Month: June 2011

Summer sun plays hard-to-get

Summer sun plays hard-to-get

Weather variations caused by climate change or other cyclical factors have produced an unusually wet and cool spring in our area. Now that summer is officially here, the sun has made an occasional showing but those few days have been followed by a return to cold and rainy weather. On a positive note, the forests and gardens are lush and green, and many plants like bearded iris and poppies are standing tall and proud.

And to prove that the sun has shone in blue skies we shot a view of wisteria, from below, as it grows over a pergola. For anyone wondering about the new logo at the top of the blog, it is the creation of member Cynthia Spraggs with artwork by her nephew T.K. Spraggs, and it will be used in identifying all print matter related to the club.

Post-NSAGC Convention: Activities Resume

Post-NSAGC Convention: Activities Resume

Following a convention that was deemed successful by all accounts, members of the organizing committee met in early June to review the entire operation, and members of all garden clubs in District 6 gradually returned to their regular programs. The photo below shows some of the Chester Club board members discussing committee reports and plans for the club’s next big event – the Annual Flower Show and Tea, to be held on July 28th. (See information below)
But, in the meantime, the club was faced with moving a large pile of compost that had been delivered to the Parade Square and left for members to spread on the flower beds. Although the volunteer numbers for this job were down, the workers recruited did accomplish the task in a morning’s work
Continuing the tradition of meeting and celebrating around a food-laden table (see photos of most garden club events!), the urge to celebrate the team-work that had made the NSAGC convention such a pleasure to plan for and to carry out, was what brought a number of volunteers together to “break bread” at the local tavern.  

And, in the most recent example of gardeners who enjoy eating and drinking almost as much as digging in the soil, the Chester club members met in mid-June for a tour of a newly renovated garden and a recently restored heritage house owned by our genial host Marc.

[All photos for this blog were contributed by members of the Chester Garden club]
For information about this year’s Annual Flower Show and Tea, with the theme “Chester Gems” , please click on the link on the side-bar of this blog. The information contains details for entry requirements and the schedule of classes (both for design and for horticulture specimens), and can be printed by your computer.    
NSAGC Garden Tours – part 2

NSAGC Garden Tours – part 2

Continuing our catalogue of photos taken on the garden tours, this post contains images contributed by those who visited the Gimby property in Fox Point. (To see previous postings related to the NSAGC Convention, please click on the side-bar link “View Entire Blogand select the relevant posts.)

A passion for stone has resulted in the creation of a property where the lush gardens are set off in bold contrast by stone walls, stone pillars, and stone art forms. The whimsical pieces of art, created from stone and sculpted in cement, are placed at random around the grounds. 

The photo below shows the view from the house, looking down toward the workshop and the sea beyond.

Bill was delighted to show visitors his workshop, where he follows his passion for stone in creating lamps, vases and other decorative items. His work can be found at many outlets throughout the province and also at craft fairs.

The last shot shows a seaside deck tucked into a sheltered nook built of stone, a pleasant spot to relax at the end of the day, with a driftwood “Christmas tree” standing guard.  

This is the fourth and last instalment of photos related to the very successful NSAGC Convention, held at Oak Island on June 3 – 5. To view any of the earlier blogs, click on the link “View Entire Blog” on the right side-bar. Don’t be alarmed at the thought of having to wade through the entire blog. You can choose any specific day from any of the past several years that the blog has been running.
NSAGC Convention – Day 3 – Garden Tours

NSAGC Convention – Day 3 – Garden Tours

A sunny Sunday was the perfect day to wind up the Convention with garden tours in the area. The garden at Indian Harbour, originally created by Walter Ostrum, attracted a large number of registrants who had been intrigued by the photos and stories in his keynote address the previous evening. The following images are a mere sample of more than two hundred photos submitted by a number of garden club members who enjoyed the tours of this garden and also another private garden at Fox Point. The Convention’s organizing committee is very grateful to the owners of both properties who granted registrants the privilege of visiting their entrancing gardens.
A scree garden built along the top of a rock wall graces the entrance to the oceanside gardens on the property that was formerly owned by the Ostrums.  The photo below is a view of the gardens seen from the  hill at the entrance, looking down over the land that slopes toward the water.
Walter himself was on hand to provide the volunteer guides with pertinent information about the many varieties of rhodos, azaleas and other plants that he established in this garden so many years ago. Members of the Chester and Chester basin clubs as well as friends from the Rhododendron Society in Halifax served as the guides. 
The gardens are built into the natural contours of the property with the most prominent feature being the large variety of rhodos and azaleas.

Smaller perennials, such as a rocky-soil lover like Lewisia were also showing their best colours.
Bemused by the extent of the gardens and by Walter’s knowledge, the guides are beginning to wonder whether they will remember all the detailed botanical information Walter has provided, once the guests start to arrive. 
The path up toward the house is crowded with lush plantings on either side.
Tucked proudly into a tiny brook that meanders down the hill, there is a swamp Cypress, brought to the property from Florida some years ago. It doesn’t yet show any “knees” but visitors were advised that if they returned in about 100 years, they would be sure to see some! 
Guides hurry to the next point of interest, concerned lest they miss any of the important bits of information.
Another overview of a section of the garden looking down to the sea.
Back up near the house is a “shade house” built of lathes and useful for keeping plants protected from weather  while they are vulnerable. A second shot shows the interior of the shade house.

