Aunt Jean on Graymalkin Farm

In terms of subject matter, my Aunt Jean was a great contributor to my photographic journey.  She lived on a lovely farm property north of Toronto upon which she, along with her late husband Philip and daughter Sarah, created the most glorious private gardens I've ever had the privilege to enjoy.

Thankfully, Aunt Jean was an early riser so I was able to visit with my camera on occasion when the light was at its best.  Both these coneflowers and roses were shot shortly after dawn in late August and the light richly enhanced their pink tones.

Flowers were the big attention-seekers at Jean's but there was also a vast array of stunning herbs, beautifully cultivated for flavour, aroma and appearance.

I could always count on Jean for a garden tour, during which she would enthusiastically describe the plants while I took pictures. 

After the tour, we'd sit on her veranda and the busy-ness of nature around her home was a marvel.  She and Sarah had a number of bird feeders as well as a stock of peanuts and a wonderful variety of creatures knew exactly where their 'bread was buttered'.  

Aunt Jean and Sarah regularly fed the wild turkeys in the area and these splendid birds began to  make their home in the wooded hill behind the house.

Jean phoned me to let me know the turkeys were 'in season' and that I might find it a terrific photo opportunity.  The next morning I arrived very early and filled the memory card in my camera while 'hiding' in the car as the turkeys strutted their stuff.

Adora and Shiloh having a wonderful time visiting the farm and

giving me some great opportunities to photograph them.

Aunt Jean still working in her garden although she was very ill at this point.  Originally photographed by her daughter and edited by me.

Jean deGruchy writer, lover of the outdoors, gardener, mother, sister, wife and daughter, died on January 24, 2017 at age 86 at Bethell Hospice in Inglewood. Jean, a long time Caledon resident, died of pancreatic cancer. Much to her annoyance, cancer thwarted her plan of dropping dead unexpectedly in her beloved garden.

Predeceased by her husband, Philip, Jean was mother to Charles, Jane and Sarah and grandmother to Aleck, Jonathan, Honoria and John Carson. An accomplished freelance writer, Jean started her career at Maclean Hunter Publishing and was an Assistant Editor at Canadian Homes and Gardens and Brides Book and her love of the written word spanned a lifetime and a multitude of articles. Always curious, recently Jean embraced texting and if you were fortunate enough to receive one of her missives, you know she had a great sense of humour and an unexpectedly penetrating viewpoint. Always entrepreneurial and endlessly energetic, Jean established a successful herb and everlasting flower farm gate business in retirement. She was also a frequent gardening expert on Canadian television and at Canada Blooms.

Dignified, ladylike and never a lover of fuss, according to Jean’s wishes, there will not be a funeral. The family would like to thank the many generous people who provided help, advice and guidance throughout Jean’s final journey. From the remarkably human and caring team of health care and palliative support providers to the many people who offered kindness along the way, we sincerely thank all of you. If you would like to remember Jean, buy a plant for your garden, or enjoy her drink of choice:  A Starbucks chai latte, with no foam, no water, extra hot and an extra pump of chai.  Maybe order an oat bar as well.

Jean believed there were very few things in life you could control, but your attitude was one of them. She lived a life full of cheer and embraced the positive and had a rich existence as a result.

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