JARS v56n3 - In Memoriam: Ralph Hansen

In Memoriam: Ralph Hansen

The Toronto Chapter of District 12 lost one of its long time members, Ralph Hansen, who passed away on March 8, 2002. Ralph, a retired executive of the Canadian National Railway, spent his last days near his beloved garden at Terra Cotta, west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Along with his wife, Caroline, Ralph over 20 years built a unique garden considered one of the finest in Ontario. The vistas throughout the garden are astonishing. There is a very large pond lined with large boulders and plants, a fountain shooting water in the air with a teahouse overlooking the pond. There are rhododendron walks filled with a large assortment of rhododendrons throughout the trees, an allee of 1,000 roses ending in a beautiful arbor, shade gardens filled with native and other plants, rock gardens, and one of Canada's finest living walls filled with alpine plants, and ending in a scree garden.

Another focal point is the roofless barn filled with an amazing number of stunning plants in their own micro-climate. All this with statuary around the garden - sheer magic.

In designing their garden, Ralph and Caroline, who were world travelers, took ideas and concepts from their many garden tours and immense horticultural knowledge. Ralph and Caroline maintained this wonderful garden by themselves. Moving large rocks by tractor and large caliper trees with a tree digger along with building skills were some of Ralph's many fortes.

But Ralph will also be remembered by his generosity to his chapter. He was always available to assist at plant sales and often donated plants for the meeting draws. He showed outstanding generosity and hospitality to the many visitors to his garden including many from ARS chapters. Ralph will be greatly missed. Our condolences to Caroline and the rest of the family.