Ramsay Creek: New Kids on the Block - theHumm July 2020

Ramsay Creek: New Kids on the Block - theHumm July 2020

By David Hinks

As someone who lives in Almonte and drives to Carleton Place frequently, I was fascinated to see a new, rather large greenhouse develop from the ground up last fall along Ramsay Concession 7A. As someone who prefers not to travel 110 km/hr on the highway, Concession 7A is a wonderful rural road with lots of opportunities to check out the latest bird arrivals (please don’t tell anyone about it!).

Not surprisingly, the business that was unfolding there is not part of a global multi-national empire. Ramsay Creek Greenhouse is a truly local enterprise with perhaps a bit of an unexpected “Mission Statement”. I have led many workshops on an introduction to organic vegetable gardening and have seen how complicated many novice gardeners find the world of gardening. The very refreshing mission of Ramsay Creek is to simplify gardening and make it enjoyable and gratifying for everyone. I am eager to see this vision become reality!

Business partners Elizabeth Salter and Carolyn Styles built Ramsay Creek around this dream of making gardening more accessible to everyone. They perceive that many people find gardening intimidating and they want to show that gardening is for everyone — that it can be accessible, maintainable and affordable. The nursery sells annuals, container gardens, perennials and shrubs, as well as veggies and herbs. In the future they plan to offer workshops, seminars and custom design services. They currently provide employment for five seasonal full-time staff and two part-time staff.

Carolyn was born and raised on a dairy farm in Kinburn. A veteran business owner for a quarter of a century, once she stepped into the greenhouse industry she fell in love with gardening and growing. She has never looked back. Elizabeth studied agriculture, horticulture and floristry. She has been working in the landscape and greenhouse industry since she was just fourteen years old. She has always dreamt of building a greenhouse of her own.

They transformed a field with a forgotten municipal drain into “Ramsay Creek”, an imposing structure approximately eight minutes from either downtown Almonte or Carleton Place. Construction started in August of 2019. The heat got turned on three days before Christmas, but actual planting did not start until the beginning of February. They opened for online shopping in April 2020, and opened for traffic in May as soon as they were allowed to, following COVID protocols.

Their connections with the local community run deep — between incredible family support and a web of support they found in Lanark County, many people gave them excellent guidance about opening up a business.

Further evidence of their commitment to the community was reflected in the construction phase. They were their own contractor and used local companies for everything they could — Carroll Cartage for excavation and grading, SMR for electrical, and Valley Plumbing. They consulted with Niagara greenhouse specialists for the structure, function, and some other aspects.

One small example of local collaboration was with Gilligallou Bird Inc. this spring to design a hanging basket that attracts hummingbirds. It was made up of plants loved by hummingbirds and a Gilligalou feeder that hung perfectly underneath.

Opening in a pandemic had many levels of crazy. Elizabeth observes that “it feels like we’ve lived three years in three months, so trying to remember details of the build/opening is such a haze at this point. I think because we were working so hard to get open in time, once COVID hit we just switched our focus and drove to the next issue. And COVID constantly threw curve balls which affected finishing the greenhouse, deliveries, scheduling, and most importantly selling. You had to make a lot of Plan Bs, then Cs, and Ds, etc. In a way it made things feel normal because our attitude never faulted from go-go-go, but now we’re coming off such a rush and we are all just tired. I think anyone in this industry would say they are tired at this point.”

Where do they plan to go from here? They aim to continue to grow great plants, and to help gardeners bring colour and life to their yards. The plan was to have lots of workshops on growing and designing, so once things loosen up they will figure out ways to host those within the greenhouse. They will have a fall crop, and lots of Christmas designs this year. Next year they will again have a focus on veggies, with more varieties and offerings. Interestingly, the most requested plants this season have been tomatoes and marigolds.

They swear that every day is rewarding as they are constantly learning and growing. And this is something that gardeners can identify with — one of their most rewarding moments was the first time they went to check on the growth of their first seedlings and pulled out a “glorious” pot of white roots — they were actually doing what they wanted to do, which was to grow plants.

I really admire their spirit as they were able to roll with the punches when absolutely nothing went as planned. The major frustration that stands out for them was not being able to hug their family in celebration once the business opened.

