A devoted husband made a lasting tribute to his late wife by planting thousands of oak saplings into a heart shape, pointing toward his wife’s childhood home.
After Winston Howes’ wife Janet passed away, the grieving farmer planted a forest with a heart-shaped meadow in the middle. And 17 years later, the beautiful tribute is going viral after photos were taken from above.
The 70-year-old laid out the fledgling trees in a six-acre field but left a perfect heart shape in the middle – with the point facing in the direction of her childhood home. The labor of love has now blossomed into a mature meadow – a peaceful oasis where Winston can sit and remember his wife of 33 years.
The farmer planted the saplings at his 112-acre farm near Wickwar, Gloucestershire, in memory of his wife Janet, who died in 1995.
The giant heart is made up of 6,000 oak trees and can’t be seen from ground level but can be seen in an aerial view on Google Maps.
“I came up with the idea of creating a heart in the clearing of the field after Janet died. I thought it was a great idea – it was a flash of inspiration – and I planted several thousand oak trees. Once it was completed we put a seat in the field, overlooking the hill near where she used to live,” said Winston.
“I sometimes go down there, just to sit and think about things. It is a lovely and lasting tribute to her which will be here for years,” he added.
Much like a marriage, the oak trees, which started out as saplings, took root and grew stronger year by year. The heart-shaped meadow, which isn’t visible from the road, remained a family secret for 17 years.
The secret heart is only accessible through a track leading up to its tip.
“We got people in especially to do it – there are several thousand trees. We planted large oak trees around the edge of the heart then decided to put a hedge around it too. The heart points towards Wotton Hill, where Janet is from. We plant daffodils in the middle that come up in the spring – it looks great. I go out there from time to time and sit in the seat I created,” Winston said.
“I also flew over it myself about five years ago,” he added.
Speaking of the tremendous discovery, Collett stated: “I have my own balloon and am quite a regular flyer, but this was the most amazing sight I have ever seen from the sky. It was a perfect heart hidden away from view – you would not know it was there.”
“You can just imagine the love story,” he added.
Winston has created the most beautiful tribute to his late wife; it’s a testimony to their devotion to each other.
It’s such a wonderful way of remembering her and helping Winston to find some peace after such a heartbreaking loss.