Back to the Garden


We are gardeners and this is a season for garden visits and renewed garden contemplation.  For the last year or two Sheila has been engaging all types of garden folks in conversations about the garden culture of Nova Scotia and what it might be. Maybe  our garden visits this spring have provided some clues or evidence.

In  May I was very much thinking about the Public Gardens and Camphill Cemetery preparing for a Jane’s Walk.  These Victorian landscapes are dear to many hearts and we have preserved them so long they are part of how we understand a garden.

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Spring is a time to get out into the countryside. There is a moment when all the new growth appears groomed, as if the wild was parkland.  One of the pleasures of living in a region that has four seasons.  Here is a pair of meanders: a river in Cumberland County and the dandelion moment at the Armdale Roundabout.

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We value antique elements in the landscape like these old apple trees. The top photo is in the semi-abandoned cemetery across the road from us; I prune an old apple tree and encourage a swath of lily of the valley.  The bottom photo is a shore side garden in Lunenburg county  we saw last weekend that incorporates an old orchard.

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In a couple of gardens there were old rustic seats that had perhaps crossed the line to become more sculpture than seating. Traditionally this type of furniture was made by Mi’kmaq craftsmen and is treasured far longer than colourful plastic Adirondacks. 

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Some plants have been developed in Nova Scotia and are specially suited to our growing conditions.  The stars are rhododendrons from the Kentville Research Station.  We saw the display in Kentville  and a collection from that program growing on the Atlantic shore.  Worthy of celebration for sure.

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We also noticed  a theme of the picturesque .  One garden we visited on Sunday had no house number . We wondered if this was the right place until we noticed a pitcher (pitcher-esque ?) of flowers with the number.  In another garden there was a rustic set of stairs of local granite field stone that had been occupied by flowers.

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Well we have had some swell times in gardens and gardenesque landscapes this spring.  Hope you have the opportunity to do the same.  This time of year I start and finish my day with a  ramble in our garden.  Here is a photo from first thing this morning when I picked up the newspaper and walked some paths in my pajamas.  And a shot at the very end of the day when I was in the ditch grooming moss in my rubber boots.

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About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.