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Deni's exotic garden up for sale

PUBLISHED: 15:52 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:55 07 July 2010

Herb expert Deni Muir has travelled the world collecting seeds and cultivating rare and exotic plants to create a garden to die for.

Her love of plants has taken her to places like Sumatra and Hawaii researching botany beyond most common gardeners' wildest dreams.

Herb expert Deni Muir has travelled the world collecting seeds and cultivating rare and exotic plants to create a garden to die for.

Her love of plants has taken her to places like Sumatra and Hawaii researching botany beyond most common gardeners' wildest dreams.

Not only is the former chairman of the Herb Society and author of numerous books on plants obsessed with all things leafy, she also has an eye for colour and composition.

And it shows in the seven acre fully irrigated garden stretching out beyond her home at Yaxham which she shares with husband Peter, four Yorkshire terriers and two cats.

Along avenues and waterways are a rose garden, herb gardens, the Golden Garden, a kitchen garden, orchard, Chinese garden, meadows, a north American medicinal garden, heather garden, green house and the list goes on.

It has been created over 10 years from what was just a plot of grazing land and has been visited by the likes of similar experts to tours of Japanese visitors.

Now it is on the market, along with their five bedroom home, partially dating back to the 17th century, and a range of outbuildings, which could easily be converted - a perfect potential cottage business all for a cool £895,000.

The couple are to move to South Africa where Mr Muir is to work in construction.

Mrs Muir, 65, who writes by the name Deni Bown, said her love of plants started when she was about seven.

“We went to the Lakes for the first time and I bought an Observers Book of Wild Flowers,” she said.

“My grandfather was also a keen gardener, he had things like parrot tulips and used to let me just potter in the green house.”

He worked for an international harvester firm which sold everything from tractors to tulips from Holland.

When she went to university her flat was packed with plants and flowers and with another student she ran an allotment.

After marrying and having three children, who she then brought up on her own working part time at a college, her love of plants combined with her degree in English and love of photography got the better of her.

She took out a loan and spent two months travelling - from Sumatra to Hawaii - researching for her first book, Aroids, published in 1988 and still the only book on that plant family for the general reader, she said.

Her work brought to international attention the titan arum - known as having the world's largest flowers.

She has gone on to write and edit many other books including the Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopaedia of Herbs.

“I'm just a plantaholic,” she said. “I've been growing plants since I was a child and do know something about most plants on the planet.

“I would have loved to have been a Victorian lady explorer.

“When we bought the house the garden was just a field. We put in a full irrigation system from a pump house where you can put the pipes on timers.”

One garden includes hostas grown from seeds sent by a friend from plants in a Japanese temple garden.

She still regularly travels to America, where she is honorary president of the Herb Society of America, and spends as much time as she can in her own garden.

It will be a sad parting from her garden when the house sells but an amazing chance to own a rare garden for its new owner.

Sowerbys is marketing the home on 01362 693591.

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