‘Life has never been so good’ say couple with garden oasis

HARVEST Andy Cottingham, 42, and his wife Sarah Cottingham, 42, in their garden in Stockheath Road, Havant.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (113488-500)
HARVEST Andy Cottingham, 42, and his wife Sarah Cottingham, 42, in their garden in Stockheath Road, Havant. Picture: Malcolm Wells (113488-500)
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THEIR back garden is home to 40 chickens, six ducks, two geese called Wills and Kate – and two pigs will soon be joining them.

Meet Andy and Sarah Cottingham – Leigh Park’s answer to Tom and Barbara from 70s sitcom The Good Life.

The couple are helping the planet by growing most of their own food in their back garden.

The pair have just won gold for the front and back garden category in Havant Borough Council’s Borough in Bloom awards.

As well as having a mini-farm in their back garden, the pair have a colourful array of chrysanthemums, Busy Lizzies and lobelia.

And protecting this fine nursery in Stockheath Road are a royal pair of geese.

Sarah, 42, who used to work at Tesco in Havant until she retired to concentrate on the garden, said: ‘We got them round about the time of the Royal Wedding so we decided to name them Wills and Kate.

‘They are actually brilliant guards. We have had people jumping over gardens and hedges, but they make great guard dogs.

‘We are just about to take on two pigs for the winter.

‘’We have got over 300 pots in our garden, we have flowers growing up the walls.

‘It takes me and my husband two-and-a-half hours to water it every night, just because of the sheer size of it and the pots.’

Sarah said growing your own certainly cuts down on visits to the supermarket, but takes at least three or four hours of work every day.

She said: ‘You name it, we have got it! We have just about every vegetable and flower you can imagine.

‘My husband comes home from work and it’s relaxation.

‘It’s also about the environment because things are coming from all over the world, when you could grow it yourself and cut down on costs.

‘I haven’t bought a potato since April! My freezer is full.’

A year ago the couple added to their garden by leasing an 80ft overgrown patch of land that belonged to a housing association.

Sarah laughed: ‘From the front it looks like any normal Leigh Park estate house.

‘You come round the back and it’s just colossal. People can’t get over the size.’

The other winners in the bloom wards were 9 Bernard Powell House, Havant; Lakeside Holiday Village, Hayling Island; Moore’s Traditional Funeral Directors, Waterlooville; Royal British Legion, Hayling Island; The Beeches, Waterlooville; and Waterlooville Bowls Club. In the allotment category the winners were Plot 40 Plant Farm and Plot 55 Plant Farm.