July 31, 2022
Peter Jacobsen
Peter Jacobsen
Peter Jacobsen, owner of Parkway Garden Centre in London, Ont., passed away at home, surrounded by family on July 18 after a long battle against Parkinson’s.
Peter was born Nov. 6, 1933, in the farming village of Holt, Germany. As a young man, Peter showed a love of horticulture, completing his Journeyman’s qualifications.

Seeking greater opportunities, he immigrated to Canada in 1954, speaking almost no English. He worked in virtually every conceivable job, from road building to construction to manufacturing. In the evenings and weekends he loaded up his VW Beetle with garden tools and plants and worked in garden maintenance.

Within a few years he met the love of his life, Carina, and impressed her by taking her on a first date to the Stratford Festival to see As You Like It. They married on Oct. 31, 1959 and had three children. His hard work and hustle allowed him to bring his young family back to Holt to meet his delighted parents. Soon, he had saved enough money to buy a 25-acre farm west of Hyde Park, and built the family home that he lived in until he passed away.

By the early 1970s, he had built his first greenhouse and began to grow plants — both field-grown and under glass — to sell to local garden centres, retiring from his full-time job to focus on the growing business. One of the most iconic crops were his hand-selected beds of pansies, sold as “Dig your own, $1 a dozen.” He delighted in finding new plants to sell, even patenting his own strain of geraniums. The business flourished and expanded steadily, continuing after Peter’s retirement.

Many staff and customers remember him regaling them with anecdotes, sharing gardening tips or providing free fresh grown figs from the greenhouse. He was always accompanied by his canine companions through the greenhouse, and especially on spaziergang through the forest. His charm, generosity and presence are remembered to this day. For many years he was a mentor in the garden centre, and even in illness in later years enjoyed his tours through the greenhouses.

Peter had a genuine gift for flower arranging and would often present Carina with a bouquet of fresh flowers picked from the gardens. He created beautiful Christmas arrangements and epic Advent wreaths for church.

Memorial donations can be made to Redeemer Lutheran Church Memorial Fund, Parkinson Canada, or to the Brain Tumour Foundation.