‘My garden looted while I look after my terminally ill husband’ - Llanover woman
3:30pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
LOOTERS have targeted a £20,000 Monmouthshire garden, claims its designer, whose husband is terminally ill.
Elaine Rolfe, 50, recently left Ochran Mill, on the Llanover Estate, and returned at the weekend to take part in a clearup at the request of the landlord.
But she discovered that while the property stood empty some items she had left behind had disappeared from the overgrown site.
These included cups and teapots, which were used for cream teas when it opened under the NGS scheme, a polytunnel, metal gates and iron pots.
While Mrs Rolfe admits the garden has become overgrown since she left because of the time of year, she said: “I am a little bit upset about it. They have been emptying the pots on the gravel, it’s causing more work. People have been helping themselves.”
The mum of eight, whose husband, David, has terminal cancer, was told by Llanover Estates she may be charged up to £5,000 to clear the overgrown garden and put gravel down.
This is because the landlord says the garden is too high maintenance for a new tenant to handle.
At the weekend Mrs Rolfe managed to remove several hellebores and specialist plants that she sourced froma nursery near Birmingham.
Distressed by the timing of the clear-up due to her husband’s valiant battle, she hopes to finally put them in the garden of her new home.
But she added: “I’m a bit apprehensive because of what’s happened, I don’t want to lose them again.”
The couple’s daughter, Jennifer, 24, looked after her father while her mother went back to their old home.
She said: “I think it was good for mum to get out of the house and take the plants she wanted.
It’s a bit of a weight off her mind, but even so, it’s sad the garden has to be destroyed.”
James Perks, resident land agent for the Llanover Estate, said: “We are not aware of anything going missing from the garden. It’s very disappointing if a third party has taken things in the meantime.
“We are holding off our repair work for another week or two so Mrs Rolfe has the opportunity to remove what she wants.”
Last week Mr Perks confirmed the cost to Mrs Rolfe for making the site fit for a newtenant could be up to £5,000.
But he said on Monday: “The landlord is happy to leave it for some time yet in terms of costs for the clear-up. We are hoping to give her more time so we can resolve it amicably with little or no cost to Mrs Rolfe.”