Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Home again, home again jiggity jig

A birdhouse in my friend Donna's garden

I had a wonderful time in Nova Scotia. 

My Mom is 90, soon to be 91, and my Dad is a couple years younger. They don't get out of the house much these days, so on our first day home, my sister Nancy and I took them on a little picnic. Then on Tuesday, we went to see one of my Mom's favourite gardens in the nearby city of Truro. 

Mid-week my two sisters and I rented a car and drove from Halifax to Annapolis Royal on the Bay of Fundy for a little mini vacation.

The trip is about a two and a half hour drive, but we made lots of stops along the way, so our journey took most of the day.

Mid-day we stopped in the pretty town of Wolfville for a lunch. 

In the afternoon, we visited The Tangled Garden. This is a working garden where herbs, local fruit and berries are transformed into a range of jams and jellies that are sold at craft markets, online and in the garden's store. 

The Tangled Garden shop on the left, and on the right, a collection of the store's jams and jellies 

The herb Borage

Much of the garden is devoted to herbs which are picked fresh daily. 

The jams and jellies are made the old fashioned way in small batches- six jars at a time.

The grey foliage is Artemesia Silver King, the white flowers are Daisy Fleabane (a wildflower) the pink daisy is Echinacea and there is blue Sea Holly in the background.

The garden itself is really interesting. The planting style ranges from more formal raised beds (vegetables) to a very loose, almost wild style, where wildflowers mingle in with with standard perennials. In an open field, there is a modern take on a labyrinth, and the picture above is from the walk I took along a dry stream bed.

When I get myself more organized, I promise to come back and show you the garden in more detail.  For now, I will give you this sneak preview.

A display of fresh and dried flowers in the Tangled Garden Shop

A side view of the Tangled Garden Shop

The boardwalk along the Annapolis Basin

Our next stop was Annapolis Royal

This is another pretty little town and popular tourist destination. Port Royal across the Annapolis Basin was one of the earliest European settlements in North America. 

A wharf in the town of Annapolis Royal

Clothes drying in the breeze off the ocean

Tiger lilies in a private garden.

A ship in dry dock near the wharf in Annapolis Royal.

The Bread and Roses Inn a bed & breakfast in Annapolis Royal

Many of the town's old mansions have been turned into bed and breakfast inns. My sisters and I stayed in the Bread and Roses Country Inn

The house had grand rooms with 10' ceilings on the main floor and elaborate Art Nouveau woodwork. There were gardens both at the front and back of the house.

Roses along the fence at the Bread and Roses Inn

The front courtyard garden at the Bread and Roses Inn.

Do flowers get any sunnier?

The Historic Garden in Annapolis Royal.

On Thursday morning we went to visit Annapolis Royal's Historic Gardens. My sisters are not as interested in gardening as I am, so I didn't get to see all of the garden's 17 acres, but I did get to see enough to assure you that this garden that is well worth a visit.

Again, I will show you the garden in more detail when I get my pictures organized. For now, I will give you another preview.

Close-up of the plantings in the Victorian Garden.

Wild Bergamont or Monarda fistulosa

I loved the drama of this area of the garden.

Daylily, Hemerocallis 'Canadian Goose'

Daylily, Hemerocallis 'Canadian Goose' is a deep red daylily with a gold colored throat. Full sun or very light shade. Height: 60-90 cm ( 24-36 inches) USDA Zones: 3-9.

Daisy Fleabane (a wildflower) with Rudbeckia in behind.

A private garden along the Annapolis Basin.

All along the way I saw so many terrific private gardens! While we have many superb private gardens here in Ontario, the Martimes may just have us beat.

Another little teaser: the garden above is one we did stop for. The house was a striking shade of navy and the garden was filled with a mix of lavender and heather. I'll show you this garden in more detail very shortly.

Lawrence Town Beach

What's a visit to Nova Scotia with out a trip to the beach? 

Unfortunately the weather turned overcast and blustery the afternoon we drove out to Lawrence Town Beach.

My brother and my four year old nephew braving the 12 degree water.

 The freezing water and cool breeze didn't stop my brother and 4 year old nephew from taking a dip. 

My sister wore a fleece jacket and I was wearing a sweater as we watched from the sidelines.

Donna's garden

On my final day in Nova Scotia, I sent the morning visiting with my friend Donna. I have shown you her garden in spring. It looks every bit as amazing in August!

This post is getting long, but I will show you just a few of the pictures I took.

Daylily 'Luxury Lace'

This was just the most perfect pale pink daylily.

