November 2017 – Theresa Ring Hoffman
Theresa Ring Hoffman: In Love With Lilacs
Growing up in the small Ottawa Valley town of Killlaloe, Theresa Ring Hoffman spent many summers on her Uncle Tom’s and Patsy’s farms helping in the kitchen and occasionally in the fields. These treasured memories come to mind when she cycles through the Farm fields on her early-morning rides from her nearby home on Kingston Avenue. Theresa moved to Ottawa when she was 18 to begin what would become a 35-year career at Statistics Canada in Tunney’s Pasture.
When her two children were young, their outings included walks and bike rides through the Farm. It was there her love affair with lilacs began – a love shared by her sister Nora. “After I walked by them, I enjoyed their lingering fragrance.” It was sheer coincidence “Or was it really?,” Theresa wonders, that when she retired and discovered the Friends of the Farm, there were openings on the Lilac Team. She was very fortunate to initially work with and learn from Joan Speirs, the Friends’ lilac “guru.” “Joan was always willing to share her knowledge and I learned so much.” Theresa also appreciates that Nerine Walton, team leader, is “always there to answer questions and makes us feel that what we do really matters.”
She looks forward to her Wednesday morning shift where her favourite task is pruning – “cutting out the old to give new life to beautiful, fragrant blossoms in the spring. “What a life!” Theresa exclaims. “I am greeted on Wednesdays by a rich canvass of colours (in the Ornamental Gardens) and get to work and chat with a wonderful group of volunteers.”
Mary Ann Smythe, November 2017. Photo by Polly McColl.