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….



Garden to open for the season


We are all busy these days cleaning up from winter and preparing horticultural delights in our greenhouses for the summer ahead. The Public Garden will formally open for the season on April 15. But for now you can visit from 8 to 2 Monday to Friday. Come in and watch your garden awake.

Most of the year goes fast but March is a drag

Winter in Halifax can be very sunny. We have the more sunny days in winter than most Canadian cities. But on a day like today with high winds, rain and I’ve you remember the purpose of insulated rubber boots.


Now is a good time to check any tubers, bulbs, and tender perennials that you have tucked away for the winter. These are our Dahlia tubers. They have come through the winter well so far but I must continue to check them as they may become dehydrated in our frost free refrigerator.
I have also got miniature roses, Gloriosa rothchildiana, geraniums, fuchsia, and potted bulbs to check on and prepare for spring.

What have you got? Do you have any questions?

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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.