From rumours of being arms dealers to the suggestion they were setting up a nudist colony - there isn’t much that Alan Gray and his partner haven’t heard over the years. 

And now the co-owner of East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden will spill the beans on half a century in horticulture in a special talk at Sheringham Little Theatre. 

Mr Gray and Graham Robeson, both 77, have spent five decades transforming the empty land covered in 3ft high grass into a stunning 32-acre site that features formal gardens, woodland, desert and Mediterranean areas and stunning views of Happisburgh Lighthouse.

READ MORE: Norfolk people face council tax hike as County Hall needs to save £46m

North Norfolk News: Alan GrayAlan Gray (Image: Supplied)Mr Gray said: “It will be a spontaneous chat including some things you maybe never knew, such as the philosophy behind the garden, how we first set up and some anecdotes. 

“When we bought the place in the 1970s, two gentlemen sharing a home was frowned upon a bit.

North Norfolk News: The view from the winter garden at East RustonThe view from the winter garden at East Ruston (Image: Supplied)

READ MORE: Historic pub gets fresh start as community-focused venue

“We were mysterious figures who came up from London in a black car. There were rumours about us being arms dealers, and when the hedges went up people thought it was a nudist colony.

“It didn’t help with the man mowing our lawn talked to a curious passer-by and said he was cutting a landing strip.” 

READ MORE: Rare 'tornado-like' funnel cloud spotted over north Norfolk coast

The theatre event will be a conversation between Mr Gray and Anna Perrott, presenter of the former Garden Party programme on BBC Radio Norfolk.

The garden was initially planned as a place for the pair to walk their dogs, but after a one-off opening for the Norfolk Gardens Trust, there was a change of direction.

Mr Gray said: “Because of the fascination with us, more than 1,300 people turned up - so the mystique was useful. We decided to open it more regularly which would help pay for staff to help us do the garden better.

“Now we really enjoy hosting people and it has become not just our garden but one for everyone.” 

An Evening with Alan Gray and Anna Perrott will be a fundraiser for the theatre, see or call 01263 822347 for tickets.

The garden - admission £13 - closes for its winter work programme on October 29.