A tree planting ceremony was held on Saturday morning at Riverside park to commemorate the life of Anstace Esmonde-White, a celebrity in the gardening world and a lifetime member of the Kemptville Horticultural Society.
From their farm in Oxford Mills Anstace and her husband Larry were pioneer garden communicators through their television series on PBS called “From a Country Garden” in the 1980s and 90s. She also hosted gardening shows on CBC and CJOH radio from her home on Evergreen Farm (where they also filmed the TV show) and was the author of two successful books on vegetable gardening.
Over the past several years their garden has been unmaintained, however Anstace’s daughter and granddaughter, Miranda Esmonde-White and Sahra Esmonde-White, have purchased the farm in the hope of bringing it back to it’s former glory. The plan is to host a TV series on PBS about the revitalization of the gardens and rethinking diet as it pertains to gardening.
The ceremony on Saturday was intimate, with members of the Kemptville Horticultural Society, family and Mayor David Gordon in attendance. “I used to watch her on TV,” says Mayor Gordon. “When I heard her name I couldn’t miss it.”
Anstance’s tree is to be planted in the children’s play area, a fitting location because it was children that drove her to become an educator on TV. “She is smiling today,” Miranda said at the ceremony. “There couldn’t be a better place.”
Although the rain held off for the ceremony the ground was too wet to plant the actual tree on Saturday. Once the ground dries up Tom Bryant from local landscaping company Floral Design will plant a 22-foot white oak in the designated area. “My parents loved trees,” Miranda said. “They bough Evergreen Farm with no trees and they planted thousands.”
Miranda says she will also be working with the Municipality to have a plaque placed next to the tree to commemorate her mother.