As anyone who’s come around these parts on Valentine’s Day knows, I’m a sucker for naturally occurring heart-shaped stuff (and here). And while nature had a little help on this one, it’s too poignant not to share: Winston Howes, 70, lost his wife in 1995, when she died suddenly at the age of 50 from heart failure. The South Gloucestershire, England, man then spent years planting oak trees in a field, creating a heart-shaped clearing in the middle with the point aiming toward the place where his wife Janet grew up. Over the last 17 years, he’s planted thousands of trees.
The heart cannot be seen from the road, and Howes didn’t share his secret with the wider world. It wasn’t until a balloonist flew over the property in southwest England a week ago and stumbled across the lovely, romantic creation.
“Once it was completed we put a seat in the field, overlooking the hill near where she used to live. 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,” Howes said.
The wood spreads across six acres on his 112-acre farm. The heart was delineated by a bushy hedge and the the oak trees were placed along the hedge and flesh out from there. An outside driving past only sees rows of trees, and the only entrance is a small trail at the tip of the heart.
“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,” he said.