Check their website ramsaycreek.com or Facebook page for the latest information on hours of business and COVID protocols.


Take a Quick Survey for The Hub! - theHumm July 2020

Almonte Community Coordinators (also known as The Hub) is conducting a survey of local needs and experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey is short (ten questions). Results will be shared with the public (once anything that could identify individuals has been removed) and will be used by community groups to help them know how to help.

Anyone over the age of 13 living in or around Mississippi Mills is welcome to complete this survey. We would like to hear from as many residents as possible so we know how you’re doing and where to focus our efforts to support the communit......


Barbora Balaban — Firmly Grounded, with Dirty Hands - theHumm July 2020

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

Whether it’s in her pottery studio or in her garden, Barbora Balaban’s work is inspired by her love of nature. She has hiked and camped across Canadian wildernesses and farther afield in Argentina, Chile, Nepal and Iceland. Her unusual sculptural pottery compositions are a stunning testimony to her love of the great outdoors.

Balaban loves to have dirty hands. On her website she writes: “In my mind dirty hands means challenge, relaxation, creativity, ins......


Virtual Celtfest: July 4 & 5 - theHumm July 2020

Almonte Celtfest organizers are delighted to announce that they’ll be hosting a virtual festival on Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5. They have coordinated with a number of performers who have pre-recorded video performances — these are currently being produced professionally and edited into a single video that will be broadcast as the virtual festival. It will be posted in two parts — one on Saturday and one on Sunday — and each will run about two hours in the afternoon.

The lineu......


Have a PerfectPICNIC in Smiths Falls
Support Local Restaurants, Enjoy the Outdoors!
- theHumm July 2020

Picture this: it’s a warm summer evening, the sun is filtering through shady trees, and the gentle sound of nearby water provides the perfect backdrop to a delicious picnic prepared for you by top-notch local restaurants. And when you open your picnic box you find free gifts! If this sounds appealing to you, then Smiths Falls is the place to be this summer.

The Town of Smiths Falls, in partnership with participating restaurants, is pleased to announce the lau......


Bloomfest Garden Art
A Show and Sale at Whitehouse Perennials
- theHumm July 2020

By Suzanne Patry

For many years gardeners have marked their calendars for the third week of July when the display gardens and daylily field at Whitehouse Perennials are in full bloom. This year there is another reason to make the trip to Almonte — our Garden Art Show and Sale.

The display gardens and daylily field are a great venue to showcase garden art! Beginning on July 21 the work of twelve artists will be installed, and it will remain in place until August 3. The gardens are extensive and the......


Beautiful Music Together: an interview with Jenny Whiteley and Joey Wright - theHumm July 2020

theHumm is reaching out to members of our Ottawa Valley community to ask how they are finding ways to use their gifts and skills in these challenging times. Today’s subjects are Joey Wright and Jenny Whiteley — an award-winning pair of musicians who are also happen to be married (to each other, no less!). We contacted them to find out how all this togetherness is influencing their art, and what their hopes and plans are for the future as performers.

theHumm: Do you h......


AGH Invites You to an Evening Gala at Home! - theHumm July 2020

Each year, the Almonte General Hospital Fairview Manor Foundation has four signature events to support our patients and residents, ensuring they receive high quality healthcare in our community.

As we look at 2020, three of our four signature events have had to be postponed until 2021. This challenge presents us with an exciting opportunity to develop some fresh ideas and create some new fundraising events that will continue to support patient and resident care at the hospital and manor.



Orchid Viewing a Go! - theHumm July 2020

The highly popular Purdon Conservation Area, home to Canada’s largest colony of Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids, is open for the 2020 bloom season. Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) has put the following measures in place to help protect the health and safety of all visitors and staff:

Directional signage: A portion of the boardwalk will be one-way.

Face masks: Given the narrow boardwalk, a physical distancing space of six feet cannot always be maintained and therefore it......


