Bulbs & a market garden
Within three years they had a daughter and a son. In 1955 Gwyn gave up his job and in the autumn of that year they planted their first commercial batch of bulbs. Gwyn commented, "Whether the decision to leave a secure position and accept the challenge of the land was right I do not know. I do know that we have managed to raise four children in almost ideal conditions. Hopefully we have contributed something of beauty to our community." The family ran a market garden, which supplemented the bulb farm and supplied their roadside stall. They used non-pesticide methods, an advanced idea for its time. Each child was given their own strip of garden and encouraged to plant and to cultivate. They also helped with the family business, particularly in the summer vacation. There were no farm animals other than chickens and pet horses and dogs. Gwyn occasionally had to kill a chicken for the pot and he would also shoot the racoons, considered to be vermin, that their border collie, Tina, cornered at night but he was at heart a very gentle man; he loved small animals and butterflies.
In his spare time, Gwyn was choirmaster both for St Andrews in Sidney (map) and for their own church, Holy Trinity (map) at Patricia Bay. He later became the organist at Holy Trinity. He also served as Civil Defence organiser for the district of North Saanich. One winter when finances were rather stretched he spent two months as relief assistant lighthouse keeper on Race Rocks. He was politically active for several years as a member and president of the Conservative riding association. In their last few years at ‘Beaumaris’ Gwyn owned and sailed a sloop. He and Rosemary both wrote regular articles for the Sidney Review; Gwyn’s ‘Gun’l Reflections’ was about the sea and sailing and Rosemary’s ‘Garden Gossip’, about gardening. She also wrote a book on the subject.
In 1971 Rosemary was suffering increasingly from arthritis and with her deteriorating health and increasing economic pressure, they decided to abandon the bulb business and move to New Zealand for its warmer climate and better economic opportunities.