To her legions of fans, television presenter Carol Klein's award-winning north Devon nursery is as much a place of pilgrimage as the adjacent garden. To some of her neighbours, however, it is a smelly eyesore that became a battleground – and has been forced to close.
Glebe Cottage has been Ms Klein's home for more than 30 years and the Gardeners' World presenter's nursery, Glebe Cottage Plants, has won six gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, thanks in part to her rich compost.
But while Ms Klein believes compost is the key to a great garden, her new landlord is not so keen. Businessman Len Tanner, who bought the property in February last year, has decided not to renew the three-year lease for the nursery, granted by previous owners on what had been part of their garden.
He said yesterday: "From my back door to the compost heap in the corner of her nursery is about 20-25 yards. That isn't very far. The compost heap is also above our courtyard, because we're on the side of a hill.
"Carol Klein also has a potting shed and if it was that bit that we saw, it wouldn't be so bad. But all the polytunnels and so on are at the other end of the nursery. Up by her house, there's nothing, but I've got all her rubbish in my backyard."
Ms Klein has now been forced to close the nursery. The move means the garden's open day for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS), which raises money for cancer charities, has been cancelled.
Yesterday, a statement on Ms Klein's website said: "Our nursery is sadly closed. For many years we have run a working nursery adjacent to the garden on land rented from our neighbours. Our new neighbours Len and Zara Tanner have given us notice to quit in retaliation for my writing about their felling and disfiguring many trees.
"It is with great regret that the nursery and garden are now closed. We have also had to cancel our planned opening on 7 September for the National Gardens Scheme. Beyond that we just don't know – but we will keep you updated on future plans."
Mr Tanner said: "She's trying to make out that I have given her notice in a fit of pique, but that's not true. She's been in her house for 30 years, but the nursery has only been on this bit of land for three years. She's been on notice to leave for nine months."
Ironically, Mr Tanner wants the land back to create a vegetable garden. "My wife is a keen gardener and watches Gardeners' World. Had Carol Klein kept her nursery in a better state and I didn't have all her compost outside my back door, maybe things might have been different."
Carol Klein was not available for further comment yesterday.Reuse content