1579 Fanshawe park Road east, London - (519) 455-8873
Heirloom Greens & Gardens was opened in 2013 when owners Bryan and Sarah Hunter learned of the opportunity to take over the Fanshawe Park Road location from the previous garden centre owners, Heritage Country Gardens. Sarah worked for Heritage in 2012, and when the owners decided to close this location to focus on their booming wholesale operation on Wellington Road, the couple saw a great opportunity to realize a lifetime dream.
This NE London location has been a greenhouse/garden centre since 1973. Many Londoners have fond memories of shopping, golfing and even trout fishing on this nostalgic property. Though the golf course has closed for the time being, the Hunters have no intention of letting that land go to waste. As their business grows, they plan to put it to good use – stay tuned to watch as the business progresses!
Currently, Heirloom Greens & Gardens is London’s newest full-service retail garden centre. They specialize in meeting the individual customers unique needs. From custom urns and planters, to custom orders, and even on-site consultations at your home garden; if you can dream it up, Heirloom will try to find a way to make your dream garden a reality!
Let’s build your dream garden together!
When you hear “Heirloom” it might be obvious to make the connection to the hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, potatoes, rice, beans and other vegetables. Though it is important to realize what makes a plan an heirloom. The specific requirements for an heirloom variety are a hotly debated topic among the historical and gardening communities. However, the generally held belief is that an heirloom is any plant that has remained unchanged since before the time when plant hybrids and genetic breeding became the norm. The date that many historians use is the end of WWII, 1945 since after this time, widespread production became common and thus the introduction of hybrid seeds.
Of course, the word heirloom is defined as “a valued possession passed down in a family through succeeding generations”. Heirloom plants are no different. The growers of these varieties in many cases became known for their plants simply through the seeds and recipes they passed on to their children, who then continued to grow them in their gardens. Many varieties of heirloom tomatoes have incredible stories behind them. For example, the “Mortgage Buster” or “Mortgage Lifter” tomato dates back to the 40’s when a humble radiator repairman used the proceeds from selling the seeds of the tomato he crossed in his own garden to pay off his $6000 mortgage in less than 6 years.
Heirloom vegetables are not the only reason the Hunter’s chose this name, however. Bryan and Sarah wanted to choose a name that signified the value and priority that they place on family, friends and tradition. Bryan grew up in a Dutch/Canadian family with gardening enthusiasts on both sides of the family going back generations. On his father’s side, his Gramma Ruby was an avid gardener who managed to fill her tiny west London property almost entirely with garden beds, both vegetable and floral. She was an incredible cook, known around the neighbourhood for her famous chili sauces made from her very own garden ingredients. On his mother’s side, gardening was a matter of necessity. A family of ten who immigrated from Holland in the 50’s, Bryan’s maternal relatives, the Damens, had to grow their own fruit and vegetables in order to keep their large family fed. They were also masters of canning and preserving their crops in order to use every fruit, berry or vegetable all year long.
Sarah is also of proud Dutch heritage. Her father is a 2nd generation immigrant from Friesland, and her mother’s side hails from Holland after the war. Sarah grew up in Northern Alberta spending her summers on Oma and Opa’s farm greening her thumb at the tutelage of her grandparents in their 1 acre tomato and vegetable garden (this in addition to the many acres of cash crops on the property). She would spend hours in the gardens with her grandparents hearing stories of the incredible journey that the Boender’s took to get to Canada and build a life here for their family.
On her father’s side, the deGroot family is one that was built on hard work. A family of 13, it was crucial that everyone had a role in keeping the humble farm going, and the family fed. When it came to Sarah visiting her Pake and Beppe (Grandma and Grandpa in Fries) that work ethic was not lost on the grandchildren. It was the grandkid’s job to help pick beans, cucumbers and kale from their huge vegetable garden to help get dinner ready.
The Hunter’s are certainly not unique in this regard. It seems that every customer we speak with develops their passion for gardening through their parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles. We cannot think of a more meaningful heirloom than the knowledge and techniques which feed our families, and bring us closer together.