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Windsor gardener receives lifetime achievement award for commitment for beautifying town

WINDSOR, N.S. — A long-time Windsor resident with a considerable green thumb has been acknowledged with a new lifetime achievement award.

Earlier this year, 90-year-old Gerry Raymond received the Lifetime Gardener Award through Windsor's Communities in Bloom committee.

It's a fitting honour for a man who continues to cultivate gorgeous annuals and maintain 18 flower beds.

“I do my best thinking when I'm on my knees, digging in the garden. I like to see things grow,” said Raymond. “It just fascinates me how tough these flowers are at times.”

According to the local Communities in Bloom group, they created the lifetime award in 2017 as a way to recognize lifelong, passionate gardeners who have maintained unique and beautiful gardens over the years. Raymond is the first recipient. He said he was “surprised and very pleased” by the honour.

Raymond's property and the inaugural award were highlighted by national Communities in Bloom judges Lucy Change and Louise Dumouchel in a press release announcing the town's five-bloom rating.

“Windsor’s CiB committee created a Lifetime Gardener Award to honour one of the town’s

exceptional senior gardeners. This achievement award is preceded by various other

gardening awards, such as the CiB Best Community Gardens Award, presented to the same

individual whose garden is considered part of Windsor’s cultivated landscape,” the pair wrote in a press release. “His garden is a colourful and peaceful haven of well-maintained beds of annuals (geraniums, marigolds, dusty millers, petunias) and perennials (roses, peonies, clematis, poppies) beautifully arranged among various trees and shrubs.”

Raymond, who originally hails from Digby Neck, and his wife, Geneva, moved to their present home on Haliburton Avenue in Windsor in 1964. He's been gardening ever since. He credits his wife's mother, Elsie McKay, with nurturing his gardening bug.

“I have a geranium that I've propagated (since 1964). It was my wife's grandmother's geranium. It would probably be — the original one — close to 100 years old.”

Part of what makes Raymond's gardens so impressive is that he carries on the tradition of cultivating a large portion of his own flowers. He already has 150 started now. They will be ready to plant outdoors in May and will bloom until late fall.

He estimates he plants about 1,500 annuals each year, including 200 geraniums and a few hundred marigolds that he starts from seed.

Raymond is not only an avid gardener but he is a lifelong volunteer as well. Even at 90 years young, he continues to install In Touch emergency response systems in senior's homes throughout West Hants as part of the Rotary Club. He's an active member of the Windsor United Church and the Windsor Gyro Club as well.

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