Rare and Unusual in Annapolis Royal

Recently I wrote a blog about the charms of Annapolis Royal.  Some of you would be interested in what brought us to this tiny perfect town because it demonstrates how thoughtfully planned events can help our local economies.

We are home gardeners and have been aware that for the past few years the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale has happened in Annapolis Royal. This was our first opportunity to attend.

Annapolis Royal is about 2.5 hours from Halifax,  if you are not stopping along the way.  We went directly on Saturday morning to be able to sample the wonderful outdoor market, that has thrived for decades.

In several Nova Scotia towns, local champions have encouraged growing signature plants. Liverpool has had a very successful program of planting  dogwoods that flower around the beginning of July. Folks in Annapolis Royal have been specializing in magnolias and their efforts were in full splendour for our visit.  Here is a group in front of the Court House (feels a bit like Charleston SC).


In the afternoon we attended a garden seminar where three speakers presented on special plants that can be grown in our region. There were about 50 of us in the Anglican church hall. Many of us had travelled to attend and stayed overnight in town.  After the session there was a reception at elegant Hillsdale House Inn where members of the gardening community from around the province chatted about winter damage.


And a chance to stand in the garden with a glass of wine and admire magnolias and a small, perfect, garden shed.

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The plant sale was Sunday afternoon in the Market Square. One of the organizers told me there were 400 people in the first half hour.


A number of specialist growers, who would not normally be selling to the public, had booths. I was particularly interested in a major grower of rock garden plants who has recently moved his nursery from Ontario to St  Andrews, New Brunswick.


So with a little strategic planning the organizers of the event were able to get quite a few folks to stay overnight in various B&Bs and to eat at local restaurants. The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is already the best all-round horticultural garden in the province and events like the sale help to expand the garden brand.

A sunny afternoon walking down beautiful streets, among the magnificent magnolias; it doesn’t get much better than that. Tell your friends.

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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.