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Artist Justin brings his eye for detail to Bondville gardens

Justin Lowe gets used to his new miniature surroundings at Bondville Model Village
Justin Lowe gets used to his new miniature surroundings at Bondville Model Village

Small world – big challenge. But Justin Lowe is looking forward to his new role as head gardener at Bondville Model Village.

He started in his new job last week, and is hoping to bring plenty of colour to the miniature village by the time it opens for the season in April.

Justin gets to work, tending some of the plants

Justin gets to work, tending some of the plants

Justin, who is from South Cave, said: “It’s a very different opportunity and one I never expected to crop up. It’s ideal.”

“I want to improve the planting here and make it sustainable and wildlife-friendly. It’s got to be about the bees and the butterflies.

“Hopefully, we will be able to make it look like a miniature botanical gardens.”

Justin will work at the attraction in Sewerby a couple of days a week and combine gardening with his other love – illustrating.

One of Justin's Mushroom Town illustrations. Can you guess where it is based on?

One of Justin's Mushroom Town illustrations. Can you guess where it is based on?

He has lovingly created Mushroom Town, a magical and carefree world which he draws on greetings cards and in commissioned prints.

“That is an imaginary land, whereas Bondville is a real world which has been shrunk.

“This is a place where people can step back and escape, forget about the real world.

“Hopefully, there will be a lot more colour by the summer so this place can really sparkle.”

Owner Jan Whitehead has plans for new additions to the village in 2018

Owner Jan Whitehead has plans for new additions to the village in 2018

He got the job after a friend spotted an advert for the vacancy on Twitter.

Bondville owner Jan Whitehead, who took over the running of the attraction around six years ago, said visitor numbers were rising year-on-year, allowing them to invest in the model village, and employ Justin.

She and her husband Tim had carried out much of the work in previous years, but they are certain Justin will take the plants to the next level, allowing them to work on new additions.

“Our loyal customers want to see something different when they come each year.

There is a church, a castle, a railway and a harbour at Bondville

There is a church, a castle, a railway and a harbour at Bondville

“That can cost a lot of money or take a lot of time, but we have some secrets lined up for this year which will 
be a treat.

“Doing the gardens was hard work for us, it was non-stop, and the gardens really needed changing.”

The Bondville team will be working with the Worklink project at Sewerby Hall, which trains people with learning difficulties.

“We will buy plants from there, as well as growing our own, and they will grow whatever we want,” said Jan. “It keeps things local too, which is important to us.”