27 August 2007

Aggies Once, Aggies Twice....

I was supposed to be a veterinarian.

It's true. The plan was to go do two years of pre-veterinary (the first two years of a B.Sc.in Agriculture) at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (also known as NSAC), then be off to Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph. I had scholarships, was really good in biology and a few other subjects, and thought it was all going to be just as planned.

Well. Things don't always work out as planned, do they? I hit an obstacle called Calculus. It might as well have been Russian. Heck, I would have done better in Russian, no doubt. After failing to grasp the concepts of calculus not once, but twice, I conceded defeat, and switched to plant science.

It's probably just as well. I would have ended up bankrupt but with seven thousand, four hundred and fifty seven cats, a couple of dozen (nice) dogs, eight hundred and twenty three rescued horses, and an iguana or two, no doubt. (No goats, and definitely no miniature horses, though. These things are just annoying.)

So I did plant science, worked in agriculture for a while, did some other stuff, got married, had child, blah blah blah muffin, then went to Acadia just because it was nearby. Collected two degrees from there in English, and somehow along the way started writing in earnest. And getting paid for it. Oh, and of course gardening my butt off. The rest, as they say, is history. I'm still proud to be an Aggie--and still remember our absurd (and rude) cheer.

Click on all photos to enlarge for detail and colour)
Yesterday being gardeners mental health day, we headed off on a little road trip, and since we hadn't been to Truro in a while, went to AC to check out the gardens there. First we went to the Alumni gardens for a look around. The college colours are blue and gold and while that bed IS winding down, there were still some late-summer blue-and-gold flowers happening. I love the big round courtyard, with bandstand/gazebo, and the long sprawling bed of perennials beside it.

In the blue-and-gold border, we found Inula that impressed even us. We have it here, and it has grown to about 6 feet but with some shade. Here's what it does in full sun! My long-suffering spouse is six feet tall. The inula is somewhat taller than he is.

There's a lovely quad garden with four separate sections, and a lot of herbs, some clipped box and evergreens and lavender; and this amazing woven fence. They've obviously just replaced it as there's a pile of saplins laying nearby.

One of the conifers I don't yet have (one of many, but one I really want) is the Korean Fir. It's a beautiful thing all year long, and then there are its cones, which are shades of purple and blue.

This was growing alongside the big pergola in the upper part of the Alumni Gardens. I've never seen it before--anyone know what it is? (this is obviously my week of mystery plants.)

Across the road, we went to the NSAC Rock Garden. Completed last summer after about 4 years of work, it's my favourite garden in the province (even more than my own). There are gazillions of choice plants there and you know what? I don't know what a lot of them are! And that's delightfully exciting, because it just means that there are all kinds of things that I can still try here in my own garden--when I have room, of course!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I love conifers, and here's a good reason why. A collection of lovely healthy trees and shrubs in a range of colours and textures. Some of these were already here when Dr. Bernard Jackson (who was formerly at MUN Botanical Garden in Newfoundland) began his labour of love along with the Friends of the Garden and help from the hort. crew and students at AC. I forget how many tons of rock were brought in and how much earth was moved to create this--but it's a masterpiece and worth a trip to Truro anytime you're in the mood.

This is part one of my postings on AC; because there are so many photos to show, and I have to dig up some from earlier in the season to further colour things for you all. What I really love is the contrasting sizes and shapes and textures. We have huge, mature hardwoods and conifers, then there are trough gardens with loonie- and nickel-sized plants some sort of alpine/succulent, and I don't know what it is--but I love the textures here!

I got very excited when I saw this shrub--it's a witch hazel, Hamamelis, and I don't know if it's a cultivar or the native--BECAUSE SOME IDIOTS KEEP STEALING THE NAMETAGS FROM PLANTS IN A PUBLIC GARDEN!!!--yes, that was a mini rant. Whew. Anyway, I went home and looked at MY Hamamelis and told it I hoped it was planning to turn such marvelous colours too. I am assuming this is a countdown to autumn foliage change. We all know it's coming....

Part two after I finish another deadline that's urgent.....


  1. I'm an "aggie", too, but from Purude University in Indiana. My plan was to major in horticulture, which I did, then I went into another unrelated career. Who knows, though, someday, I might get back to my roots! In the meantime, I garden as much as I can.

