Flowers & Gardening

Flowers were as necessary to Roy's being as eating or breathing. Garden supply stores, nurseries, and garden centers loved Roy, who was a regular customer. He eagerly awaited the new seed catalogs and was never without a pair of loppers or pruning shears in hand.

Roy was fervent about gardening, and his Toronto home became a horticultural showcase. There, he laid out extensive flower beds and perennial borders, and planted trees and flowering shrubs by the hundreds and annuals by the thousands. He put in an orchard; planted blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and a half-acre vegetable garden in which he raised over eighty different varieties of vegetables and other small fruits.

Roses? He planted eleven hundred rose bushes; over three hundred varieties! And bulbs of every sort: irises, dahlias, daffodils — over a hundred varieties of narcissus, over eighty of tulips. One would think there was little room for lawn or need for a lawnmower, but the two acres of garden were met by great expanses of immaculately maintained lawn.

During the winter holiday season, while the family partook of the many preserves, jams, jellies, and canning of all sorts that Roy's wife Shirley had produced, Roy turned his creative eye to the artful lighting of the ever-present snowbanks and icicles that decorated the barren shrubs and trees. This was done with dramatic combinations of coloured spotlights and shadows. The garden was almost as colorful as in summer.

His hobby garden upon retirement in Victoria, BC was smaller, yet he remained equally passionate about gardening. He became enamoured of rhododendrons, fuschias and other exotic plants that lent themselves to the gentle westcoast climate. Among his primary pleasures were frequent visits to Victoria's famous Butchart Gardens.