The Live Music Scene is No Joke: an interview with Mike McCormick - theHumm July 2020

theHumm is reaching out to members of our Ottawa Valley community to ask how they are finding ways to use their gifts and skills in these challenging times. Today’s subject is Mike McCormick — a member of the beloved Canadian musical/comedic super-group The Arrogant Worms and a (normally) active member of the Ottawa Valley live music scene. We contacted him to find out what effect the pandemic is having on his sense of humour, and what his hopes and plans are for the future as a performer.


Waterway Photo Tour
MVFN Celebrates National Canoe Day
- theHumm July 2020

In celebration of National Canoe Day — Friday, June 26 — the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) created a virtual pictorial tour of the Mississippi River and other waterways and lakes of Lanark Country, as seen from the water. They invited everyone to get out on the water between National Canoe Day and Canada Day to capture in pictures the natural world that we can see from the water in beautiful Lanark County.

After July 4, everyone is invited to visit ...more

Loving Local Food
foodcoreLGL Hopes Interest is Here to Stay
- theHumm July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a variety of impacts on our food system. Shortages of some products created a new appreciation for and concern about supply chains that many of us take for granted. foodcoreLGL (Leeds, Grenville, Lanark) is a regional network working to bring to life to the LGL Food Charter drafted by our communities in 2012. While recognizing the many challenges and hardships the pandemic has created, foodcoreLGL members are hopeful that the boom in interest in the food system and demand for locally sourced food will be a lasting, positive shift in our communities.



Art Keeps On Keeping On in the Valley! - theHumm July 2020

By Miss Cellaneous

Weaving is Unlimited!

Cheryl Straby of Strévé Design Studio Boutique and Gallery is pleased to announce a summer exhibition of handweaving by Weavers Unlimited, opening June 29.

Founded on a shared passion for handweaving, Weavers Unlimited is a collective of dedicated artisans who strive to explore the intricacies of handweaving and develop new approaches to creating woven fabric. The group has gathered since 2003 to share their interest in mastering traditiona......


Ramsay Creek: New Kids on the Block - theHumm July 2020

By David Hinks

As someone who lives in Almonte and drives to Carleton Place frequently, I was fascinated to see a new, rather large greenhouse develop from the ground up last fall along Ramsay Concession 7A. As someone who prefers not to travel 110 km/hr on the highway, Concession 7A is a wonderful rural road with lots of opportunities to check out the latest bird arrivals (please don’t tell anyone about it!).

Not surprisingly, the business that was unfolding there is not part of a global multi-nat......


Summer of Quarantine Family Fun List
50 family-friendly activities in the Ottawa Valley
- theHumm July 2020

By Sarah Kerr

Dear folks with kids: Welcome to the “summerofquarantine” Family Fun List! At first glance, the summer seems pretty daunting with little ones when everywhere you turn your go-to fairs and festivals have been cancelled. No summer vacations outside the province, no Ferris wheels, no concerts in the park. It is going to take a bit of time to rework your family summer traditions, but I hope to help you realize that there is still so much fun to be had.

So take this list and sit down with your family ......


Dandelion (Or, A Wave of Brilliant Resistance) - theHumm July 2020

By Susie Osler

The vision that came to me today, on the summer solstice, while the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty around COVID-19 and rallies to rid our systems of vile toxicity, is a dandelion-covered lawn. It may be an odd association, but I love dandelions and a sea of them registers for me like a wave of brilliant resistance — deep rooted, resilient and unstoppable.

I believe wholeheartedly that plants have much wisdom and medicine to offer us if we spend a bit of time with them observing a......


Nature Fosters Creativity
Finding Inspiration in a Sacred Space
- theHumm July 2020

By John Pigeau

I love reading about where famous authors wrote their books. It’s no surprise that many of them cherished peaceful, quiet, isolated places in which to write — sheds, huts, cabins and cottages, many of them quite modest. 

Dylan Thomas, for instance, wrote poems and stories in a small wooden boathouse in Laugharne, Wales. The place was tiny but serene, and overlooked the River Taf. Virginia Woolf wrote in a shed hidden away in the garden at Monk’s House in Sussex, England. Sparsely f......


