A GREEN fingered pensioner has carefully cultivated one of the very few privately owned Japanese gardens in the country.

George McMillan from Greenock, who is an award-winning bonsai expert, has spent 40 years tending to his horticultural haven.

He describes it as an arts and crafts garden and has made all the sculptures it contains.

George, 81, who also built his own home in Aileymill Gardens, said: "It is a themed garden.

"It is the only Japanese garden in Inverclyde and in the West of Scotland.

"I've been gardening for 40 years.

"I like the style and contours of the trees.

"My trees are evergreens and they are with me all year round."

George was a bricklayer to trade before becoming a clerk of works with the council and he then worked with the development team at Victoria Housing Association.

He has won several awards and been recognised for his bonsai with fuchsia creations.

He said: "Bonsai are basically small trees, you've got to keep trimming the roots and keep them watered.

"I like to work with them."

George lives with his wife Louisa, 82.

The couple have two sons, two daughters and four grandchildren.

He said: "My wife can't find me as I'm in the garden all the time.

"It's my life."