For generations, even before the Romans, Cumbrian landowners and farming families had been custodians of the land. It wasn’t until The Picturesque movement that we started to appreciate and protect it for its beauty. 300 years on, with his careful attention to our corner of the Lake District, John is a modern-day protector of that legacy.
A day in the gardens
In his own words, John tries to get his bits done early doors. Watering, edging, hoeing. Later, he’ll bring produce from the kitchen garden in for the chefs, bed in new plants or mow the lines along the lawn. If you know where to look, you’ll see John’s hand everywhere. It’s in the box-work at the bottom of the stone stairs and the beech hedging. It’s in his passion project: the vivid green yew that rings the grounds.
The mist starts to lift away. John points his rake at the latest work. A brave hot air balloon rises up over the horizon behind him.
John, who was 70 this year (even though he’ll tell you he stopped having birthdays years ago), is quietly proud of the bond he’s cultivated with plants, not just at Another Place but throughout his life. He remembers planting saplings that have turned into forests. He talks fondly about the potted garden at his house in Leeds, recalls the first time he saw the Botanic Garden on Rose Lane when he dropped his daughter off at Oxford University.