Back in August FOSS sponsored a garden, designed by Sally Leaney, at the Taunton Flower Show.
This WW1 commemorative garden reflects the interaction between ‘Home and War’, between those fighting in Flanders Fields and those left behind in England’s pastures green.
Farmer Tom Stone of Corfe Farm, once part of Heale Farm, tragically lost his only two sons, Gunner Ewan George Stone and Trooper Thomas Percival Stone, in the war. This was devastating for the family and the village and also for the farm. This garden is their story.
The central focus of the garden is a Portland stone war grave, engraved with the actual inscription of ‘Known under God’ set on a simple grass mound. The choice of plants is chosen from Gertrude Jeykell planting plans. She wanted to create an ‘English Garden abroad’.
The garden highlights the contrasts of war – the death and destruction of the battlefields are in total contrast to the sanctuary of the English countryside. The battlefield is stark and bare and surrounded by the ruins of a local barn. Old timbers and corrugated iron form the iconic zigzag trenches. In contrast to the bare mud some soldiers have planted ‘Kew Gardens’ behind the front lines.
Meanwhile, the farmer’s wife Mrs Jane Alice Stone sits within her tranquil cottage garden, perhaps quietly remembering her two sons. She is supported by SSAFA the armed forces charity who have been supporting such families since 1885.
With the two brothers fighting abroad the farm is short of labour and horses. The crops have not been weeded and the dry-stone walls have not been repaired. After the war farming will change forever.
Each year in Corfe, on Remembrance Sunday we remember the brothers Gunner EG Stone and Trooper TP Stone by name – and I hope this garden has done their memory justice.
from the garden description card by Sally Leaney.