19 June 2011

Catching up, with an Invitation

It's been quite a while since I posted here, but I think the reasoning is pretty obvious to most fellow gardeners. June in Nova Scotia has been almost as cranky as May was, weather-speaking, and we have to garden when the sun shines, so to speak. Since I decided to increase the size of some of my beds this year, it's meant a lot of extra work, often during less than pleasant gardening weather--either too cold, too hot, or too wet!
As many of my readers know, I've felt a bit like Hank Williams lately..."I've been everywhere"...while on my book promotion tour and the garden club speaking circuit. I'd like to extend yet another bouquet of thanks and appreciation to all those who have come out to the various events, bought books, swapped stories, and been just the fantastic gardening buddies that you all are. It's been a hectic, rewarding spring and I'm honoured by all your support and friendship.

Now it's my turn to give back, or in this case, pay it forward.
My friend Captain Dick Steele passed away in March of 2010, to the sorrow of many, many friends and fellow plant aficionados. Captain Steele was fondly known as Mr. Rhododendron for his passion for these handsome landscape plants, and he spent many years breeding hardy varieties for our climate. Dick was a founding member of the Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Society, and there has been a scholarship endowment set up in his name at my alma mater, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.
Being a self-employed writer and sorta-photographer, I'm not exactly what you'd call well off. However, I do have a rather large and rambunctious garden, which is ever-expanding because I test so many plants here. I have no idea just exactly how many plants we have in the numerous beds around the property--I should count them but it might scare me! Especially as there are about 50 still waiting to be planted. And that doesn't include the annuals in containers.
So what I'm doing to help raise awareness and funds for the Captain Steele Endowment is holding an Open Garden weekend at our property on July 1, 2, & 3, 11 am-5 pm daily. Admission will be by free-will donation, with all proceeds going to the Endowment fund. I'll have some milkweed plants to give away courtesy of my friend Rob Baldwin's nursery, some of my own plants for a free-will donation, and some books for sale, too.
Yes, that's a puddle from the monsoon we had last night and this morning. Gardening here can be entertaining...
I've stressed before: our property is not the perfect sort of display you'll see at a public garden, or at someone's property that has landscapers designing and/or maintaining it. We do everything here ourselves, and as I noted above, I test a lot of things here to see how they'll do, including plants from Proven Winners, from local nurseries such as Baldwin's and Bunchberry Nurseries. But it's a happy, lush garden, with a lot of focus on pollinator-friendly plants, handsome foliage plants, winter interest, native plants...something for pretty much everyone.
The weather here in Scotts Bay can be highly capricious. Today, for example, we had a bombastic thunderstorm roll through with heavy rain and a bit of hail; then it partially cleared, was sunny in the front yard while more moody clouds rolled up the Bay of Fundy. So while it might be hot and sunny in Halifax--or down in Canning, or two miles up the road--during the July 1st weekend, we're never sure what it might be like here, so please bring foul weather gear if coming to visit that weekend.
For a few more details, including how to get here, please check out the dedicated page here on our Open Garden weekend. I'll relink to it if I do more posts before July 1st, but given the pile of work still needing doing here...there might not be another post til after that! So if you're interested in seeing what it's like to garden on the Bay of Fundy, and contribute to a great cause...we'll look forward to seeing you!

03 June 2011

Catching up with some great catches

Well, I'm baaaccckkk! Vast improvements in the weather coupled with a need for a bit of a break have kept me in the gardens and away from the blog, but today is cool and showery, a great day to do a little catching up. I've been roaming around the province, doing book events plus of course checking out nurseries; I haven't been to all my favourites yet this year, but have certainly visited those in the Valley and part of the south shore. With the book-travel winding up soon, there will be more time for just relaxing travel to gardens and nurseries.

Before I go on about some of the great plants blooming here, a couple of interesting housekeeping tidbits for those who visit Facebook and nursery websites:

Baldwin's Nurseries now has a Facebook page, and I hope people will visit and 'Like' it.
Glad Gardens has a new website as well as a Facebook page. I think these pages on Facebook are extremely useful for keeping people current quickly.
The Friends of the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens are holding their Native Plant sale tomorrow from 9 am til noon at the gardens. The gardens are at Acadia University in Wolfville. Baldwin's Nurseries, Bunchberry Nurseries and I will all be there, and the Friends are selling a host of native species great for home gardening.

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