Libraries are Lifting Spirits - theHumm July 2020

By Kelly Thompson

The challenges of working in a public library in these times! It has been perplexing, stressful, amazing and heartwarming, all mixed in together. Speaking with colleagues in other smaller libraries, we have been overwhelmed with telephone calls, social media messages, emails and even frantic waves on the street. People asking when we are re-opening, if curbside is available, saying how wonderful it has been to watch a virtual story time, participate in a Zoom program, or how fantastic that library staff can pick books for them. While we have had to step up our game and figure out how to c......


For the Love of Pets - theHumm July 2020

By Glenda Jones

When I was twelve my father and I conspired to get a puppy, a spaniel we could name Mickie, like the one my grandparents had when my Dad was courting my Mom. My Mom was adamantly opposed, saying it would become HER dog, and she didn’t want one. She knew full well that regardless of our whining and total commitment, she would become the owner of the dog. She opined that spaniels smelled of “wet dog” all the time, that she’d be the one walking it, cleaning up the messes, feeding it… and having a......


Making Music at the Perth Manor - theHumm July 2020

Gordon and Linda Craig — owners of the Perth Manor Boutique Hotel — are bringing a very special musical opportunity to the Town of Perth this summer. We spoke to them about how they are finding ways to safely incorporate music instruction into their summer plans.

theHumm: First of all, how have you and the Manor been faring since COVID hit? Have there been any noticeable changes since this part of Ontario moved to Stage Two?

Linda and Gordon: March had started off quite stron......


Dramatically Different
An Interview with Amanda West Lewis
- theHumm July 2020

Amanda West Lewis is an actor, author, and founder of The Ottawa Children’s Theatre (OCT). We contacted her to find out how the OCT is rising to the challenge of providing creative instruction to kids during this time of social distancing.

theHumm: You live in Brooke Valley but have been active in the Ottawa youth theatre scene for many years now. Are you finally getting to work from home? If so, what have you enjoyed about it, and what are you missing?

Amanda West Lewis: I’v......


Perth Studio Theatreis Waiting in the Wings - theHumm July 2020

By Jane Stott

I was in our theatre just a few days ago, remembering the first few plays of our 2019-20 season. We had talented actors in amazing costumes interacting on gorgeous sets, being exposed by brilliant lighting designs. Then we entered into the drama of the pandemic. These days, everyone is slowly trying to find a new normal. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, our theatre will be back, and the arts will return to Perth Studio Theatre. We are a vibrant community theatre offering film, concerts and live ......


To Mask or Not…
Why is it Even a Question?
- theHumm July 2020

By Sherryl Smith

I am writing this as an appeal to our community residents when considering whether to wear a mask. I am an active and (so far) healthy 75-year-old retired health care professional. I understand germ warfare and once demonstrated the hidden violence of these invisible critters to nursing students by having them swab their purses and culture what grows on them after being left on a public bathroom floor. You don’t want to know!

I have been a diligent adherent to the rules these past many weeks (now m......


Radiothon Supports Local Land Trust - theHumm July 2020

By Carolyn Piche

It’s no secret that the forests and wetlands within the Mississippi and Lower Madawaska watersheds provide us with countless environmental and health advantages. Being in these wild areas can give us many emotional, spiritual and physical benefits. They also purify both our air and water and provide homes for so much of our favourite wildlife. Wild areas are a key resource in our efforts to slow climate change because they sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

The Mississippi M......


The Hero and Hippopotamus - theHumm July 2020

By Sebastian Weetabix

Weetabix has remarked in previous articles about the historical origins and evolution of the restaurant as an institution. For those of you who have not been paying attention, the term, restaurant, refers to food as a restorative agent for weary workers and travelers. Together with the central social role of meals and the symbolic social importance of sharing food, we came in stages to restaurants as we now think of them; places to be served and eat prepared food while socializing with friends, family and business acquaintances (sometimes they overlap). Restaurant settings vary widely in si......


CFUW Perth Education Awards
- theHumm July 2020

Nine impressive young women recently received Education Awards from the CFUW (Canadian Federation of University Women) Perth and District club to help them achieve their post-secondary educationa......


The Almonte Alameda Takes Root!
- theHumm July 2020

In June, the final phase of a project that has been over a year in the making started actually “taking root” along the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail (OVRT) in downtown Almonte. More than thirty volunt......