Chester-area gardeners Jane, Myra and Lara compare notes on the range of plants to be seen in the extensive collection on these grounds. 

The view from a gazebo on the shore provides another beautiful image of Nova Scotia that can be admired by landlubbers (gardeners) and sailors alike. 

Because of the large number of photographs taken by enthusiastic gardeners, some of which are still being received by your blogger, the photos of the garden at Fox Point will be posted in a separate blog. We will try to include as many shots as possible of both gardens in another instalment.  
NSAGC Convention – Day 2 – June 4, personalities

NSAGC Convention – Day 2 – June 4, personalities

Saturday morning dawned early for the organizers. The Registration Desk was staffed from 8:00 to 10:00 and the vendors were also up early to meet with registrants before the AGM got underway.

Meanwhile, in the Bluenose Room, a technology crisis was developing. As is frequently the case, the much-lauded advantages of modern electronic devices were once again offset by the problems caused from a lack  of compatibility between equipment sockets and connecting cables. Fortunately, with the help of both staff and volunteers, and additional equipment that was brought in, by the time the Annual General Meeting had concluded, a working connection was finally established between laptop and projector. The speaker, much relieved, was able to present her program as scheduled. Some of the presentations that followed also experienced minor A/V problems (see Niki and Duncan sorting out the processes below) but nothing in comparison to that first hitch.

The day’s program rolled on with four concurrent sessions before lunch and another four when the meetings resumed after lunch, followed by Niki Jabbour’s keynote address – “Kitchen Gardening“. The following are a few of the shots we received from contributors. Because we don’t have many photos of the actual lecture sessions, we decided to include, also, some photos of the various personalities who were responsible for making the convention work.

Logie Cassells answers questions about his views on healthy soil and  home-made jam.  

Emil and Peggy-Anne Pineau chat with Syd Dumaresq before he makes the introduction to her presentation.

Syd continues in his role as he introduces Rosmarie Bradley Lohnes.  
The audience for each speaker filled the room and, when time permitted,  engaged in spirited dialogues.
The entries in the flower arranging contest attracted admirers.

Barry Daniels helped sell raffle tickets on valuable donated items.

Myra and Sheila chat with head gardener, Theresa,  at the Risley Greenhouse.
Brenda Hiltz, NSAGC Director for District 6, and for all intents and purposes a fourth co-chair of the Convention, takes to the podium.    Below, Charles Berry,  president of NSAGC, speaks to the members at the AGM.
Seated under decorative club banners that were hung from the ceiling, delegates make notes during the proceedings.
Whether at coffee breaks or at any other opportunity, participants took time to meet and mingle. Here, Joan, enjoys a laugh in conversation with Niki and Linda.   Below,  Marion, Pam and Trish relax after a busy two days at the registration table.
A cash bar at the end of the afternoon prepared the way for a lively performance by Pat Watson and the Studio Singers from Chester, under the direction of Dawn Harwood-Jones.
Below, Doug Ross and the “Dougettes” perform a doo-wop number.

Then it was time for the banquet, much enjoyed by all, except perhaps Walter Ostrom whose keynote address had to wait until dessert was served. Once he began, however, he had the audience enthralled with his photographs and explanations about “The Seaside Gardens at Indian Harbour.” Below, he and Todd Boland appear deep in conversation, perhaps comparing notes on latin names in horticulture.
Charles Berry and his wife,  Rosalee , were among those enjoying the festivities. 
To wind up the day’s events, the evening’s host, Brenda Garland, called upon committee chairs for presentation of awards won in such contests as floral arrangements, photo challenges, year-books and gardener of the year. 
Below,  Myra  announces the winners of the Floral competition: 1st – Jocelyn Cameron; 2nd – Myra Knight; and 3rd – Joanne Jellett.
And that is the limit of photos for today’s blog, but stay tuned…We have some lovely photos taken during the tour of the Ostrum garden for the next instalment on the Chester Garden Club blog.
NSAGC Convention – Day 1 – June 3

NSAGC Convention – Day 1 – June 3

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…

The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown

With the NSAGC Convention just a couple of days away, the final countdown is on. Here, a few members of the organizing committee are bent to the task of folding the programs that will be handed out to registrants on Friday. Some other handouts have been sent via e-mail to the registrants who have online addresses, with a request that they print out the pages of particular interest to them.
For those participants coming from other areas of the province, you might be interested to know that the Chester area experienced a dramatic electrical storm last night, but the power came on this morning and this afternoon the sun is shining! Unfortunately, the forecast calls for cloudy periods and a few more showers during the next few days so don’t leave your umbrella at home. And remember to leave a little extra space available in your suitcase for your return trip. The vendors will have tempting wares for sale and there are a large number of door prizes to be handed out as well!  We’re looking forward to a stimulating, busy and entertaining convention. See you there!