Janet, Howard Howes’ wife, passed away 17 years ago. He left a heart-shaped meadow in the midst of a six-acre field next to his farmhouse and thousands of oak saplings in the months that followed as an homage to her. The heart’s center is oriented toward Janet’s childhood home.
When an elderly woman makes a comment, a Texas woman who is holding open the restaurant door politely decides to respond.
Hot air balloon enthusiast Andy Collett, 42, who saw the heart while flying over the woods and captured it in all its beauty, discovered the hidden heart meadow.
When describing his memorial, Howes, 70, said: “After Janet passed away, I got the idea to build a heart in the field clearing. I had a spark of brilliance and decided it would be a terrific idea, so I planted a sizable number of oak trees. When everything was finished, we installed a bench in the field next to the hill where she formerly lived.
“I occasionally go down there to relax and reflect on things. It is a beautiful and enduring monument to her that will be in place for years, he continued.
The farm on 112 acres in Wickwar, Gloucestershire, is owned by Howes. Janet, whom he married in 1962, passed away from heart failure in 1995 at the age of 50.
There is a track running up to its tip, but that is the only way to get to the hidden heart.
“We hired someone specifically to do it because there are thousands of trees. We decided to add a hedge to the big oak trees we had already planted around the heart’s perimeter. Janet’s hometown of Wotton Hill is shown with the heart. In the centre, we plant daffodils that bloom in the spring; it looks lovely. I occasionally go outside and sit in the chair I built,” Howes added.
“I also flew over it myself about five years ago,” he continued.
“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,” Collett said in reference to the amazing discovery. You wouldn’t even notice that there was a lovely heart there because it was concealed from view.
“You can just imagine the love story,” he continued.