South Shields grandmother's garden looks out of this world after incredible lockdown transformation
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Over the last four months, Caroline Vincent who lives on Cragside, near Quarry Lane, has transformed her back garden into a scene straight out of Alice in Wonderland.
The 53-year-old fitness instructor, who has been on furlough due to the pandemic, has made everything by hand, recycling unwanted materials – from the fencing which was made from an old shed to the lollipop flowers made using foam piping.
“I’ve always liked doing bits and pieces in the garden but I’ve never really had time before,” she said.
“When the lockdown happened I was devastated as I’m quite an active person, so I thought I would finally get round to doing it.
“I like flowers, but I like sweets and cakes more and I started experimenting with old building materials to create my own Mad Hatters tea party.”
Caroline continued: “It’s taken about four months and I’ve been out there every day rain or shine – sanding, painting, building.
"I’m the sort of person who never throws things away, so I’ve used everything and anything I could come across.”
The garden, which she shares with her son Laurie and former partner, looks unrecognisable.
It is complete with black and white chequered chess-board inspired patio, teapots and cups and saucers popping up among the flower beds, and Wonderland-inspired signposts.
A former dress maker, Caroline even used an old 1960s dress pattern as a basic guide to build a wooden bar at the back of the garden where the family has celebrated birthdays during the lockdown.
“I make things fit together by thinking of it as a pattern and piecing it together in my head,” she said.
"I’m so happy with how it’s turned out, I love sitting out there and now I’ve started on the front garden too, which has a more gothic theme to it.”
Caroline, whose grandchildren haven’t had a chance to see the creation yet, added: “I’m looking forward to everyone coming round for a Mad Hatters tea party for my granddaughter’s birthday later this month.”