Our gardens are a constant source of pleasure to guests and staff alike.
They are also a source of pleasure and pride for a local family.
We met Dean when we were restoring Woodbridge. He ran a garden cleanup business, and we engaged him to remove some of the dead branches from the historic elms. I watched him swinging on ropes between the branches, he was so young and fit and agile and strong.
He was a good worker, reliable and did not overcharge so I invited him to work with me to establish the gardens.
He was reticent to take on such a big project, and said that he was fine doing cleanups but did not really know much about plants. i said I knew what plants I wanted and simply needed him to provide the muscle. I said to him: “Imagine standing on that bridge with your grandchildren, showing them the magnificent gardens that you established.”
That did the trick and he agreed, and we worked side by side over several years, side by side metaphorically, not literally, because I was true to my word that he would be all the muscle. I simply told him what I wanted, where.
A few years later, Dean died suddenly – his body was strong, but he had always known that he carried a genetic heart weakness. He left a young family, and we hope that his boys tell their children: “ See those gardens? Your grandfather created them.”
I always refer to this front garden as Dean’s garden.