John Balf

John Balf, the Herb Guy, passed away at his home in Harrop, BC on March 11, 2016.Born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised in Kamloops, BC, John was a chemist by education, but was drawn to growing plants and immersed himself in the world of horticulture and herbalism. He was the owner of Tansy Farm in the Fraser Valley, then of Brackenstone Herbs in Nelson. He was well known in the Nelson area for his lovely herb plants the he sold at many Farmer’s Markets throughout the Kootenays. His knowledge of planets was amazing and he willingly shared what he knew with anyone who asked. He had a genius for growing plants and an encyclopedic knowledge of the many uses for pretty much every plant.

As well, John was a gifted musician on both piano and guitar, both of which he was sadly unable to do in his later years. His love for animals, especially his beloved dogs, was notable.

In the past few years his health deteriorated and he had to move away from the old schoolhouse in Harrop. He had the great fortune to be taken in by Barb and Terry Kingsland where he was cared for, loved and had a greenhouse to keep up his passion for plants.

He is survived by his sister, Ruth, his nieces, Jennifer, Allison and Laurel, his nephew Stuart, and his grand nieces and nephews, Kincaid, Gideon, Schyler and Wyatt.

We will miss John. An open house celebration of him will be offered on his birthday, April 23 when he would have turned 69. This will take place at his greenhouse in Harrop, BC. For details please call


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