RALPH COURT GARDENS, EDWYN RALPH, Herefordshire, HR74LU
09/11/2019 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm –
‘Downton Abbey with Gardening Tips’ The Guardian
It’s a simple story: old Herbert Pinnegar has spent his life as a gardener at ‘the big house’ shares his memories with us. His interest in ﬂowers and plants was aroused with the help and encouragement of the village schoolmistress. He won ﬁrst prize in the village fair’s wild ﬂower competition, and when “My Lady” presented him with the prize and whispered to him that he won because he had carefully cut the ﬂowers, not simply yanked them out of the ground as others had: thus began his lifelong devotion to plants, and to her.
Date(s) - 09/11/2019
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
All the village boys were destined to work on the land, but Herbert refused: fortunately he was taken on as an apprentice by Captain and Mrs. Charteris at the Big House. We hear of Herbert’s ﬁrst day at work and his gradual rise up the ranks within the garden until eventually he becomes head gardener, addressed as “Mr Pinnegar”.
A few useful gardening tips are slipped in among his stories. He learned a valuable lesson about the ﬁckleness of women at an early age, and we gradually realise his mute adoration of ‘my lady’, who values his worth as a gardener, appreciates the things he does for her and his refusal to be seduced away from ‘his’ garden by the lure of higher wages elsewhere, but almost certainly sees him as ‘just a gardener’. Mrs Charteris’ health gradually declines, the estate has to be sold, but he is not thrown out of his tied cottage, as might be expected: the new owners have agreed to let Herbert stay in his cottage as long as he needs it. We leave Herbert sitting with his memories as the light slowly fades…