December 14, 2021
Rod and Maureen McDonald
Rod and Maureen McDonald

A farewell from his fans

Rod McDonald’s wise words will be missed by Canada’s landscape profession

In the August issue of Landscape Trades, Rod McDonald announced his retirement from penning his Road to Success column.

McDonald owned and operated Lakeview Gardens, a successful garden centre and landscape firm in Regina, Sask., for nearly three decades. After selling the business, he shared his insights into Lakeview Gardens’ successes, struggles and its learning experiences via a column in each issue of Landscape Trades.

However, after reflecting on the industry for 14 years, McDonald decided he had mapped the road to success as best he could, and announced his retirement.

“There are only so many ways I can phrase the basic concept that by taking care of your customers, your staff and your business affairs, everything will work out,” McDonald said in his farewell column.

In retirement, McDonald plans to spend more time with his wife Maureen. He also plans to continue to coach Saskatchewan’s next generation of boxers at the Lonsdale Boxing Club in Regina. He is grateful for the 45 years in our industry and for all of the wonderful men and women he has met.

Judging by the responses generated by his farewell column, his stories and advice will be missed by Canada’s landscape profession. Here are a few of the well wishes sent in from readers:
“Congratulations on your retirement! I have always read your columns with interest. It is as you mentioned, a great industry full of great hard working people. We have a unique industry and I have been fortunate to be a part of it.”

Karl Stensson
Vice executive chairman at Sheridan Nurseries
Georgetown, Ont.
“I’ve enjoyed reading your articles for a long time, so I will miss them. I also fully agree with your description of all the incredible people working in this industry. It is also my story, as I have never witnessed such dedication, knowledge, info exchange and full readiness to provide help to a fellow industry person in need, whether or not they were competitors.
I worked in five different industries in my life and this is the only one with this very unique quality and ever-learning knowledge. My heart is embedded in it.
Take care my friend. Enjoy retirement, but keep some busyness.”

Chris Andrews
Former executive director of The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association
Woodbridge, Ont.
“Thank you for sharing with me your final column for Landscape Trades. I connected with several ideas in this column, including the importance of remaining “teachable.” This is a virtue that I hold onto dearly. Growth mindset requires it. Yet, it requires humility — and that can be hard.
And the second idea which I was fond of was in your closing paragraph: ‘In my younger days, I saw everything in black and white, and I was too hot headed. I burnt bridges when I should have been building them. Stay on the road to success.’ I couldn’t agree more.”

Riley Hammond
Former Lakeview Gardens employee
Brandon, Man.
“Congratulations on everything you achieved in our industry!”

Gerry Aubin
Owner of Aubin Nurseries
Carman, Man.
“Needless to say, all good things come to an end. Upon reading your articles, I have enjoyed your writing abilities in expressing situations as they really are. Life’s experiences bring loads of wisdom if we let them. And yes, as we age with the passing years change inevitably happens.”

Sharon Ronald
Owner of Jeffries Nurseries
Portage la Prairie, Man.
“Your writing has been to me the best part of Landscape Trades and I turn to it every issue. You have chosen your own time to “retire” and that is honourable. We will hope to keep in touch. I hope your health continues to serve you well. God Bless.”

Wilbert Ronald
Owner of Jeffries Nurseries
Portage la Prairie, Man.
“That was a graceful exit, Rod. Well done, and that advice about building bridges rather than burning them is worth remembering in every aspect of our lives.”

Gail Bowen
Author and playwright
Regina, Sask.
“It is always enjoyable to read about someone’s personal struggles and successes. You started from the bottom and built a very successful gardening business. Your second career as a writer was putting the lessons you learned in the business on paper. It has been a joy to read about your experiences.”

Hans De Jongh
Owner of Paridon Horticultural
Delta, B.C.