A Seasonal Treasure North of Frankford
When Deanna Groves and John Riedl were living and working in Mississauga – she in accounting and human resources and he in information technology – they dreamed of moving to a country property where they could spend every spare moment creating a botanical garden.
It had become obvious as the married couple spent many years creating their own gardens as a hobby, then helping design and build gardens for neighbours, friends, and family members, that they were in the wrong professions. They decided to turn their hobby into a new livelihood and start their own landscaping business.
The first step for Deanna was going back to school. She graduated with honours from a landscape design certification program at the University of Guelph. From there, the pair worked on a detailed business plan for the landscaping business and their future vision – a botanical garden for the public to visit and enjoy.
In 2007, they made their dream a reality by purchasing and moving to a six-acre property north of Frankford.
A lot of deliberation went into the selection of this property. It had to be located centrally between Toronto and Ottawa with easy access from main highways. It had to include a low maintenance house and sufficient open, flat, or gently graded land for the envisioned gardens. The soil and water had to be of good quality and capacity. With patience and time, Deanna and John found, purchased, and moved to 664 Glen Ross Road and established their landscaping business, The Garden Place.
“Landscaping is not only our business – designing and building outdoor areas is our passion,” they share on their website. Clearly the pair loves helping people realize the potential of their own properties, and 255 residential gardens have been completed by The Garden Place to date. “The work is very gratifying, and we affect people’s day-to-day lives in such a positive way,” says Deanna. “We get emails from previous customers sending us photos of how wonderful their gardens look years later.”
Deanna and John also believe in giving back to the community; they have done volunteer landscaping work for Habitat for Humanity in Trenton and Frankford, Home Build for Health Care, Community Living Quinte West (a sensory garden) and a local church.
While establishing their landscaping business and getting to know their new community, Deanna and John were conducting market research for their envisioned Quinte Botanical Gardens. They learned about the type of gardens people would be interested in visiting. They also realized how important gardens are to people.
“The Quinte Botanical Gardens started as an idea of, ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to build gardens where people could come and enjoy and walk around,’” says Deanna. “The constant question I was asking from all the research I did was, ‘If we build it, will you come?’ Along the way, we received so much information about the physical and mental health benefits of gardening or being in a garden. It’s a de-stressing place. It puts balance back in your life.”
Deanna adds, “Helping people feel better, encouraging them to get outside more often, interacting with others, and sharing their own experiences – these are a few of the reasons why we were motivated to create the Quinte Botanical Gardens.”
After nine years of research, planning, and dreaming, the Quinte Botanical Gardens bloomed with several large gardens built on four-and-a-half of Deanna and John’s six-acre property. The tourist attraction officially opened on August 1 last year and remained open for two months as a trial run.
Many visitors enjoyed touring the gardens last year, coming from throughout Ontario and the northeastern U.S. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and Deanna and John proudly share them.
“There’s nothing like this in the area.”
“We drove here from Niagara just to see your gardens – well worth it!”
“We all had a great time and will return.”
“We came as soon as we heard the news! Well done!”
“What a great place to de-stress!”
“I can’t believe the details of all the beautiful gardens!”
“Love everything you’ve done. Interesting and informative.”
Deanna and John were thrilled with the response they received. “As visitors were here, they stayed longer. They talked to us. We had tons of fun with them. We were exchanging stories and experiences. The humour among gardeners is fantastic.”
With the first year’s success under their belts, Deanna and John expanded to 19 gardens, including a formal knot garden, an oriental garden, a white garden, a colour wheel garden (believed to be the largest of its kind in the world), a rose garden, an edible garden, and Deanna’s personal favourite, a bird, bee, and butterfly (BBB) garden.
Quinte Botanical Gardens