On August 23rd, John Manchester hosted RINLA’s August Twilight Meeting at his home and headquarters in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Over fifty members of the industry were in attendance, from employers and friends to Registered Apprentices, to hear from the man behind John Manchester Landscaping. JML is a design/build firm founded in 1979 that specializes in stone masonry, with a host of clients across southern Rhode Island into neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut. John, who has been crafting with stone for more than 40 years, was modest and quick to refer to himself as someone who likes to do everything by hand and for the most part, by himself. The only “assistant” he referred to was mechanical, with which he was able to hoist the finishing touches to one of his estate’s walls, the finishing touches being several mammoth slabs of rock that he used to crown the front wall of his property.
The property had previously been owned by Stewart Nursery. The legacy of its owner, Robert Stewart, Jr., lives on in the veritable forest of Rhododendron maximum and R. ‘America’ that he had once planted behind where John’s house now sits. John is grateful for the site’s history and, thanks to John’s hard work, the whole is a gracious balance of stone and flora, utility and beauty, home to fireplaces, fountains, and an abundance of gardens, the lines of which allow you to float seamlessly from one into the next. John shares that he has been working on his property ever since arriving in it, and it’s hard to imagine he will stop now.
This event was sponsored by Ideal Pavers, to whom we are very thankful for their support of our Twilight Meeting series.
Written by Mason Billings
Photographs by Jordan Miller and Mason Billings