Retire In The Garden

Long before they had one, Ron and Carla Knight decided to retire in the garden. They bought a lovely piece of wild property on Hotel Lake on the Sunshine Coast. They stayed in the cabin and brought their retirement dreams to life on weekends and holidays.

garden waterfallRon was an educator and Carla worked in marketing management. Together they planned to retire as early as possible (at 55 and 56). When Ron had a lighter work load one year, he took a building course at British Columbia Institute of Technology. He followed that with courses in five sub-trades.

Armed with these added skills, the couple set to work building a winterized house on their property, saving about 50% of the building costs by doing their own work.

There's a sense, though, that the real fun has been the display garden. Ron has become an expert on the rhododendrons that thrive in the coastal climate. Carla tends perennials. Together they have created a true retreat.

Two water features take advantage of the rocky outcroppings and boggy spots. Paths wind throughout the garden, inviting a stroll. A life-sized carving of a beaver harkens back to the time when the local beaver climbed out of the lake to nibble on tasty rhodo trunks. Now fencing keeps the beaver in the lake and the deer in the forest. But the robins that nested in the bush next to the deck got to stay and raise their young under Carla's watchful eye.

It was only ten years ago that Ron and Carla began the planting that has allowed them to retire in the garden.

Since 1984 they have held yearly planning meetings. They go out to a good restaurant to review the past and plan for the future. They try to project five years ahead of where they are while they plan.

Their thoughtfulness and resourcefulness have allowed them to retire in the garden of their dreams.