Well That Happened Fast

If time flies when you’re having fun, then it makes sense that my time in England snapped by, as I was having the time of my life. Did you like that cliché? Get ready for a few more as I bask in all the emotions. I could never have conceived how special of an experience my summer in England would be. I traveled weekly, I ate all the traditional foods (except for black pudding), and I visited some of the most beautiful gardens and natural spaces in the world. I got lost, laughed until I had tears in my eyes, and I learned which words had different (and often comedic) meaning from those in the US. I have made new and lifelong friends and met endlessly charismatic people. Of it all, the times I looked forward to the most and the memories that will forever bring a smile to my face, were those made right at my Hidcote home.

The manor on the first day I moved in...

The manor on the first day I moved in…

The manor when I departed...3 AM

The manor when I departed…3 AM

I learned a tremendous amount about gardening by being immersed in work at Hidcote

I learned a tremendous amount about gardening by being immersed in work at Hidcote

Hidcote is a beautiful place. I knew that before I got there. However, strolling around the garden on a crisp evening with a glass of wine in hand is about as close to magical as it gets. I lived in these spaces and I found the time to think. Whether passing through the beech allee, sitting on the bench overlooking the sheep pasture, or laying on the lawn in the stilt garden, I was inspired to passionately grow.

Some views of the garden during my final week there

Some views of the garden during my final week there

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One of my most vivid and happy memories of Hidcote

One of my most vivid and happy memories of Hidcote

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Now about those people that run the place. What a group. They are tasked with managing one of the great gardens of the world and they do it with ease. From the day I arrived, they were genuine, kind, and spirited; all things I aspire to be. They know how to be a little cheeky and there were few break times where I did not genuinely laugh out loud. They were humble teachers, sharing with me the ways of their work while giving me the confidence to do it on my own. They are fantastic at what they do and Hidcote is what it is today because of them.

Some of the gardening group at our leaving party. There was a relay race where we had to eat traditional English dishes, lasso a bull, and complete a wheelbarrow race. Add in great items from the barbeque: it was a great evening.

Some of the group at our leaving party. There was a relay race where we had to eat traditional English dishes, lasso a bull, and complete a wheelbarrow race. Add in burgers, potato salad, and endless snacks; it was a great evening.

Our leaving-do even included a firework display. A great evening with dear friends

Our leaving-do even included a firework display. An unforgettable evening with dear friends.

What we left behind for the garden team which included a scavenger hunt of 30 mini flags as well. Ahh yes and the mound of biscuits (cookies) in the middle of the table

What we left behind for the garden team which included a scavenger hunt of 30 mini flags as well. Ahh yes and the mound of biscuits (cookies) in the middle of the table

My stay in England has been truly irreplaceable and for that I am thankful.

We'll always be Team Hidcote

We’ll always be Team Hidcote

Now it’s off to Japan! Having safely made it through the first few days, I am sure this will be an experience all its own.

– James

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