Name: Hazel and Keith

Remembering and celebrating George’s joy for gardening

When our dear son and only child, George, discovered the great joy to be had from gardening, his career was decided – Garden Landscape and Design. But this single-minded, and confident determination was a long way off in the future when we took the decision to home school George, then just six years old. George’s first years at school were full of upset, confusion and anxiety, which a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome explained fully. In the absence of appropriate help and support at our local school, we decided that homeschooling George was our best option. Two years of homeschooling came to an end when George was offered a place at North Hill House School in Frome. George flourished, the staff at the school were compassionate and understanding; growing into a confident young man George was then able to follow his chosen path of horticulture, and he applied to Sparsholt to attend the diploma course.

For sixteen delightful months, we watched George become his own person, thriving in college life, enjoying the course work and the opportunity to increase and expand his horticultural experience at home and at college, and developing friendships that grew and strengthened. With increasing confidence George was able to take advantage of opportunities to take part in an ever-widening range of experiences, driving lessons, work experience and developing his hobby of photography.

George at Sparsholt College

In January 2012, George passed away following a heart attack. Our lives too ended that day, and we now spend our time tending and maintaining our garden which George helped to plan, caring for the churchyard where George is buried, and running a charity in George’s memory. We visited Furzey Gardens in the autumn of 2021, we had heard of their collaborative work with the Minstead Trust and wanted to support the work. We had no idea just how fascinating, beautiful, and peaceful the garden would be.

What a wonderful outcome to the purchase of the land, and the restoration of the gardens – the creation of this peaceful, supportive, caring space. We marked the tenth anniversary of the loss of our dear son by making a donation to Furzey Gardens in George’s memory.

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