A COUPLE who have opened up their garden to the public for more than three decades as part of the National Gardens Scheme have been honoured with a keepsake.

John and Shirley Round were congratulated and presented with a plaque from National Gardens Scheme chief executive officer, George Plumptre, at a garden party at Burmington Grange, Shipston.

The couple, who are both in their 70s, were marking their 33rd and final year of opening the picturesque Brook Hollow, in Whichford, near Shipston.

Mr Round, a retired map-maker and surveyor, said after more than three decades of sharing their one-and-a-half-acre garden with the public, it was time to enjoy it themselves.

"We wanted to continue to be perfect, we just felt we just can't keep up the standard any longer," he said. "It's been a long time."

The couple created the garden from nothing after moving to the house 37 years ago when it was just a wilderness.

It now boasts an intriguing woodland, winding lawn and mature shrub borders, fed by a tributary of the River Stour that gurgles at the bottom.

"It has been enjoyable," said Mr Round. "All the people that come round have been very pleasant. We've had quite a few people that came back who remembered things that we didn't even remember.

"We will probably miss it."

The garden, along with others in Whichford, usually raised about £1,000 a year for palliative nursing charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Help the Hospices, and Marie Curie Cancer Care.