Win­ner Cat­e­gory 5

Betty and Louis Ri­ley of St. An­drews, Ont. for the best coun­try home or farm gar­den.

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT -

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.

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