02 April 2016

Spring is springing in Nova Scotia!

So I missed a blog post earlier this week, but with good reason--we're getting ready for our 12th Saltscapes Expo, April 22-24 at Halifax Exhibition Centre (the former Exhibition Park), and to say we are busy is an understatement. We're also busy getting the magazine ready to go to press. For those who have never been to an Expo, it's kind of like the magazine comes to life at the Park. Here's a short video to explain it a little. 

For more information, tickets, etc, you can check our our website.  

I'll have more to say about Expo probably next week, (a teaser about my seminars at the show, but now, let's get back to plants. I've mentioned before that we've had a relatively sensible winter, and we've had some very mild spells. So it's beginning--spring is unfolding slowly outside. If you go inside greenhouses, like I did today, it's unfolding a little more quickly. Let's take a peek indoors and out! 

 I took today off from fact-checking, copy editing, social media work, newsletter writing...in fact, I took off, first for West Pubnico and Ouest-ville Perennials, my friend Alice d'Entremont's wonderful nursery. As soon as I got there, spring greeted me (even more quickly than did Alice and her cats!). The first thing I saw was the quilt of spring bulbs, primarily snowdrops and crocuses, in the front yard.

 This Corkscrew Hazel (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') is in full glorious catkin production. I noticed some trees alongside the road earlier today also in catkin, probably poplars. Hurray for spring!

One of the hellebore species, I think the so-called stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), and so-called because the flowers can be fragrant, but the foliage smells pretty skunky when it gets crushed. We can deal with that with such striking flowers. 

In Alice's rock garden, a cluster of dwarf iris (probably I. reticulata) are guarded by a stone cat (as opposed to the real ones who live there).

I confess to a small bit of winter-aconite-envy, as I have never been particularly successful in getting these to grow for me. Alice has the right idea--she has them planted in her rock garden, where they get good drainage. Note to self for this fall...try, try again. They are such dainty little bulbs and so cheerily yellow. It was raining today but I didn't care--I was just happy to be out among plants! 

Several years ago, the Nova Scotia Rock Garden Club had Pam Eveleigh of Primula World for workshops and presentations.  Some of us came away completely smitten with primula, and those of us who attended her workshops also came away with plants and seeds. Alice has propagated quite a few of them, including the gorgeous yellow auricula...

And this species, which I bought but which is still out in the car and it's raining too hard for me to go back out there tonight! 

And another auricula primula. These three all came home with me (they insisted--but in my defence, I will use them at Expo in a couple weeks time.) There were a bunch of other plants that followed me home because I also stopped to see my friend Jill Covill at Bunchberry Nurseries in Upper Clements, but those will have to wait for the next post. 


  1. What, no April Fool's post? Still enjoying the recollection of the blue-flowering plants from several years ago....

  2. Spring yesterday.

    Winter's back today ...

    Your images are a real tonic.

  3. Your spring looks very much like mine in Columbus Ohio. I really do need to get myself some "real" primroses, instead of relying only on the grocery store versions. They do return and grow for me, but they aren't quite as stunning as those with the raised blossoms.

  4. I hope your spring is still springing and that Nova Scotia managed to miss the blast of snow and extreme cold that has knocked us back to winter this week. -Jean

  5. I am not quite the avid succulent gardener that you are, but I am a fan.


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