The Under Gardener- A Very Short Story by SFH

WELCOME to the 2014  #AtoZ Blog Challenge

Inspired By My Pinterest Boards:  This Year’s Category is GARDENING

images-2The Under Gardener and His Bride

In the Spring of 1945, Christopher Honeycutt was twenty years old when he was hired on as the Under Gardener at Houghtlin Hall. He’d come from the village, a farmer’s son who at an early age showed an aptitude for plants and hard work. Accepting of his station in life, this quiet lad recognized the great opportunity he was being offered.  Twenty-five years later the evolution of the garden would have been unrecognizable to Mr. Todd, the Head Gardener who had hired Christopher.  Houghtlin Hall became part of the National Garden Scheme, visitors coming from near and far.

No one noticed or seemed to care how much time the youngest daughter of the hall,  Constance, spent following Christopher around, getting her hands and clothes dirty while learning to divide and stake plants, plant young saplings, and prune roses. Constance fell in love with gardening and with Christopher, in that order. When Lord and Lady Houghtlin were killed in a road accident several years later, the Hall was left to Constance, the sole heiress. The village was shocked when the under gardener and the heiress announced they’d  been secretly married. In time, however, the village acknowledged that this marriage had been a success, a partnership in every way.

After a long life together while continuing to create and care for the garden, Christopher and Constance died within months of each other. They were buried in the family plot behind  the famous Houghtlin Hall’s old brick walls; the backdrop for a love story that is repeated to countless visitors to this day.

images-3Houghtlin Hall

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in AtoZ Blog Challenge -April 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Under Gardener- A Very Short Story by SFH

  1. Harliqueen says:

    What a lovely, sweet story 🙂

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Enjoyed this Stepheny.

  3. I loved your tale of the under gardener and the connection between gardening and life. Hope to read more. Good luck with the A-Z!

  4. Chrys Fey says:

    I enjoyed reading about the romance between Constance and the under gardener. Thank you for sharing!

  5. What a wonderful love story!

  6. Marlene says:

    Well no wonder you love gardening. Beautiful piece of history.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

  7. Andrea @ Maybe It's Just Me says:

    That is quite a dear story!

  8. Oh is this really true? Because it makes a wonderful and romantic story. Did they have children? I hope I can go there someday and see the garden… This story should be made into a novel…

    • Oh my goodness, I’m amazed at the reception this little story has received. It makes me think I SHOULD consider doing more with it. Pleased you liked it. And, no, none of it is true. Hope you don’t mind the writer in me took over.

  9. I’ve pinned your blog so as to share it and never lose it!

  10. Mina B. says:

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!

    • I knew nothing about an under gardener until my trip to England in 2000 where I found two mugs. One said head gardener and one said under gardener. I brought them home claiming the head gardener spot and designating my husband as the under gardener.

  11. Paula Kaye says:

    I thought it was a true story…until I read the comments. Your writing is amazing!!

  12. Great piece and I like your theme.

  13. A lovely touching story, thanks for sharing

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