September 2, 2020
Joe Pepetone
Joe Pepetone
After a courageous and brave battle with congestive heart failure, Joe Pepetone passed away at home surrounded by his loving family on February 12, 2020, in his 82nd year.

Owner of Holland Park Garden Gallery in Burlington, Ont., Joe was one of the original members who initiated the Landscape Ontario Garden Centre Commodity Group in 1988. He was the inaugural chair of the new group and served on the board of directors until 2006.

Holland Park had its beginnings in Toronto where Joe grew up in his family’s small fruit and vegetable store — Pepetone’s — on Holland Park Avenue.

Joe Pepetone and his wife Anita first opened the doors to Holland Park in 1975 in Burlington, followed by a second location in 1990 in Dundas.

After Joe’s passing, Burlington mayor Marianne Meed Ward wrote, “You would be hard pressed to find a resident of Burlington who has not added to their garden, their lawn, their landscaping or their bird feeders by visiting this epic store. Every December, the dozens of decorated trees done up in magical and festive themes — some even upside-down — were a favourite of young and old alike. Their evergreen boughs and pine cones filled holiday planters and wreaths all over the city. Through the spring and summer, their countless perennials, shrubs and trees were loaded up into the trunks and hatchbacks of area residents, along with fresh topsoil, grass seed, decorative stones and garden decorations.”

The mayor went on to write, “Joe Pepetone will be missed in many ways by his loving family, his friends, fellow business owners, and our entire community. His life’s work not only beautified our city, but added to the very health and well-being of our environment in a lasting and sustainable way. I take heart in knowing that his wonderful legacy will live on in the gardens of our citizens for generations to come.”

Flags at City Hall were lowered in his honour.

In his March 2012 column in Landscape Ontario magazine, LO executive director Tony DiGiovanni wrote about Joe’s attitude toward the profession. “Years ago, I asked Joe Pepetone why he was so free with sharing business information at a Garden Centre Commodity Group meeting, when his competitors were sitting around the table. ‘It’s easy,’ he said. ‘Do the math. If I offer one good idea in a room with 10 competitors and they do the same, I receive nine ideas back.’”  

Joe received Landscape Ontario’s Past President’s Award in 1992. The award is determined by a committee of three past presidents of the association. The award goes to an individual who, over many years, has made outstanding contributions to the association and the profession.

Joe’s generosity and care for the community are demonstrated by the many donations to local charities, such as the time Holland Park Garden Gallery presented a cheque to Salvation Army Family Services for $2,850 that matched the number of food items and cash collected from Garden Gallery customers in the weeks before Christmas.

“The Salvation Army helps families in need all year and we recognized that with our customers’ help, we could help twice as much,” said Joe.

Joe Pepetone was the loving husband and best friend to his late wife Anita (nee Hodder). Beloved father of Jennie Pepetone (John Vergados) and Peter Pepetone. Loved Papa of Spencer, Aaron, and Jason. Dear brother of Jim Pepetone (Margaret), Delores Simpson (the late Bob), and the late Jean Ingarra (Joe). Joe will be greatly missed by his nieces, nephews and friends.

Memorial donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.