Our Staff

Debbie Hawkins has been part of the Griffin’s team since 2008.  Originally from Bancroft, now living in rural Lakefield, she spends her free time camping, canoeing, fishing and entertaining.  She is a great companion to many area seniors and helps them with their day to day chores and personal care.  Debbie is responsible for our Custom Order Program and does a great job!  Along with her favourite jobs of Spring and Custom Planting, she enjoys “keeping everyone on edge” – usually with her practical jokes and hi-jinks!

Her favourite annuals are torenia, dragon wing begonias and strepticarpella and in perennials she loves “Limelight” hydrangea and peonies.  Her personal style of garden is Country Charm, so she uses lot of perennials, flowering bushes and trees all to encourage birds to the garden she shares with her husband and now, all-grown-up sons.

Cathy Fraser – Cathy joined the Griffin’s Gang in April 2004.   At first she helped out in the greenhouses and then was thrust onto the sales area, quickly becoming one of our most knowledgeable staff members who, always with a smile and genuine interest, offers practical advice to any question, basic or advanced. Over time, Cathy decided to study for her Master Gardener’s certification, which she achieved. As a Master Gardener she is active in the community, volunteering with senior citizens interested in gardening and arranging bus tours for others in the MG group.

Cathy has a passion for roses.  Her rose garden is lovely!  She, with her husband and daughter, dug (by hand!) a well sized pond and is also very knowledgeable on aquatic plants and aquatic life.

Cathy’s friendly smile is seen here in this photo taken on her porch along side Ellie (left) and Teddy (right).  These two keep her company (and try not to distract her with their antics) while she gardens on her large country property outside of Baileboro, overlooking Rice lake.

Pat Friestratter has spent several seasons working with us and has become an integral member of our staff.  From Peterborough and still living in the city, she spends her leisure time walking and hiking the local trails and trails she encounters with her adventuresome family.

At work her favourite tasks are planting seedlings and helping customers.  Like the rest of the gang, she really dislikes deadheading petunias.  Her favourite annuals include alyssum and snapdragons and she is fond of perennial daylillies and astilbe.  And again, like many of our staff, she’d never recommend planting yarrow (a perennial)- too invasive!

Her personal style of gardening is a mixing colours, shapes and heights.  She likes to call it “Casual Informal”.  The big gardening task she is tackling this year is to make a new rose garden.  We bet she’ll ask advice of her cousin (Cathy, our rose specialist here on staff) for help!

Judy Carswell joined our staff in 2013; originally from Lakefield, now living in Buckhorn, she spends a lot of her “down time” cooking, entertaining and reading.  With only a year under her belt she already has a favourite task:  meeting and talking with customers.  She even admits to liking deadheading!  She is not fond of un-tangling trailing petunias.

Judy used Dragon Wing Begonias in her pots last year for the first time and fell in love.  She says they are “BIG bang for your buck”!  She also likes secretsea and Diamond Frost.  Her favourite perennials are peonies, ferns, heuchera and hostas.  She admits she’d never plant roses.  Apologizing to her rose-loving co-workers, she explains, …”my parents were very accomplished rose growers and won many Horticultural awards.  So it’s a mix of emotion and a absolute fear of failure that I steer clear.  However, I do admire them from a distance.”

Toni Lapointe is orginally from Unionville and now resides in Lakehurst.  She has been one of the “Griffin’s Girls” since 2011.  When not diligently working in our greenhouses or store (she loves to streamline and tidy up), she is active with the Peterborough Horticultural Society and enjoys Interior Design and Antique Hunting.

Her favourite task is assisting customers with their plant choices and getting her “hands dirty” – although she is not a fan of getting her hands dirty while dead-heading petunias. Her favourite annuals for herself or to recommend are Dragon Wing Begonias and Coleus; her favourite perennial is Limelight Hydrangea because they are “just so pretty!”  She’d never again plant Yarrow.  She claims, I “tried it once, (it) took over my garden and I spent days ripping it out”.  Her garden is “just a nice garden full of perennials that bloom Spring to Fall.

Grace Mahoney joined us in 2010 and is a humourous, creative and fun-loving member of our team!  Originally from Bowmanville she now resides with her family in the Fife’s Bay community.  She comments that “the best part of working at Griffin’s is being part of a team who are so knowledgeable, helpful and fun”.

At work her favourite task is planting and keeping the plants looking fresh and her least favourite task is “moving day” – taking plants and hanging baskets to the cold frame (she’s not alone on that one)!

She claims to have taken a “Better Homes and Gardens” Quiz that concluded that her garden style is “Cottage Garden”.  That does make sense considering her favourite plants are coneflowers and beebalm (perennial) and all the “supereasy” varieties of coleus (annual).

When Grace is not in the garden she is in her studio creating and teaching art.

Anne Millen joined our staff when she retired from nursing in 2009.  Originally from Peterborough she lives and gardens on a property just outside the city limits where she creates flower beds as the “need arises”!  Her motto is, “If I like it, I buy it and then find a home for it!”  And, as a Master Gardener who is always on the look-out for new plants, that is often!

Her favourite plants are coleus (annual) and roses, hellebores, hydrangeas and echinacea (perennial).  Right now she is fighting a yarrow invasion in her one garden; she will never plant that again and also vows to never plant goutweed because it too is “invasive”.

Anne says that “after 34 years of nursing, this is a wonderful change.  (I am) still caring, tending and giving TLC and they (plants) pick right up – and don’t complain!”  Her favourite job at Griffin’s is helping customers and her least favourite is carrying soils. In her spare time Anne loves knitting, cross-stitch, working with the Peterborough Horticultural Society (Past President), travelling and spending time with her family.

Linda Guilfoil – Linda has been a valuable part of the Griffin’s team for over 10 years!  Originally from Toronto, she now lives in Peterborough and uses her talents in the informal, “riot of colour” garden she shares with his husband, Greg.  When not playing in her garden, she loves travelling, reading, decorating  and volunteering.  She especially loves reading with JK/SK students.

Her favourite task at Griffin’s is Spring planting and her least favourite is scraping green sludge off the greenhouse table.  Her favourite annual is Dragon Wing Begonia and her favourite perennial is hydrangea.

While she would never, ever put goutweed in her garden (“spreads like crazy and impossible to eliminate”), she wishes she could add find room in her  garden to add some new hydrangea varieties.  Her big plans just don’t match her small garden.  She says, “I like trying out new perennial varieties if I can make space for them; something old has to exit before something new can be planted in my limited garden area”.

Christine Freeburn joined the Griffin’s team in 2014 upon her retirement from managing our local WH Smith Book Store.  An avid gardener, member of the Peterborough Horticultural Society and a new Master Gardener, Chris has a passion for gardening.  Her knowledge is often sought after by our customers who know she will listen patiently to their needs and then enthusiastically suggest plants that are “just perfect”!

Chris lives and gardens in the Fife’s Bay community and enjoys tending to her overflowing perennial gardens on the rural property she shares with her husband.

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