A keen gardener from Halesowen is featured in a new charity gardening book.

‘My Real Garden’ was created in lockdown last year and features over 100 gardeners from around the world.

One of those gardeners being Halesowen man Darren Kench who features in the ‘Tropical Retreats’ chapter.

He said: “As a part-time garden design student, I would often turn to Instagram for inspiration or to seek advice, by connecting with fellow gardeners and garden designers who were also out on a limb, and feeling shut off, like me. Here, I found @myrealgarden - an amazing community of gardeners who helped each other through lockdown, led by the wonderful TV gardening presenter and RHS Chelsea award-winner Ann-Marie Powell."

Halesowen News: 'My Real Garden' pages 'My Real Garden' pages

“The results of all our efforts have now been compiled into in a unique community gardening book which is published to coincide with the lockdown anniversary.”

Last year, Darren grew seedlings which he left around the park off Mucklow Hill in Halesowen. People who found a plant were asked to take it home, sharing the progress of its growth on the ‘Plant A Thought’ Facebook page.

He added: “Just before the country went into lockdown, last March, I presented with mild symptoms of coronavirus and was required to self-isolate, before returning to work as a graphic designer. Initially, it was an incredibly stressful time, but whenever I felt like things were affecting my mental health, I sought solace in my garden and the Instagram community who nurtured me.

Halesowen News: Darren Kench.Darren Kench.

“It was during this time that I decided to launch the Plant a Thought project, growing and distributing free sunflowers, so that others could also experience a little of the joy I found in my own garden.”

Some of the proceeds from the book will be donated to Greenfingers charity, which creates gardens for children’s hospices.

‘My Real Garden’ is available to buy from Bromsgrove garden centre in Lickey End.