24th February, 2015
A Northamptonshire grandfather, who dedicated more than three decades to planting tens of thousands of trees in the county and earned the nickname Planter John, has instated his final tree in the village of Weekley.
65-year-old John Litman, who has been a forestry worker at Boughton Estate for almost five decades, and at one time planted up to 400 trees per day, installed his final sapling in the village green.
Planter John lives on Boughton Estate, home to the Duke of Buccleuch, with his wife Dorothy and shares his nickname with a 19th century Duke of Buccleuch.
He planted the Oak tree on the village green after it was grown from acorns in the garden of Kettering resident Susan Ramsay.
John said: “I’ve always loved working in the woods, so when I reached retirement age and the opportunity presented itself for me to plant one more tree, I jumped at it. Now, each time I pass by, it will be a reminder of all the trees I’ve planted over the years.”
Although having retired from planting, the grandfather of six has vowed to continue tending to firewood on the Estate.
He added: “I retired when I turned 65 and then went back to work the following day. Working in the forest is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I plan to continue working for a few years more.”
Jonathan Plowe, woodlands operations manager at Boughton Estate, said: “John is part of the fabric of life here on the Estate, having dedicated his working life to Boughton. We’re thrilled that he has been able to mark his long-service in this special way, and lucky to have him as a member of our team.”
John, who travelled during his youth due to his father’s role in the RAF, settled in Northamptonshire in his teenage years, where he began working on Boughton Estate, hauling timber, and met his future wife.
His long service in the forestry industry was acknowledged by the Royal Forestry Society in 2014.
Visit the Estate when Boughton House opens its spectacular gardens to the public in celebration of the National Gardens Scheme on March 1, and again when the House and gardens open at Easter (April 4-6).