Canada 150 – #20 – Red & White

We were fortunate to have our “red & white” tulip display peak just in time for our 2017 Season Kickoff weekend, so lots of people were around to enjoy them. This display was planted in the fall after the donation from Veseys Seeds of 1000 tulips to the Gardens to honour Canada’s 150th.

This photo also carried a Mother’s Day theme, with a young girl accompanied by her Grandmother and Great-Grandmother.

Even though this photo has already made the rounds on Facebook, as a promotional tool, it seemed appropriate fodder for my Canada 150 collection so I am posting it once again for that reason.


Canada 150 – #11 – Of Witching and Witch Hazels…

Canada 150 - #11 - Of Witching and Witch Hazels.

Funny where a photo can take you sometimes. I started with the mindset of snagging a pretty picture, so headed out to see how the Witch Hazels were blooming. Which of course led me to consider what, if any, Canadian connection there might be. Which led me from our hybrids to the native witch hazels, which predictably (or not so much) led me to the always popular topic of water divining. Still with me?

Let me start again. Here we have a photograph of one of the Witch Hazels in the Gardens. These Hamamelis x intermedia hybrids are crosses between Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica) and Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis). Their job is to bloom in the winter, and for that alone they deserve an A+, right?

There is another Witch Hazel – H. virginiana – which is native to Nova Scotia among other places. You can see this in the woods in the more southern parts of the Province. It is rumoured that Point Pleasant Park is home to a number as well. It is a fall bloomer, rather than a winter one like the hybrids.

It also turns out that Witch Hazels were a common tree for use when witching for water, an art that has a long heritage in Nova Scotia. In fact, there are still many people who have the gift, and can find water with nothing but a Y-shaped twig, or a pair of coat hangers. It is very cool to watch… and to try!

So my quest for colour took me to an old rural tradition… and as always, I learned a couple things along the way. Oh yes, and in case you were wondering… the name Witch Hazel, they say, has nothing to do with witching/divining/dowsing for water. According to an article written by David Patriquin published in the Herald, “witch” is apparently derived from the Anglo Saxon “wych”, meaning bending or pliable (referring to the stems). “Hazel” refers to its hazel-like leaves. Actually, the article is an interesting read:

The Witch Hazel shown at the top is ‘Pallida’. And below, as a bonus shot, is ‘Jelena’. What a great plant!



Canada 150 – #8 – Squirrel Nutkin.

Canada 150 - #8 - Squirrel Nutkin.

You may ask – what does this little character have to do with Canada 150? I am soooo glad you asked!  There are two ties, one obvious and the other not so much. Let me tell you about them.

The obvious: the Eastern Grey Squirrel is native to Eastern North America, and as such we are quite accustomed to seeing them here in southwest Nova Scotia. They have become increasingly domesticated in recent years and thus are even more evident. Their antics are a frequent source of entertainment in the Gardens, although often a source of frustration for our gardeners.

The not-so-obvious: Beatrix Potter, author of Squirrel Nutkin, would be 150 if she were still alive. She was born July 28, 1866, shortly before the confederation we are now celebrating. How’s that for a piece of useless trivia?

Canada 150 – #6 – Safe & Sound.

Canada 150 - #6 - Safe & Sound.

One of the things I appreciate most about living here is the relative safety. You can walk at night, leave your car unlocked, probably even leave your house unlocked although that is tempting fate.

Heck, you can even forget your well-loved teddy bear next to the fire at the Winter Market and know that he will be safe & sound and well cared for until you are able to retrieve him.

(Speaking of which, I suspect there is a child missing his/her little friend… and certainly this little guy is missing his family. If he belongs to your family, please give us a call! He is indeed safe & sound!)


Project 366 – Day 30 – Winter Wonderland

Project 366 - Day 30 - Winter Wonderland

In keeping with the popular theme today… my contribution. The Gardens were phenomenal this morning. 200 photos later I am still winnowing, but this shot seems representative.

Jan 30, 2016

Project 366 – Day 28 – Winter Blossom.

Project 366 - Day 28 - Winter Blossom.

The Witch Hazels were enjoying this sunny afternoon as much as I was!

Project 366 – Day 19 – Panoramic Play.

Project 366 - Day 19 - Panoramic Play.

Part of the point of a 365 project is to play, learn new tricks, push outside of your normal zone. So I decided to play with my panorama setting on my phone, in the snow-covered Gardens Courtyard.

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