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Barrie Porteous was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and came to Canada when he was 23. He has an Honors degree in Applied Chemistry but spent most of his working career as the Canadian Marketing Manager for Sun Chemical, the world's largest supplier of printing inks. Over the last 25 years or so he has led botanical expeditions throughout the western US as well as to the European Alps and the Pyrenees.
He lives in Toronto but his main garden is a 2hour drive north in a region called Muskoka. There, he gardens on a 1 acre lot which borders on a lake. There are no lawns, only gardens and paths. He also has a 2 ton tufa bed along with numerous rock gardens and around 15 troughs, most of which are large, the biggest being 8' long, 5' wide, 42" high with walls 10" thick. In spite of gardening in a Zone 3b/4a, he grows rhododendrons, azaleas and heathers. He is especially keen on daphnes, peonies, primulas, and trilliums.
He retired in 2006 and now can garden fulltime.