An amateur gardener who delights neighbors every year with his multicolored garden has had his best year yet – with over 2,000 plants in full bloom.
Shaun Schroeder, 60, spends up to three hours each evening tending his 200 hanging baskets.
The grandad-of-two got into gardening during lockdown and found himself hooked, and this year his garden is better than ever, drawing people from all over Bristol.
Shaun, a demolition supervisor, plants everything in one whirlwind week in May – so everything blooms at the same time around late July.
He spends all summer maintaining his blooms – with such care he even removes every slug and snail by HAND to ensure none can feast on his handiwork.
But the grind doesn’t stop for Shaun when summer ends – because you’ll find him out in the garden preparing cuttings ready for next year.
Shaun budgets around £1,500 ($1,907) per year for the garden – including all plants, compost, fertilizer, pots and tools.
Shaun, based in Whitchurch, Bristol, said: “The garden is in full bloom at the minute – this year the 200 hanging baskets are looking tip-top!
“I actually planted 199 to start with but as soon as I counted them, I had to plant one more to make the round figure.
“The rain this summer has done wonders for the lawn – it’s as green as can be.
“The older I get, the harder the work it is to keep on top of everything, but it’s such a lovely job.
“It just de-stresses me getting out in the garden after a hard day at work – even if just to look at it.
“But it’s not just for me, I do it so everyone else can enjoy it too.”
Shaun always gardened in his modest 4m (13.12 feet) wide garden but it became his passion during lockdown – when people began to notice it more.
He would get people pass and tell him the garden “brightened up the doom and gloom” during lockdowns – which spurred him on.
He even had people post letters through his letterbox praising his multi-colored garden – and locals taking detours on their daily walks just to pass by for a peek.
Since then he’s been hooked – and makes it his yearly mission to turn his garden into a piece of artwork, each year better than the next.
One week in May each year, Shaun books a week off work to have a solid week of planting ready for the summer bloom.
In 2020, he had around 1,000 plants and 100 hanging baskets, and he has upped his numbers each year since then.
This year saw him top his personal records – with over 2,000 petunias, begonias, fuchsias, calibrachoas, impatiens, geraniums, lobelias and verbena.
This includes precisely 200 stunning hanging baskets spilling over with the brightly coloured flowers which make his garden a local tourist attraction.
When he gets home from work he spends between two and three hours in the garden planting, tending, dead-heading and watering, as well as all his time on weekends.
Shaun, who lives with wife Jan Schroeder, 59, said: “I’m lucky I have an understanding wife who lets me spend all weekend in the garden!”
Speaking of his nightly slug patrol, he said: “That’s my 10pm ritual – to go and pick them all off and relocate them. I get more than 100 off every night!
“They’ll slaughter your plants if you let them and the pellets don’t work these days.”
He said with costs rising, plants have become more expensive, but he’s tackled that by doing more cuttings – so propagates plants rather than buying them all new.
This way, a plant costing £3 can generate ten cuttings – meaning each plant only costs 30p.
Around 500 of the 2,000 plants in his garden this year were taken from last year’s cuttings.
Several years on from lockdown, Shaun’s main motivator remains to give others a lovely display to look at.
He said: “A lot of the residents around Whitchurch take detours to go past my garden.
“They love to come up and have a look at it and I’m always willing to show them around too if they want.
“Some walk by in the evenings and tell me it looks fabulous and people are always knocking on the door.
“I run a gardening Facebook group, but I’ve never tried to profit from anything – I just do my gardening so everyone else can enjoy it.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker