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The meadow man: Fans go wild as gardener replaces his ‘desert’ lawn with flowers and grass

Blooming marvellous: Peter Thain in the wild meadow he sowed in front of his house PICTURES: SWNS

AN AMATEUR gardener really does have growing support for his wildflower garden — from nearly 30,000 fans.

Green-fingered Peter Thain ripped out the turf in his front lawn after it was destroyed by hot weather last year. After experimenting with a few seeds, he decided to let the whole garden grow wild.

Mr Thain, 31, said on their wedding day last year, his bride walked through ‘what looked like sand’. ‘I’d grown a few flowers — which we used on the tables — which went really well. So I thought: “Why don’t I take the brave decision to sow it through the whole front garden?” I left it for about five weeks and it kept growing.’

Turfed out: Long grasses and flowers now grow wild where the lawn once was

Mr Thain, a lecturer at Birmingham City University and physiotherapist for Great Britain Basketball, grew a colourful ‘meadow’ mix of wildflowers and long grass, which were much admired in the cul-de-sac in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

‘I wanted a statement piece — something for the wildlife, too,’ he said. ‘People were really positive. Some even sent notes saying: “I think your garden’s great.”’

But after he posted pictures of his work on Twitter — along with a message saying ‘the neighbours think I’m nuts’ — fame blossomed overnight.

Mr Thain said: ‘I was away in Serbia with work. When I went to bed it had 25 or 30 likes. When I woke up it had more than 1,000. Twitter even asked me if I wanted to streamline my notifications.’

He said the post started to get so many interactions it broke his phone by constantly draining the battery. ‘I couldn’t reply quick enough. A few celebrities commented on it, which I think helped.’

Mr Thain, whose post has been liked by 28,900, including Monty Don, added: ‘I’m truly overwhelmed with the attraction this post is having — hopefully it will attract as much wildlife! It would be great to get more gardens and unused spaces like this.’