A lasting legacy
The gardens have changed in John’s 15 years here. He waves his hand as he walks between sharp edges and symmetrical flower patches; these all used to be patchy, overgrown shrubs. It took a lot of work. He takes some branches of the yew in his hands, comparing his photos to the new shoots. Quiet for a minute, he says this tree is at least as old as the original Georgian building. And while he’s proud of his part, he won’t see it go “all the way” in his lifetime.
With a backdrop of the fells and Alex McCoskrie’s recent history of the Lake District in the air, it’s hard not to compare John to those artful pioneers in the 1700s.
And as another 300 years go by, the stone walls, fells and becks will persist. And the plants will grow, carrying John’s legacy on with them.
In the meantime, when you hear the hum of the lawnmower in the morning, remember the story of the Picturesque and those early guardians of nature. Count yourself among the long list of people wondering what that nagging, pit-of-the-stomach feeling is and the words you can’t help breathing back to the impossible views.
John smiles at the lake. Misty days like these are the best, he says. Later it’ll be beautiful.