Get decorating Halifax!


I am soon glad it is raining. Friends of the Public Gardens are holding their membership Christmas party and Tracy and I decorating. See you there…



Friday before Father’s Day, June 14 Be at the Garden

It’s official! Our nations first! Canada’s Garden Day!

From now until forever on the Friday before Father’s Day we will celebrate The Garden. Soooo, Happy Father’s Day Dad and Dads across this land.

Let’s get this summer party started and get out in a garden. Start thinking of your neighborhood in terms of an extended garden. And the maritimes is a place of great gardening culture.

Look at your home, school, road side, greenbelt, highway, even the sewage treatment facility has some landscape.

The rhododendrons are very generous with their gifts of beautiful flowers.

The rhododendrons are very generous with their gifts of beautiful flowers.

If we only needed one good reason to have Canada’s Garden Day it would be to reintroduce communities to the value of nature and the importance gardens, being outside or with your hands in soil, and how a regular connection with plants helps humans thrive.

This year the Halifax Public Garden will join Butchart Garden in British Columbia, Assiniboine Park in Manitoba, Toronto Botanical Garden, Newfoundland Botanical Garden in St. John’s Newfoundland in a day long festival of plants, people and places.

Come on down to the Halifax Public Garden on June 14th and help us at the Halifax Public Garden to celebrate Canada’s garden culture. In my opinion Maritimers love to garden and it will be a chance to talk about gardening with folks who work at the Halifax Public Garden. We have invited a few local characters along to add some pizzaz. Let’s talk about what you might plan to do next year to celebrate Canada’s Garden Day.

We have asked our long time friend, Neville MacKay of My Mother’s Bloomers, to be our host for a very special event on Garden day. At his mercy will be 4 mystery gardeners creating their own plant installation in the Halifax Public Garden. These 4 creations will be left for the whole summer in the garden and we want you to then vote for your favorite creation. The winner will receive some very special Halifax Public Garden swag.

Look out mystery designers, Neville will be watching!

Look out mystery designers, Neville will be watching!

We will be hoping for local photography buffs to record and share the seasons progress of the plant creations. Look for all of the details on

You may have just heard about our cactus bed on CBC morning show. It's very interesting.

You may have just heard about our cactus bed on CBC morning show. It’s very interesting.

Hope to see you Friday, June 14th! Say hi if you see me.

It’s good to have friends

When I first started this blog it was ‘liked’ by a very impressive native Nova Scotian. Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications has a good time travelling and helping those who wish to travel and visit places on their bucket list.

In reading one of her latest entries I found out that Cape Breton is one of this years National Geographic Best Trips of 2013! And that her folks hotel, The Highland Heights Hotel is the choice for best place to stay. Well it is in Iona. A naturally enchanting Scottish settlement on the Atlantic coast.

If you have not been to Iona you really should go. There is a spirit of a living soul in the skies of Cape Breton. At night you can see a lightening storm miles off in the distance while where you lie on the beach, clear sky above, counting shooting stars. I know because it happened to me.

Congratulations to Cape Bretoners. To visitors, it is a place you will never forget.

Now just a bit about the work at the Halifax Public Garden.

I am trying to figure out methods for not-for-profits, charities, garden groups and so on, to be able to grow plants for sale or for the gardens that they tend. In the pictures below I placed seed flats in clear bags to create warm moist conditions, with cool nights, to germinate the seeds collected last year. Now, these were set on the floor of the polyhouse which is heated, perhaps a sunny cool bright room or porch would work for other growers.


Here in Halifax, March is a good time to start seeds to get them to a decent size by fall planting out. These were sown on March 12 and have successfully sprouted. 


This is how we have to protect some of our tender seedlings from mice. Check out the cool clip that keeps the top on the seed flat (an inverted support tray). Yeah, it’s a hair clip.


Three of our greenhouses are nearly 100 years old. The technology of glass and iron or steel hasn’t changed much, but we have renovated our interior. We used to have finned hot  water pipes running along the kneewall below wooden benches. Now we have beautiful in-floor heat and open steel tables. I can tell you that the wooden benches are not missed.

When Richard Power was creating the Halifax Public Garden, it was realized to be a lifelong project. Part of the compensation to the superintendent of the garden was a home right beside the garden. Here it is. One of the only representations of Flemish architecture east of Montreal (I read this in an old publication. If there are other Flemish homes between Montreal and Halifax I would really like to know). 



Bit dreary….


What a time we had!

On Wednesday August 28th, the first day of the dahlia festival, it rained. Which was okay. The garden badly needed water and still does. The rain also cleared the humidity for the next day which was the day Neville from My Mother’s Bloomers gave us an absolutely thrilling demonstration of floral arranging. Neville MacKay is an international educator, writer, and columnist from right here in Nova Scotia.[slid

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The festival was able to raise $150.00 by raffling tickets for Neville’s arrangements. The proceeds go to Friends of the Public Garden for their current project, the restoration of the Victoria Diamond Jubilee Fountain. Please visit their website for more details.

Second Annual Dahlia Festival August 28th to 30th

You have to come and see this years Dahlias! That is all I should say.


This is a true exhibit layout for at the Public Garden. The dahlias have been curated to show quality preparation and several of the blooms have won prizes at the Halifax County Exhibition.

Come and visit the Garden at the end of August and you can learn how to keep your dahlias healthy, organically clean of disease and bugs, and how to arrange them for household decoration.


The lovely Lacinated Cactus type dahlia. So pretty in an arrangement.


This is exhibition quality gardening! Come on in and learn how you can garden like this too. Tours are being offered at 10:30 a.m. by the curator of this collection. Our own gardener Amy.

So try to make some time during the festival (August 28,29 and 30th) and be blown away!

We’ve had a light misting and one good rain

The weather has been cool here, but it has kept the flowers on the shrubs longer. Have a look if you are here at this Laburnum (Golden Chain Tree).

A flame in the distance. Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’

This other light in the respectful cool overcast morning is a Quercus robur var. concordia (Yellow English Oak).

Qurcus robur var. ‘Vossii”

To find these lovely trees and more purchase a map at Horticultural Hall in Halifax Public Garden. The profits go toward restoration programs underway in the Garden. You can also send a question about the location of these trees and I will think up a good hint. Age appropriate for young and older wiser folk.

Come visit Nova Scotia. It is lovely.