When Winston Howes lost his wife after 33 years of marriage, he had a heart-shaped hole in his life. He had been used to sleeping next to her every night and waking up next to her every morning. But in 1995, it all changed when Janet passed away from heart failure.
It was then that Winston set out to find a way to memorialize their lives together, and his love for her.
Winston told the Daily Mail, “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.”
That’s right, Winston enlisted his son to help him plant several thousand trees as a tribute to his late wife, their mother. Their land is located in Gloucestershire, England.
Winston and his sons planted a full field of oaks—well, maybe not entirely full. It turns out that they left an area in the center unplanted, an area that was in the shape of a heart!
This was a huge dedication to his lost love, and remained a secret for quite a while, until one day, a balloonist flew over and discovered the heart and its surrounding trees! The heart grove had been hidden by the trees, roads and surrounding hedges for years, known only to Winston and his family.
Winston and Janet met in 1960 and married 2 years later.
“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.”
The point of the heart points to Janet’s home town, Wotton Hill, and Winston plants fresh daffodils each spring in the middle of the heart. “I go out there from time to time and sit in the seat I created,” Winston said.
Andy Collett, a hot air balloonist, fled over the wood and discovered the secret oak grove. Andy remarked, “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.”
Andy understood the sentiment. “You can just imagine the love story,” he said.