    Beautiful gardens, by the way, lots of interesting plants. You make me want to go back and see my old college stomping grounds.

    Proud to have graduated from an agricultural school,

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. Another Aggie of sorts here! Love the gardens and your picture of your LSS with the inula. Just planted a conifer garden and love the pictures of these! Waiting for the next installment!

  3. Jodi,

    I was happy to see that you were off visiting gardens and having a respite from your own! I had no inkling that you were once planning to be a vet. That should really come as no surprise, especially when I have a peek every time I'm here, of your cat family.

    The Inula is impressive and I love the colour of the witch hazel.

    Now that is plain irritating - that people steal plant tags in public gardens.

    I'd like to visit this gardne some day!

  4. Calculus has tripped up many a student of engineering, my hubby's discipline, as well. Just wish he knew more about gardening !

    The gardens were beautiful, especially the Korean fir which according to Dr. Michael Dirr of Hardy Tree and Shrub fame is the finest in the world. Pricey, too.

    I think that the blue plant near the pergola might be a clematis vine .

  5. How interesting... I wish I was as smart as you and Carol. I was derailed by Calculus, too, but as part of my engineering classes--plans were to be a civil/environmental engineer. For some reason, instead of switching to bio or environmental science I decided to become a marketing major. Man was I dumb at 18... lol.

    I can't shake the thought that your mystery plant is a type of shrubby clematis. There are a couple of species of shrubby ones, but the only one I can come up with is clematis integrifolia--you may want to google that to start out.

  6. Don't get me started on stolen plant tags!... I think your mystery plant (like others thought ahead of me) is a Clematis and my guess is heracleifolia. -- What a beautiful garden, by the way!

  7. The Hubster looks like he's having
    a little too much fun

    LOL marci

  8. Hi all, and welcome to bloomingwriter!
    Carol, the thing about being an Aggie (whatever discipline) is that even if we don't work in that field, we're always drawing on the knowledge--plus we're connected with all kinds of Aggies elsewhere!
    Layanee, aren't conifers habit-forming? I just can't help myself--and in the winter they really show their stuff.
    Kate, yup a little respite is always good; and I'm hoping there's a special 'bad place' for people who steal plant tags from public parks.
    Carolyn Gail and Kim...when I am emporer of the world I will abolish calculus, along with goutweed, vinyl siding (on old houses especially) and foods produced in China and sold here. (sorry, that's a rant for another day---been working on a 'buy local' story.
    and all of you are correct--that IS C. heracleifolia. Thanks to all of you for putting me on the right track--interestingly there were other clematis nearby, including different species that I recognized-but I've never seen this one before, not grown. Add this to my WANT list. :-)
    Marci, my longsuffering spouse is a clown--but he hates havin his photo taken and either he looks serious or else he has his tongue sticking out. It's a longrunning joke (along with the longsuffering spouse title, which I use in my garden columns).

  9. I'd vote for you on that platform, Jodi! :) Not just vinyl siding, though--even those new vinyl fences should be banished IMHO.

    Thanks to Kris at Blithewold for the exact ID on that shrubby clematis. I'd never heard of c. heracleifolia but now it's on my "want list," too.

  10. Down here calling yourself an Aggie means Texas A & M University... and many times has to do with a football game between that school and the University of Texas. I like your more universal use of this term!

    Jodi, there's something even worse than someone stealing the nametags - at one garden I was told that the staff no longer uses labels for many plants. Educated thieves used the internet to research valuable specimens and the nametags were helping them know which plants to steal.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    PS Your longsuffering spouse is a good sport!

  11. Reacting to Annie's last comment... How could a true gardener ever steal plants from a public garden?! That's terrible! A true gardener wouldn't steal the plants and wouldn't buy from someone who might have stolen the plants in the first place.

  12. Hi Jodi
    Just wondered if the mystery purple flower might be Comfrey.
    The Wattle fence at NSAC was built this past summer by the Master Gardener Summer School students. It was great fun and worked very well.
    Lovely photos!

    Sue Stuart


Thank you for visiting and for taking the time to comment! It might take me a bit, but I will return the compliment whenever possible.
Spammers--need not apply. Because I delete your comments and they will never make it here. Kthxbai!

Search Bloomingwriter

Custom Search