Reta Seibert was born and raised in Williams Lake. An avid gardener, she recently removed dozens of old juniper trees that had died and replaced them with things such as spirea bushes, yew and maple trees. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Reta Seibert was born and raised in Williams Lake. An avid gardener, she recently removed dozens of old juniper trees that had died and replaced them with things such as spirea bushes, yew and maple trees. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

OUR HOMETOWN: Reta Seibert shares history of life in Williams Lake, love of gardening

Reta has lived in the Cariboo most of her life

Reta Seibert is never bored.

An avid gardener, she keeps busy tending the huge property she and her husband Karl have owned on Woodland Drive for 12 years.

“It is a lot of work,” Seibert said. “I have a big barn wheel barrow and so far this season I have hauled about 30 bags of mulch.”

A few weeks ago dozens of dead juniper trees were removed from some of their garden areas and she planted dozens of new trees, shrubs and flowers in their place.

When asked what she loves about gardening she said plants don’t talk back.

“I love to see them grow and I love flowers.”

New plants require bone meal, fertilizer and need to be watered well to give roots a good start, she responded when ask for pointers, noting she normally waters often until plants are well established.

She never plants flowers until after the May long weekend to avoid a “freaky frost.”

It is best to stick with Zone 2 when purchasing plants, she added.

When the Seiberts bought the Woodland Drive property there were some apple trees already established and one of them produces large apples, which she uses to make apple sauce.

As for warding off deer, she swears by Bobbex, an environmentally-friendly repellent. It is stinky, but works.

Seibert will be turning 81 on May 6 and said the maddening thing is having to accept the fact what used to take a day now takes her three days to get done.

“I have had knee surgeries and back surgery so I have to be careful.”

Seibert was born and raised in Williams Lake, alongside her brother Butch Rife. Their grandfather moved to Williams Lake from Brock, Sask. in 1921. He was the first druggist in Williams Lake.

Seibert’s parents Thelma and Kenneth Rife were partners in Western, Rife and Pigeon — a grocery store on Oliver Street next where Delaney’s Lock and Key is today.

Eventually they opened a Tom-Boy near the corner of Oliver Street and Third Avenue where Ibea’s Quilting and Crafts is today and the family home was near where CJ’s Southwestern Grill is today.

When she was 13 years old she got her first horse, which she kept in the front yard, and loved to ride all over the place.

After graduating from high school in 1958 she went to work at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, eventually transferring to work in Kelowna.

Within eight months, because she had not found Kelowna very friendly, she moved home and never looked back.

In 1962 she toured 19 countries in Europe in seven months with a friend. Another friend from home joined them for four months.

“It was the best thing I ever did. I think my eyes and mouth were never shut the whole time because I was amazed. It was such a learning experience.”

Before meeting Karl, she had heard about him. Originally from Romania, Karl’s family emigrated when he was 11 and he lived in Oliver before moving to Williams Lake to work in construction.

They were married in 1963 and Karl started Lake Excavating after that. They have two children — Trevor and Kari — and four grandchildren.

For 36 and a half years they lived at Pablo Creek Ranch west of Williams Lake which they still own part of.

“We enjoyed living out there. It was a great place to raise kids,” she said.

She had a big garden at the ranch and raised horses, first quarter horses and then thoroughbreds.

Showing horses became a big passion of hers and for 17 years she travelled all over B.C. doing it.

Eventually she gravitated to golfing and gave up showing horses.

Seibert is also known for her talent as a quilter.

She was always a sewer, she said, but it was her friend, the late Shirley Vanderburgh, whose work she admired, that convinced her she was also a quilter.

READ MORE: Quilt show offers a modern take on traditional designs

“I love learning and creating my own wall hangings. I don’t use a pattern — they are my own design.”

In the past she was on the board of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin and was one of the founding members of the Williams Lake Trail Riders Association.

Fishing at Shearwater on the Central Coast and hauling salmon in is also something she has enjoyed in the past.

“It’s catch and release, but it is really fun,” she said, smiling.

She said times have changed but there is still no other place she’d rather be than Williams Lake.

“You used to be able to go away for two weeks without locking your house, but you cannot do that anywhere now.”

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