This was pretty cool to discover. Just south of Parkside, SK, lies the historic Honeywood Heritage Nursery Inc.
It originally began by Dr. A. J (Bert) Porter during the Great Depression as a market garden to sell strawberries and raspberries.
A school teacher by trade, he eventually became renowned for his ability to grow fruits that would survive our harsh winter climate.
He became dedicated to discovering varieties of apples and crab apples, working closely with both the University of Saskatchewan and other researchers in western Canada.
Crazy but true—much of the fruit we are able to grow in our yards and gardens today is because of Dr. Porter’s efforts as a pioneer plant breeder.
But his major work ‘stemmed’ from his Asiatic lilies. Dr. Porter acquired some lily seeds from a friend and they ended up flourishing at Honeywood. He went on to hybridize several of his own varieties, eventually developing a total of 61.
He received national and international recognition as breeder of high quality, hardy, and disease-resistant lilies. He was part of many Horticulture societies, was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame, and received an Honorary Doctorate from the U of S before he passed away at the age of 99 on August 2, 2000.
But his legacy lives on. Honeywood was designated a Provincial Heritage Property in 2007 and many efforts have gone into its restoration, preservation, and revitalization. The lilies and dozens—perhaps hundreds, of plant varieties are tended to with care. When you visit, they are all labelled so you know what they are.
This was a fantastic site to explore and I truly wish I could have gone earlier in the year to witness the full bloom of the lilies!
But, there’s still time to visit before they close at the end of September. Stop by to walk around, and if anything, add this to your must-do list for next summer. Don’t miss their 2021 bloom!