Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meeting the Founder of CPS

Mr & Mrs John Simkins

Mr Simkins (John) is one of the founding members of the Canadian Peony Society. Hubby and I were given the opportunity to meet the man and his wife. We arrived at their home at 2:20pm and Mrs. Simkins (Vi) was at the door to greet us. She gave us the grand tour of their yard, showing hubby and I where the roots use to grow, the beehives use to be, the greenhouse stood here and so on.

John had a fall in the yard last week and couldn't get up. They had to call emergency services for help. He was okay but at 6 foot something John is not an easy man to maneuver. Vi is extremely concerned, as anyone would be when you have past 90 years of age, celebrating their 64th Wedding Anniversary next month and still living in their home. They have some outside help for John but family and friends have now convinced them it is time to look for other living arrangements. All of this means that over the last little while they have been giving peonies away to various groups. The church took most of the backyard in 2008 & 2009 to sell at spring plant sales. A few friends received specific plants, their children (a son and daughter)have or will receive a few roots, Sheridan Nurseries will be taking the front yard. John tells me that Sheridan worked in conjunction with John on the hybridizing project supplying land to grow them. When I called several weeks ago to find out how they were and if the CPS Root Sale could acquire anything, Val Hosty made the trip to find out, I was told that we could have anything from the front so I had Val take some pictures of anything that was still blooming. When I called and set up a time to come by Vi informed me that we could have anything we could find still growing in the back or left behind. The yard had become overgrown and would need a keen eye to find them but that shouldn't be a problem. We arrived with garden tools in tow with the intent of helping her weed and tidy up, to take stalk of what we might be able to have and to tag for later pick up. Hubby and I started clearing a lot of weeds and overgrown plants finding little treasures at almost every turn. 45 minutes into the work the sky thumped and turned black and after a quick clean up, putting everything into the car and closing the windows, the sky opened up dumping buckets of rain in an instant. We said goodbye to the Simkins making a promise to back later in the week to help more. This time we will bring buckets, bags and anything else we can think of to make the work a little more pleasant.

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