17 May 2011

Here, there, and back again

The merry month of May has been not so merry if you're a nursery operator or a gardener here in Nova Scotia, because the weather has been, to say the least, terrible. Rain, fog, drizzle, repeat as necessary, very little sunshine to speak of, and chilly temperatures have meant that a lot of people haven't been able or willing to work in their gardens.
For this gardener and writer, however, it has been hectic, regardless of the weather. I've put a lot of miles on my car, and brought home a lot of plants from assorted nurseries, doing my part to improve the provincial economy. I've been giving talks and signing books at assorted locales, and visiting gardens whenever I have a chance. This garden outside of Annapolis Royal features a wonder selection of conifers and flowering shrubs and trees, with some bulbs and perennials interspersed for added colour.

There are lots of plants tempting me when I venture into nurseries around the province. At Briar Patch in Berwick, the golden flowers of 'Canary Feathers' corydalis tempted me, as did 'Peppermint Ice' double hellebore, shown in the first photo. One can never have too many corydalises. Or hellebores.
The exquisite 'Nancy Steele' rhododendron was in bloom at Ouest-ville Perennials, but I have the same one and it will be blooming soon. This yellow rhodo was bred by our friend, the late and much beloved Captain Dick Steele of Bayport Plant Farm, and named after his wife.
I've been wanting a double flowered bloodroot (Sanguinaria) for several years, and finally, thanks to Jill at Bunchberry Nurseries, I got a very handsome specimen. Jill has her website back up and running, and is doing a wonderful Plant of the Week post featuring a different specimen each week to whet our appetites.

This weekend, I was at a friend's garden outside of Yarmouth, for her 'primrose tour'. Leah has an extensive, joyful garden with many different beds, and her primroses were most definitely at the peak of perfection.
It's been a particularly good year for magnolia bloom around the province, leading me to think I should add a 'Leonard Messill' to my collection of plants. My Stellata is in full bloom, and I think it needs a friend.
Although the sun has been rarer than blue poppies this month, it did appear in southwest Nova Scotia on Friday afternoon and evening, bathing my friend Flora's back garden in brilliant warmth and light.
It always delights me to no end to find people who love epimedium as much as I do, and this specimen of 'Rubra' is doing splendidly in this woodland planting, scrambling up over stones and sending sprays of blooms everywhere.

I keep telling everyone that because I'm so busy, it's okay with me that it's raining as I'm not home or have no time when I'm home to do anything in the garden. However, I keep bringing home more plants, and the greenhouse is now full, so although I'm looking forward to the visits I'm making this week, including one at Den Haan's Nursery in Middleton on Saturday from 10am-1 pm, I will be glad to be able to get in the garden and do some weeding, planting, and regrounding myself. Plus, to be honest, I'm worried about our farmers, nursery owners, and others whose living is weather dependent. So I hope the weather breaks soon! 


  1. This a wonderful post! I love it all... the primulas are great and a favorite of mine... would love to do that tour! It's interesting that just a few minutes ago I came across a double hellebore in my garden that I hadn't seen before and I thought to myself that I needed to get a photo. I then came in to the computer and saw the one you have at the top of this post... it's extremely similar and now I don't have to take a picture... I can just look at yours! Have a great day... Larry

  2. We're having the same yucky weather here in Minnesota. I can't believe it's already mid-May... I feel so far behind! We've had frost the past few nights and I've been lugging plants in and out. (At least I'm getting my exercise!) These pictures are beautiful!


  3. Looks like the sun is struggling to make an appearance right now!

  4. Hello, my name is Ingrid Andrea from Norway. I found this blog by coincidence. I enjoy your blog. I find it interesting to read about atlantic gardens. Lovely pictures too.

    Ingrid Andrea

  5. Hello, it's me again...I forgot to say I added my self as a follower, hope it's Ok!

    Ingrid Andrea

  6. Jodi, we have had similar weather. UGH.. I too have been quite busy. I have to say I haven't bought the number of plants that I might have if this darned weather had been better though. Your first photo here looks like a watercolor painting. Glad to hear you are busy and happy.

  7. Jodi:
    Its been a most auspicious of beginnings to the gardening season, and here things are going from sopping to downright soggy. Great for transplanting, but its only the truly committed gardeners like yourself who brave the downpours to look for new and interesting plants, and you've highlighted some delightful specimens.

    Be careful with C. 'Canary Feathers' as its borderline Z6-7 at best, but will flower from now until October! If you can find C. 'Blue Heron' you simply must try it.... electric blue flowers!

    I am wishing you lived closer so you could come and spend a day at LittleTree, your company would be wonderful.... thanks for supporting your local indies.... we are here because of thoughtful gardeners like yourself!

  8. My business partner, the nursery owner, planted trees later than ever before. The weather has been brutal on farmers in our area. Rain and cold have been with us for over a week. I guess when it is 90° and dry I will be wishing for this weather.

    Things look pretty good at your place. Plenty of pretty flowers. Our rhodies are not blooming yet either. But the magnolias are doing great like yours.

  9. Every year I say I want to add Epimedium to the garden, but I always put it off. It's beautiful in your garden! If I can think of a good spot I will jump at the chance to add it!

  10. After all that winter weather you get a grotty spring.

    After all that work writing you'll be spending all your profits when visiting garden centres.


  11. Yes, we've been having yech weather in Eastern Ontario too. The upside is, the Trilliums are fabulous and the Daffodils just don't know when to quit. They've been the best I have ever had this year!

  12. Goodness that's a lot of plants to get in the ground! Hopefully the weather will cooperate so you can get outside and enjoy your garden. I've been dashing out here and there weather permitting trying to get a job or two done. I'm getting there but definitely behind schedule.

  13. if only we can exchange some weather and climate then everybody will be happy. What bores you to death there will give us a lot of comfort in these very hot and dry climate we have now. We are at the height of our dry season. But i still love your work, how people love things they dont have! haha. happy touring.

  14. Epimedium, hellbore, bloodroot, some of my favorite perennials (among hundreds). I am starting to collect epimediun, and I can't seem to let a helleborus seedling go uncultivated. This spring I bought a shipment of 'Amber Queen' Epimedium to sell, but knowing me I will end up planting them in my garden :P
    Prayers to all our Maritime farmers and their families.

  15. In spite of our dismal spring (the pits of my memory), an exceptional year for magnolias here too, Jodi. Thank you for the beautiful parade of posted May beauties. Without a greenhouse, my stash of tender annuals is hiding out for dear life in the garage. Sun is predicted for tomorrow ... but I will believe it when I see it!

  16. I'm sorry to read that the weather has not been good in NS. Here it's been very good, too good in fact. Summer in spring, who knew?

    But it's good to see you are out and about making the best of the situation when you can. Let's hope there will be more sunshine for NS soon.

    Yolanda XXX

  17. We have had a week of drizzle, mist and fog with a few early nice days here and there. I do love gardening in the mist as long as it is over fifty. It will come when you least expect it and then the garden chores will bring sweat to your brow. Keep cool.

  18. Seems we are all suffering from bad weather. Here in Red Der Alberta it snowed today! Jeez.... right after a spent every night last week putting in annuals!

  19. First time to visit here! Nice blog! Is that Helleborus? So beautiful..! You have some Magnolias, How north you can grow them in Eastern Canada? Or Do you just have so maritimal climate?
    (The climate we have in Finland should be close to East-Canadian climate, but you can try only few Magnolia species in southern Finland.
    K / http://murattipuutarha.blogspot.com/


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