Beatrix Potter’s first spring at her farm at Hill Top was 1906, when she started adding plants to the existing garden. Most were pass-along plants. She wrote: “I am being inundated with offers of plants. It is very kind of people, and as it really is the right time to thin and replant, I don’t feel such a robber of the village gardens.”
It had leaked out in the neighborhood that she was the “Peter Rabbit Lady.” The money from her books was useful in developing her garden, and she discovered, like many of us, that gardening becomes an ongoing experiment, and she never had enough room for all of her gardening plans. So, with the help of a local solicitor William Heelis, she bought Castle Farm across the road from Hill Top. In the winter of 1912, he proposed. [She was short and he was tall and athletic and 41, and she was 47.] They were married in 1913.
They made their home at Castle Farm, which had a lovely view of Hill Top across from it. Beatrix enjoyed raising sheep, chickens, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. She filled her flower garden with roses, pansies, white bellflowers, and phlox. Willie continued his law practice but also helped with acquiring more land that could be kept natural and unspoiled.
Snowdrops became Beatrix’s favorite flower. By the 1920’s she said, “I now have lots of flowers in a regular old-fashioned garden.”
Many visitors came from all over the world to England’s Lake District, looking for Peter Rabbit and his creator. When Beatrix died in 1943, followed by Willie in 1945, they left over 4000 acres to The National Trust to be preserved forever in its natural state.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on Beatrix and Willie.