Monarda 'Marshal's Delight'

The fragrant foliage of Monarda 'Marshal's Delight' is more resistant to powdery mildew than many older varieties of Monarda. Hummingbirds and bees love its pink flowers. Like all Monarda, this plant is a bit of a spreader. Normal, sandy or clay soil all work for this plant.  It prefers soil that is moist. Full sun or part shade. Height: 75-120 cm (29-47 inches), Spread: 60-75 cm (23-29 inches. USDA Zones: 3-9

 Phlox Frans Shubert in Donna's garden

Phlox paniculata 'Frans Shubert' has lilac and cream flowers with a light fragrance. It can be susceptible to powdery mildew, but deep waterings in the morning hours can help prevent this problem. This phlox prefers sandy or clay soil. Full sun or part shade. Height:80-90 cm (31-35 inches), Spread: 60-75 cm (23-29 inches). USDA Zones:3-9.

When it finally came time to say good bye to my parents, my Dad stepped forward and put his arms around me. As I leaned into his embrace, he paused and held onto me for an extra long while. I am sure he wondered if this might be the last time he would ever get to hug me. At 89, you no longer take your days for granted.

Then it was my Mom's turn. Oh, but her body was so so thin and frail in my arms! She's still plenty feisty though. I think she could well out stubborn death for sometime to come. 

My sister Nancy and I are thinking positive. Already there is talk of flying home for Dad's 90th birthday next April.

I leave you with a poppy from my Mom's garden.

On my return, I have come down with a terrible chest cold. 
I promise to catch up and return your visits shortly.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures of gardens. They are all so lovely. I have never been there, but it looks so interesting to visit.
    God Bless your parents - they sound like such wonderful people. You are so lucky to still have them.
    Looking forward to seeing the rest of your wonderful pictures.
    Have a great rest of the week.

  2. !Y sister lives near Halifax, but we've never gone to the valley. After seeing this, I'll be sure to visit the next time I'm down East.
    Feel better!!! Nothing worse than a summer cold.

  3. This was such a lovely post to read and look at. Your photo's are stunning The boardwalk along the Annapolis Basin caught my eye but then so did ALL your wonderful photo's.

    Your parents sound such lovely people. I lost my mum a few years back, but my dad is still going strong at 90 yrs. It is always lovely to see him. Family times are so good - many precious memories.

    I do hope your cold gets better soon.

    All the best Jan

  4. Many thanks for sharing this last trip with all of us! I absolutely love your posts and how these give me ideas for my garden. We just moved to an area that has sun and shade. I know shade, but sun is new to me so it's exciting. Your folks and family seem great. Glad you are going to your Dad's 90th!

    And, now I really want to visit Nova Scotia and follow your footsteps as it all looks so inviting.

    Thanks again for your posts.

  5. I'm so happy for you spending the time with your mom, dad and sisters. What a fun trip! Love the gardens and scenery. Can't wait to see more!

  6. So so many beautiful pictures of your trip it really does look like a lovely place to visit and to live come to that. I love the Tangled Garden looks like just my kind of place. The gardens are beautiful especially Donna's. And the picture of the Rudbeckia certainly brightened up a rather dreary morning here. Glad you enjoyed your time with your parents - every minute is precious as they age. Looking forward to seeing more pictures - hope you feel better soon.

  7. Wonder garden images. Thanks for sharing. Hope you get better quickly!!

  8. I think it was an amazing trip! Spending time with parent, visiting such beautiful places is very uplifting. I miss my parents as they live in Poland, and cherish every opportunity I get to be with them.
    The site you visited looks idyllic and if I only could, i would visit it too.

  9. What lovely gardens you came across, some gorgeous images here, I especially liked your mum's poppy!
    I can imagine how hard it must be for you parting with your parents, but you obviously cherish your time together and how lucky you are to still have them both. It sounds like you had a lovely time, looking forward to seeing and hearing more about the gardens, especially the Tangled garden.
    Look after you and get well

  10. Oh I am so glad you are sharing these views and gardens...just gorgeous.

  11. Jennifer girl I love seeing your pictures from your trip home to N.S.
    Your friend'd garden is so pretty and so interesting !
    My favorite picture of the historical garden is that huge piece of driftwood in the circle of grass ... gorgeous!
    Hope you are feeling better from that cold .. it always seems to be something left over from a trip !

  12. This was a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing all the photos -- and I'm glad you had a lovely visit with your parents and family. Cheers to you all!

  13. Nova Scotia is stunning. I have long thought about tearing out the front yard and planting lavender but my husband loves having a yard. My grandma is 93 now and for many years I worried that this time or that time would be the last time I'd see her. Now I don't worry so much because I know she knows I love her. That is all we can do at the end of life is love each other. I hope you feel much better since writing this post.


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