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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Protecting the Pansiesicon for Recommended story

by CarrieB

Contributed by 
CarrieB
People in story: 
Florence Helen Howard
Location of story: 
Royal Masonic School for Girls, Rickmansworth,Herts
Article ID: 
A2038079
Contributed on: 
13 November 2003

My Mother joined the Land Army during the war, and was sent to grow vegetables on what had been the playing fields of the Girls' Masonic School in Rickmansworth.She told my sister and I,many years later, about an elderly man who,I guess, had been the groundsman/gardener there. He was sad to see his immaculate grounds ploughed up, although he appreciated the need, but was totally desolate about the imminent destruction of his huge pansy collection.These were not just any pansies, but his life's work- a beatiful array of unique blooms, bred lovingly over decades.
His overwhelming distress was too much for Mum and several other landgirls. In their all- too-brief spare time, and in absolute secrecy, they dug beds in a remote and unvisited part of the grounds and duly transferred all the precious plants.
For the rest of the War the girls took it in turn to slip away to weed and water the pansies, and, in 1945, were very gratified to be able to return the care of his beloved plants to a truly delighted old man.

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