I was fortunate enough to spend a day at Hidcote over the summer, a garden that has been described as one of the finest, most influential gardens in the country. I first visited 10 years ago when I was training to be vicar and on placement in Warwickshire. Rich and I visited on the spur of the moment with no real expectations, in search of rest and refreshment and perhaps a nice coffee shop and somewhere to sit under a tree and read the paper! What we stumbled upon was pure delight, a riot of colour, shape, scent and form that has fixed vividly in my memory, an experience I will never forget. Without realising it we had timed the visit perfectly – everything was majestic and in full glory, flowers toppling over themselves to be seen, colours masterfully planned together. I will never forget the white garden, and then the red, with the Bishop of Llandaff dahlia with its shiny glossy black stems that looked like something from a sci-fi movie.
Gardens may seem frivolous to some, but on that day 10 years ago, and again this past month, I sought refreshment and received it. Such was the beauty, the shock to the senses – and the amazing vista from one scene to another, breathtaking views and framed to perfection – it lifted me. Such was the legacy of Lawrence Johnston, a little known man who transformed the gardens of his family estate. We all have places, people and experiences that have refreshed us, and bring us life. We too can be people that provide that space for others. I have since read that Johnston’s mother called him a ‘waster’ and yet what I’ve experienced, he was a man with a huge gift, a master designer with phenomenal talent in his craft. His legacy is still giving so much today. He was certainly ‘no waster’. I pray that with many of us facing a new term, perhaps a new year at school or even quite possibly a new job but certainly all of us – a new season, might be refreshed in some way. Perhaps too, we might offer others refreshment, especially if they’re busy.
Two people that have been incredibly busy on our behalf over the years have been Lorraine Mooney and Wendy Guest. You will read further on in this month’s magazine that our wonderful editors have decided it’s time for them to have a rest too (quite rightly!) and hand over the editing to others from the new year. I know you will join with me in saying what a fantastic job they have both done, and please be assured we will thank them royally for all their commitment, care and time they have given so generously. Thank you Lorraine and Wendy!
If editing our Barton Magazine is something you feel you might like to help with then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. We may not all be gardeners like Lawrence Johnston but that’s the delight in difference, for what we can bring might be just what someone else needs for that season. It might also make a difference for good we might never know, but changes someone forever.
With much love