Husband Plants 6,000 Trees After Wife Passes Away, Photo Goes Viral 17 Years Later

May 23, 2019 Updated: May 23, 2019

An English man spent a week planting oak saplings after his wife of 33 years passed away.

Winston Howes, 70, planted the trees after she died. About 17 years later, the fruits of his labor were spotted from above, according to The Telegraph.

The man placed the young trees in a six-acre field on a piece of property. The meadow can’t be seen from a nearby road, and the trees remained a family secret until someone in a hot air balloon shot a photo.

“I came up with the idea of creating a heart in the clearing of the field after Janet died,” he told the paper. “I thought it was a great idea – it was a flash of inspiration – and I planted several thousand oak trees”

He added: “Once it was completed we put 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 owns a 112-acre farm near Wickwar, South Gloucestershire.

The heart-shaped grove is only accessible via a track leading to its tip.

He said, “We got people in especially to do it – there are several thousand trees.

“We planted large oak trees around the edge of the heart then decided to put a hedge around it too,” he later said. “The heart points towards Wotton Hill, where Janet is from.”

He elaborated on what else he had planted.

“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. “I also flew over it myself about five years ago.”

Andy Collett, 42, took a photo of the grove via a hot air balloon.

He told the Telegraph: “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.”

According to Time magazine, Howes said he retreats to the meadow, noting that some 6,000 oak trees were planted.

Howes also hired a gardener and planned the planting arrangement for weeks, The Sun reported.

“A tall hedge of daffodils surrounds the heart’s perimeter, creating an unmistakable warm yellow glow that planes and hot air ballooners alike cannot miss. The romantic gesture is certainly a grand one too, as it is even visible by satellite,” writes Inhabitat.