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.


So much to tell you

Lots of primroses

Lots of primroses

The weather has been cold and damp. Luckily all is holding well. Even the peony are doing well.

Here are a few of our primula. A few are species and a few are horticultural cultivars.

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!

Writing about Dahlias

This was an unlikely start to a fabulous dahlia display at the Halifax Public Garden. The spring and early summer were warm and moist and this was okay with the tubers. I suggest that if it had been a cooler spring they may have rotted in the ground.

But dahlias like a good drink every couple of days and it was provided by “Adams Ale” (an old term for rain).

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Now, to get a great display of dahlias you have to be committed. Perfect blooms and lots of them require at least a weekly application of an organic pesticide. Aphids, earwigs, slugs and other beasties will make a hash of blooms. Also, to get the best height on the taller varieties we remove some side shoots and early buds so that the main trunk of the plant will become thicker and taller.

Here in our moderate climate we expect the dahlias to start to bloom for August and into October. They require good heat to produce the first buds but after that the blooms continue even into the cooler weather of October.

While the dahlia is a fussy plant for us northern gardeners it is well worth the effort. By September most of the Public Garden flowers are fading, but the dahlias and the roses still like to give us something to see in the fall.

Lots doin’ as we move into fall

Working at gardening this year was sort of the perfect balance of steady but not heavy. We didn’t spend much time watering (because of the RAIN RAIN RAIN). Same rain did make the slug population explode. Next year….beware slugs!
Mulching the perennial beds has not only kept the weeds at bay, but working the stuff into the very heavy clay soil along with a proper dash of sand has improved the quality of the soil immensly.

The above tulip item is a good one I think. A gardener has to divide the bulbs every few years or the clump starts to falter. The parent bulb is crowded out and the new bulbs are too squished together to thrive. Digging up and separating the bulbs also gives a gardener a chance to improve the soil in the bed. Divide with care and check that there is a good basil plate left on the parent and new bulbs. (you might see tiny little root tips on the bottom) Be sure to water the bulbs well after they are replanted and if the fall is dry water a few more times until it gets cold.

It will be getting cooler, but now you will have roses in you cheeks!