Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tourist for a Day. Historic Gardens at Annapolis Royal

The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own. – Susan Sontag

Tree peony in full glory.

31 May 2013 will go down in the history books as the first day of mid-summer.

Seriously, how else can you describe a day of full sun and temperatures in the 30°C range? Suffice to say it was quite a pleasure.

The Victorian Garden. Most of its beauty is yet to come.
I have discovered that one of the benefits of self-employment is that you set your own hours. After I had made sure my clients were taken care of early, we set out on a road trip. A “Mental Health Day” road trip. Working from home does tend to cage one in...

Our trip yesterday took us across the centre of the province – up past Kejimkujik National Park through to Annapolis Royal, across the Annapolis Valley and back home through New Ross and Bridgewater. You can cover a lot of beautiful ground in 7 hours in Nova Scotia.

Azaleas. Fragrant azaleas...
The main attraction I want to talk about today is the stunning Historic Gardens at Annapolis Royal. Located on 17 acres in the heart of the town, it is a must stop for anyone venturing to that part of our beautiful province. It's kind of an oasis in the centre of an oasis (the town).

Not only is it a wonder for the eyes, but it is also a learning centre where 400 years of horticultural practices are represented, including the Mi’kmaq, Acadians, Victorians and present day gardeners. They even have an experimental area where they show how seniors can garden for food well into their old age.

One of the ponds (waterlilies later...) surrounded by mature trees.
Admission during high season is a little steep (for me...) at $10 per person, but since we were there at shoulder season it only cost $6. It is managed by a Society (not Government) and they have to pay for its upkeep, so it is well worth the outlay at either price. I’m just cheap.

The most beautiful displays yesterday were the rhododendrons and azaleas, although some magnolias and other flowers were in bloom as well. Apparently during rose season the gardens are a sight to behold.

The Acadian House has an attached garden that shows how families helped
feed themselves in the 1600s. It looked a lot like our veggie garden!
They have waterways and bridges, meandering through very mature trees and shrubs – all meticulously labeled so if you want to try your hand at something you can search it out.

One of the large red azaleas (a Stewartsonian) we did find at Bolmidon Nurery. So in the car it went...

This is the Stewarstonian Azalea. Magnificent.
Ours purchase was significantly smaller.
Two of my favourites that I want to try are flowering trees. One is Koelreuteria paniculata (Golden Rain Tree) and Paulownia tomentosa (Empress Tree). Both are hardy in almost every part of Nova Scotia. The Golden gets papery yellow flowers; the Empress is covered in bright blue foxglove-like flowers. Stunning. Hope we can find them locally.

Rather than go on at length, I’m just going to let the pictures speak for themselves. We took 75 pictures. What you are seeing is just a small sample.

An arched arbour, soon to be covered with wisteria.
If you find yourself in the Annapolis Valley I suggest you take the time to go to the Historic Gardens. While you’re there, visit 18th Century Fort Anne and the first French settlement in North America, Port-Royal. 

There’s lots to see and do on a trip to the Annapolis Valley.

One of the more interesting evergreens.

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