This post contains a sampling of photos that illustrate some of the highlights of the 2011 NSAGC Convention. We hope that many of those who attended will send some of their photos to this blog and thus contribute to a collective memory of a special event. It all started on a lovely sunny day when registrants began arriving at the Atlantica Hotel and Marina, Oak Island, at lunch-time, enthusiastic and hoping to make the most of their time on the South Shore. The first item of business was to pick up their registration packages and then to board the bus that would take them on a 20-minute trip to the renowned Risley greenhouses.
When they stepped off the bus, the universal reaction was one of surprise at such an impressive greenhouse complex. As with any spring garden, some beds outside the greenhouses were still under cultivation, and many plants that had been overwintered inside were scheduled to be moved to the grounds outside only within the next two weeks. Nevertheless, there was lots to admire both inside and outside where the vast lawn was bordered with rhodos and other plantings.
Inside the greenhouse, people were able to wander freely, take photos and ask questions of the two staff gardeners who were on duty that day.
In the central atrium, devoted to tropical plants, visitors marvelled at the size and colour of many exotic plants, including bougainvillea, bromeliads, bird of paradise, and many others not often seen in Nova Scotian gardens!
Back at the hotel, participants gathered in the main conference room for the opening ceremonies. Gary Zwicker, Chester’s official Town Crier called for order and read the proclamation that the conference was now officially underway.
Acting as Mistress of Ceremonies, Brenda Garland, one of three co-hosts from the Chester Club, introduced several dignitaries including Denise Peterson-Rafuse, MLA for Chester-St. Margarets.
Once the opening ceremonies had been completed, Syd Dumaresq took the floor to introduce the evening’s keynote speaker, Todd Boland, a horticulturalist from Newfoundland who spoke with energy and enthusiasm about plants growing under his care at Memorial University’s Botanical Garden.
Following his engaging lecture, which he gave with typical good Newfoundland humour despite his disappointment about the lack of true colour being projected on the screen, the audience trouped out to the foyer to regale themselves with various selections from a buffet table and a cash bar.
During this time of meeting and mingling with friends old and new, registrants were entertained by Jamie Junger, a singer-songwriter from Chester. Many attendees also took this time to view the displays of winning photographs that had been mounted on easles around the periphery of the room. Gradually, as the hour drew late, people wandered off to their rooms – to sleep, perchance to dream – of gorgeous blooms and foliage that had caught their eye during the afternoon’s greenhouse tour.
To be continued…