'Boring' hedge turned into dragon in East Rudham

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The dragon-style topiaryImage source, Damien McFadden
Image caption,
John Brooker originally sculpted a few arches into the hedge before turning it into a dragon

A 75-year-old man said he spent 13 years crafting a "boring" hedge into a 150ft-long (45.7m) giant dragon.

John Brooker sculpted the mystical creature out of the 10ft-high (3m) privet alongside his rented farm cottage in East Rudham, Norfolk.

The topiary features bulging eyes, flaring nostrils and a crested back.

Mr Brooker said: "I was standing at my kitchen sink one day and thought the hedge was boring so decided to do something with it."

Image source, Damien McFadden
Image caption,
The design could have been inspired by his time in the Far East, where John Brooker met his wife

He spends up to three days every two to three weeks trimming the fairytale design back into shape and compared the task to painting the Forth Bridge.

The retired fan maker has got through four electric hedge trimmers and has to climb a pair of 6ft-high (1.8m) stepladders to sculpt the top.

"The farmer here is horrified when he sees me perched on top of the ladders," said Mr Brooker.

'Army days'

The hedge is by a public footpath and has attracted attention from walkers but Mr Brooker is modest about his eye-catching creation.

"My wife is the gardener, I just cut the lawn and do the hedge," he said.

Image source, Damien McFadden
Image caption,
The hedge is trimmed back every two to three weeks as it grows at a "prolific" rate

"She was pleased though as she has something interesting to look at.

"I think the dragon came from my days in the Army. I did two tours in Malaysia so the dragon must have been in my subconscious."

His wife Pippa, a former graphic designer, helps to guide the design, which is constantly refined.

"I've added wings and the top was quite plain but every year I add another couple of lines for definition," he said.

"I was always told by my maths teacher that I had a good eye for drawing a curve.

"There is a sense of what is right when your hand moves. Very rarely have I cut out something I wanted to keep."

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