10 July 2007

potpourri again

Since we were in the area last week, after we left Catherine’s place, we dropped into Rob Baldwin’s because my Long Suffering Spouse hadn’t been there before. He was of course enchanted by all the blue spruces and other trees, and also Rob’s tractor collection. I was more interested in the coneflowers, and it seems that they are now arbitrarily mutating themselves. How do you like this one?

Rob drew our attention to a collection of beetles that were hanging out in the wild vetch and daisies, seemingly having a beetle-orgy. None of us have ever seen these before, but we also are not entomologists. Any one know what this beetle is? The females are about an inch long, bigger than the males, and metallic green with red and black legs.

Simon Q and Mungus always like to help unpack the groceries. Yes, the bags are en francais—we belong to Co-op Atlantic’s local store and all the bags are bilingual—but the cats are only interested in finding the kitty treats, in any language.

Saturday I headed off to Truro, River John, and Wallace Ridge. In Truro I stopped at the farmer’s market just at the same time as a substantial thunderstorm rolled in. Had a great visit with Lloyd Mapplebeck of Hillendale Perennials, and picked up a couple terrific plants: a double-blossomed tradescantia, a pink flowered catmint, ‘Candy Cat’ and a species goatsbeard with very fine cutleaf foliage. Then it was off to River John and a visit to Beach Lane Lavender’s second annual lavender festival.
Naturally, lavender farmers also have wonderful gardens--everything in full bloom too, from the flowering shrubs to the perennials.
Although the cool weather has meant bloomtime is about a week late, plenty of people turned out to enjoy music, walk the lavender field and pick bunches of lavender, enjoy a nice range of foods, and oh yes, buy some of the fabulous lavender products that Dave and Anita manufacture. My personal favourites are the hand cream, exfoliant scrub, milk bath, floral spray, and well, okay, just about everything else they make.

I’ve wanted to visit Thyme and Place Nursery in Wallace Ridge since I found out about the new business a few months ago. Saturday was the day to visit, and I’m glad I did. I got to meet the owners, Sonia and Allan, who moved to Canada from Britain last year and opened their business about a month later. They’re on the lovely Sunrise Trail, and not far from Jost Vineyards, as well as the communities of Pugwash and Tatamagouche, and their home is actually on a hill with the best view around. Their nursery includes a good range of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees, (look at these gorgeous heathers!) as well as a unique and varied gift shop.

What really tickled me was the way Sonia was growing vegetables right in bags of potting medium. She told me this is a typical British way of doing veg gardening…in the greenhouse. She uses Jolly Farmer potting soil, from an organic company in New Brunswick, and the quality of the soil is obvious from the very happy tomatoes and salad greens she’s growing. Now that’s a way to avoid weeds, a lot of pests…I can see myself trying this too—in fact if the weather stays cool, I just might seed some mesclun mix in the greenhouse for myself!
I wish Sonia and Allan all the best—they’re being well supported by local customers, and they’re wonderfully helpful—as usual, I wish this nursery was a little closer to my home, but hey…visiting them again is a perfect excuse to go back to this lovely part of the province.

I mentioned that the weather here continues cool—and although I ended up in two thunderstorms on Saturday, we haven’t had any rain to speak of here. Not even the fog is coming with as much regularity as it usually does. I can tell because one of my explorer roses, Martin Frobisher, generally turns to balls of soggy Kleenex-like petals when it’s wet, and so far, he’s looking great. The garden is thriving, all in all, including the weeds…

But happily when I am out weeding or doing other garden activities—sometimes just walking around smelling the awesome fragrances—I always have my friend Tigger to supervise my efforts.


  1. You do take us to the nicest places, Jodi! Just saying the word 'tractor collection' should mean a path beaten to the door, shouldn't it?

    The lavender looks great - I love it and keep planting it, but have been able to keep only one plant alive.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. That coneflower in the first photo is wonderful!

    I think my version of heaven would be a lavender farm, and the one you visited is absolutely gorgeous.

    I don't know what those beetles are, but they certainly do seem to be enjoying themselves :-)

  3. Ah lavender fields forever ... what a lovely day that must have been.

    Cats seem to have a special affinity for plastic grocery bags.

    However do you keep track of all the plants you bring home from your nursery expeditions?

    Now that is a neat trick for growing veggies. I've never seen that before.

  4. Hi there, enjoyed the trip and the purchases! Munghus looks like he dipped his nose in peanut butter!

    Interesting coneflower and I love the Geranium. Is that 'Midnight Reiter'? I love the foliage and the flowers on that one!

  5. Annie:
    I would think that lavender would love your hot climate. The secret is to not overfertilize it, and not overwater it either. It doesn't like wet soil but we've finally got it in some well-drained spots and its thriving.
    Colleen: Yes, lavender is divine--we have only a dozen or so plants, so we're a heaven in progress ;-)
    Kate: Ummmm...I'm a little disorganized about tracking what I got where. I try to write it all down but sometimes that doesn't happen.
    Layanee: The dark geranium is Okey Dokey. I love it whether its in flower or not.

  6. I was going to guess (hope) it was 'Midnight Reiter' as well... I just bought two of those at our local garden center because someone had put them on clearance after they were done flowering. (Not really smart of them, but lucky for me!) I love the way you sited them amongst the yellow foliage as well to set them off--nicely done, as usual. :)

  7. Hey Jodi,

    I just saw your comment on my blog entry on the echinacea in my garden that looks odd. Do you have happen to have photos of what your friend's plants looked like?

  8. Great minds ... I was thinking to myself just the other day that what I really need is a big planting of lavender. And here you are with a link to a Nova Scotia lavender farm. Thanks as always!
    PS: That coneflower really IS remarkable.


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