VIDEO: 90-year-old Nanaimo gardener takes landscaping to the next level | NanaimoNewsNOW


Apart from the occasional help from contractors and family members, Katila looks after her vast property on her own, usually for several hours a day.

Her physical and mental health depend on it, with Katila’s wife receiving advanced institutional health care.

“It’s a very important part of my day,” Katila said. NanaimoNewsNOW while tidying up the trail from his Stonewood Pl. home on the corner of Uplands Dr.

Katila took a well-deserved break on the back patio he built to develop what drives his diligent property maintenance routine.

When he and his wife purchased the land on the former site of a golf course over a decade ago, towering blackberry bushes consumed large chunks of the property.

Katila hired a landscape architect to help realize her vision, which often draws praise from passers-by.

Her love for gardening dates back to her youth.

Katila’s parents emigrated from Finland and worked hard to establish a thriving orchard with hundreds of fruit trees in rural Port Alberni.

Decades later, Katila’s hands are still often dirty.

“There’s great satisfaction in looking at things that you planted as a baby and now that they’re mature, it’s wonderful,” Katila said.

He raved about the endless knowledge available online to help narrow down the gardening blunders he made many years ago.

After a long career running a car dealership in Port Alberni, Katila knew he couldn’t stand still in his mid-50s when he sold the business in 1986.

During Katila’s retirement years, flying radio-controlled airplanes became a great passion, while gardening and lawn care were close to his heart.

Katila is content to roam her property, often donning knee pads, a shovel and pruning shears – it’s an unusual site for someone her age.

“I can sit outside with a fire in the evening and a glass of wine and I’m a happy camper. I know people in their 90s and they gave up.

During the end of her break, Katila’s eyes light up indicating several flowers starting to bloom and colorful shrubs forming.

Spring leading into summer is Katila’s favorite time of year.

“I envy myself in the sense that I’m so excited about it. Digging in the ground is not a problem. It’s been a great experience, life has been good to me, I know I’ve lived in the best of times.

Katila is a legendary figure in her neighborhood.

Friends of the area’s wildly popular anchor constantly stop by to check on the energetic senior.

Gerard Hurrel moved into his house with his wife shortly before the Katilas arrived. He described Katila as inspirational and highly respected.

“If you need help, advice, talk to Leo.”

Hurrel described Katila as “non-stop” with the upkeep of her property, whether it’s snow removal in winter or pruning plants during the growing season.

“For the whole street, we call him the mayor of the street, because he takes care of everyone.”

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