The Charms of the Valley in Spring

Spent yesterday in the lower Valley  and it was glorious.  We have been part of a community hosting Panayoti Kelaidis the curator at the Denver Botanical Gardens (he is on a speaking tour in the region and is a fount of plant knowledge and joy in general).  An expert local plants person had put together a a full day of touring .  I must say our Nova Scotia terroir looked and felt awfully good.

We started in gypsum country near Windsor to see plants that need a high ph. The stars were the extremely rare and diminutive ramshead lady-slipper and the bright yellow variety.

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This landscape feels so exotic with trees improbably growing out of pure gypsum  and outcrops of the rock that have eroded into pointy fingerprints.

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The next stop was at the look-off over the UNESCO World Heritage Landscape at Grand Pre.  Visitors often don’t know the Expulsion story – for me the landscape is a strange combination of stirring and melancholy. Through much of the day Blomidon was in view so here I’ve flanked the Grand Pre view with ones from Luckett Vinyards and Medford.

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For lunch we went to the Luckett Winery where Pete himself was inside the door unpacking boxes and creating displays. “You’ve rearranged things ” we said. “Oh you mean my million dollar expansion?” said he.  It’s looking good and in Pete customer service style they were pouring us a glass of wine to sample the moment we entered.  Lunch and the view were perfect.


After lunch we went to Medford to walk on the ocean floor.  The eroded and perforated rock felt like a Dr Seuss landscape. The lower valley has such a visually rich landscape we seem unable to know how to take it all in.



Then to our botanical garden of native plants, the Harriet Irving Garden at Acadia.  Even if you are not a fan of native plants the cultural sections demonstrate what quality materials and design can do.

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And another sampler from the gardens: one of the best contemporary walls in the province made by Scottish masons, a colourful beech, and a family of phallic felt figures in the woods.

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At the Kentville Research Station the rhododendrons are building to their big performance – this specimen, developed at the station,  is perhaps 30 feet tall.  And the big red barn was looking pretty good too.

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Our final stop was to look at the the private plant collection of our guide.  The DIY folks might enjoy this little wall mounted planting of succulents.

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A full day  with perfect conditions.  Although we had expert guidance the experience was really about good company and embracing the pleasure of attractive surroundings.




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.