Winner Category 5
Betty and Louis Riley of St. Andrews, Ont. for the best country home or farm garden.
If you’re ever driving by St. Andrews, Ont., it would be well worth your time to stop by Betty and Louis Riley’s sprawling Country Farm Garden. They began their labour of love in 1999 and today have over four acres of their 75 acre farm dedicated to the garden.
Now, almost 19 years later, there are a variety of perennial flower beds, a vegetable garden and several annual arrangements along with the fish pond that are surrounded by a pine and spruce plantation.
When Betty’s family immigrated from Holland, the garden was all about survival. Flowers were a luxury in a garden space that needed to provide vegetables for a family with twelve children! Now it has become a thing of beauty, to be enjoyed and provide pleasure to those who visit it. In later years, Betty’s mom had often commented how much she enjoyed flowers and the beauty of nature and so Betty and Louis thought that
Canada’s 150th birthday was the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to her and the rest of their parents.
Both Betty and Louis love color and it really shows in their choice of flowers around the property. There is always something blooming in this idyllic garden and Betty is always experimenting with new things. Lately, it has been a lily bed that has received a new makeover! With so many varieties of lilies to choose from, it wasn’t easy to pick just a few! Betty is the mastermind and does most of the planting while Louis helps with the weeding, mulching, pruning and other projects. A great example of Louis’ creative skill is the Canada 150 sign that he thought up and created for Canada’s big day! Whimsical pots, statues and ornaments are scattered around the property making each space unique and delightful to discover.
The fish pond started small but a couple of years later expanded into what it is today. It has become an evening ritual to sit beside it and feed the fish which Betty has admitted have ‘become quite spoiled’! Even the stones have their own story as many of them were collected from places that Betty and Louis visited over the years and brought back to find a home around the pond!
The gardens are an absolute delight for all of the birds that have found a home on the farm along with butterflies and much more wildlife. Betty and Louis even raise their own meal worms to feed the rare Eastern bluebirds which have located themselves on the property! Along with the bluebirds, you can also spot cardinals, gross beaks, woodpeckers, chickadees and finches feeding form the various birdfeeders around the gardens. Betty says that the wildlife keeps them motivated to continue gardening so that they can continuously improve their outdoor retreat.
Betty and Louis also host tours for the local horticultural society. They have one son and two granddaughters and had 300 grad pictures done on their property the year that one of their granddaughters graduated! What a beautiful setting to commemorate such a special day!
The Riley's have four acres of their property dedicated to the garden.
Louis and Betty Riley of St. Andrews, Ont.
Inspired by Canada's birthday, Louis created 150th artwork.
Their garden has become a welcoming haven for butterflies and birds.
The pond has become the social point of the garden.