My name is Sahra Esmonde-White and I’ve recently inherited The Esmonde-White Gardens. My active grandmother who lives here is teaching me the ropes to caring for her life’s work. In creating the Apothecary Kitchen Garden at the Esmonde-White House, I am not starting from scratch, in fact I am building upon the magical gardens created by my grandparents and made famous by their 17-year running gardening television show “From a Country Garden”.

40 years ago Larry & Anstace Esmonde-White wanted to return to their Irish roots by buying a stone farmhouse and recreating gardens that would remind them of their childhood.  Both grew up in Ireland, England and France and had been accustomed to full kitchen gardens that filled their plates with fresh food.

In 1971 they found their dream home 45 minutes south of Ottawa and purchased the stone house and 5 acres of open farmland. The stone house was unoccupiable and the land completely bare except for the trees that lined the drive. They first renovated the home and then began plans for the gardens.  Though my grandmother never imagined herself as a TV gardener, it was a natural step as people were looking for information and she was an expert with years of experience stemming back to her childhood. Now 41 years later, grandma is a vivacious 93 year old still running the gardens and helping to pass all her knowledge on to me.

I spent many summers here as a child, so like grandma I have knowledge gained from formative years spent in the garden. My main interest now as an adult gardener lies in learning the history of my food especially in relation to its medicinal and nutritional use over time, and harnessing and using the medicinal power of all plants including vegetable, flowers and herbs, fruits, nuts and more in our kitchen and home spa. 

from a country garden

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During her days as a TV host for the American PBS network and CBC in Canada, her show became the number one series in the NY market long before Martha Stewart and other gardeners appeared on the scene; she was a pioneer in her field. Every tree, shrub, hedge, herb, vegetable and flower on the property was planted by my grandparents.
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For me, every plant holds a secret power and its in discovering that power that we learn not only the true power of our food, but we learn a new respect for what we are growing and eating.  We can turn everything from our garden into a health-giving nurturing meal, or drink, or into a natural product for internal and external use.  The point is, our kitchen is a medicine cabinet, a natural apothecary and the greater our understanding of that, the more we will look upon our food, kitchen and garden in a new light.

Anstance Esmonde-White

Now, as the natural evolution of the Esmonde-White gardens, I’ve created my own Apothecary workshop in one of the log cabins which was built 20 years ago on the property and nestled behind the herb garden.

Not only will we be building a new medicinal herbal garden behind the Apothecary and also be sharing recipes using what I’ve grown in the garden.  I’ll also be creating natural p sub-dividing my new herb garden by medicinal purpose, but I willroducts from our flowers and herbs, and discovering the new developments and knowledge from others around the world who are passionately involved in using the power of plants.

I look forward to sharing these experiences with you and the knowledge gained in creating our new apothecary kitchen garden. Everything from the Esmonde-White House should inspire you in your own apothecary kitchen.
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About Sahra & Anstace

Sahra Esmonde-White is passionate about helping people lead healthy lives through intelligent fitness and a thoughtful lifestyle. She is the host and co-creator of the Essentrics workouts and has been the executive producer for The Esmonde Technique since its inception in 2001. She has produced over 200 fitness shows for PBS. She has worked closely with celebrities and professional athletes giving them the tools and understanding to create a healthy balanced body. With graduate studies in Public Health & Health Economics, Sahra understands that full-body health comes from a full-life attitude.

Born in Ireland, educated in England and having travelled the world with her husband Larry, Anstace Esmonde-White settled 40 years ago in Kemptville Ontario, the setting of her 17-year running PBS gardening show “From A Country Garden”.  What began as a hobby became her lifelong mission; to educate people on the importance of knowing where their food comes from.

Anstace has been the President of the Ottawa Horticultural Society (and currently honorary President) and hosted diplomats and ambassadors from around the world. She has educated Canadians via radio and television with regular appearance on CBC and CTV in addition to her 14 seasons on the American PBS network. She is an extremely active 93 year old, running her garden, hosting events and teaching her granddaughter how to take over the Esmonde-White Garden.

Sahra and Anstace