m still here,” he insists cheerfully. “I’ve only got one kidney. I still keep going.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Robert is enjoying the attention his garden is receiving. SWNS

His popular creation has also allowed him to meet people from all corners of the world and “have a blether” with them while giving them advice on the best part of Scotland to visit – which he says is Oban. Though there is one common gardener’s plight that Robert has struggled to shake off.

“I have to have plants rabbits can’t eat. It used to be nicer before the rabbits came. My wife had a good hand in that,” he says.

“I have begonias, dahlias, impatiens, fuchsias and nasturtiums. But the rabbits have started eating the nasturtiums.

“I don’t know if I will be able to keep it going.”

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

Pensioner's Garden Blooms Into Accidental Tourist Attraction

His popular creation has also allowed him to meet people from all corners of the world. SWNS

“I’m just an ordinary guy. I’ve never had difficulty with the plants I’ve put in,” Robert adds.

“I just buy the plants and put them there and get the garden into shape.

I’m not Beechgrove Garden. I couldn’t give anybody any tips.

“Sometimes it takes me ages to remember the names of the plants I’ve put in!”

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References

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