Category: Gardening

Today in our garden…

Today in our garden…

Just a reminder so members remember to take joy in what we have.

Reminder… Re: Covid19…  Listen to the science. Most of us are the ” Old Folks”. Our job is to make sure we follow the instructions. Let’s help our young health professionals. We can make the difference.

Stay home…  Stay well.

Brenda,  Retired … RN, DPHN

Composting – Emily Style

Composting – Emily Style

It’s Gold For The Gardener

IMGP0265 (2)Who would get excited about worms? Well, Emily does and by the end of our October Garden Club meeting, many members and guests were all talking about… you guessed it – worms. Not just any worms. Red Wigglers, that produce that gold for gardeners while using up our kitchen waste.

I found it difficult to remember to take pictures while Emily was enthusiastically describing the process she uses for general gardening composting and then moving on to her higher passion for the little wigglers.

She described composting as fun, good exercise, cheap and environmentally sound, a way to increase the organic content of the soil, invigorating the soils food web, providing nutrients, moisture and a habitat for a huge range of beneficial life forms.

Emily explained that in most soils you can achieve a fertile soil by adding 3” of compost annually by composting kitchen and yard waste (with a few exceptions like meat/fish, bones, milk)


Raised beds, a small greenhouse, a rotation of composting bins and a large pile of leaves can be seen waiting to be added where next needed.

A description of compost systems, principals and mixtures were reviewed.

IMGP0281 (2)It was easy to see the smile broaden across Emily’s face when she continued her presentation.

Vermicomposting holds a special place in her household. As with composting, the benefits are numerous. Emily explained that it is a great way to deal with some of our kitchen scraps and get rich soil conditioner for our plants. A vermicompost bin does not require a lot of space (ie: under the kitchen sink). Bedding is the medium the worms live in and also serves as part of their diet. It should be moist, but not soggy wet and light in texture. Shredded newspaper is a common choice. Emily added compost soil and a small amount of kitchen scraps. Feeding the worms one to three times a week is usually sufficient.

Outdoor vermicomposting is also possible. A well built large, lined bin serves this purpose producing three large wheelbarrow loads of “Gardener’s Gold” for use each spring.

Harvesting safety.

Joan was thrilled to take home the bin that Emily used while explaining the “under the sink” set up and members were happy to accept a take-home brown-bag treat of compost for use on indoor plants.

Thanks, Emily!

Due Diligence

Due Diligence

Contributed by Jocelyn Cameron 

We gardeners often pride ourselves in due diligence.  When spring arrives, we follow suit, springing into action—tilling the soil, designing a new bed, transplanting what we neglected in the fall. We judiciously decide to move those rocks we thought enhanced the garden edge.  Who knew they would attract so many weeds?  

In late spring, plant sales beckon.  “I’ll buy just a few more plants.  I can find some place to put them.”  Oh, dear, we muse weeks later, I didn’t think they would take up so much room. Time to get out the stakes and rein them in.

Due Diligence - Jocelyn C. small
50 Down – 100 to Go

Enter the heat and humidity—a true mid-summer night’s nightmare.  Why do weeds flourish in such a state? They need to be tamed, but…it’s too hot, it’s too buggy, it’s too overwhelming.  Besides, I have company coming. Ah, a happy thought emerges.  “They can help me.  After all, I’m feeding them.”  Alas, they’ve come to have fun.  You know—boating, parades, afternoon teas, garden parties etc.  It wouldn’t be fair to ask them to bend their knees to such a demeaning task. In the fall, things will settle down and I’ll have more time to weed.  Kids will be back in school and we’ll be back to normal.  Did I mention the energy it takes to get back to normal? Didn’t think so.

By this time, I can almost see winter poking its nose over the horizon. Now this could very well be an acquaintance about to be recognized as a friend. What weeds can survive its severity? All I need to do is settle down and watch their demise.  Ha, Ha!  Oh, oh, I guess that means my garden will succumb too. Oh well, all summer my heart was encouraged as I watched it grow and flourish–especially those newbies from the garden sales.  I was so pleased to hear the neighbours remarking on its beauty. The grandchildren had such fun chasing the butterflies and annoying the bees.  (No matter that they crushed a few hostas and daylilies in the process.) And what a treat it was to be on the garden-club tour this summer.  Who couldn’t take respite in all that?  Due diligence really did pay off, despite those pesky reminders to the contrary.

Rododendrons & Azaleas

Rododendrons & Azaleas

Cora Swinamer, Landscape Designer, gardener, Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Society member and educator recently treated Chester Garden Club Members and guests to an informative presentation.

Click on any picture for a slide show…


Many Rhododendrons and Azaleas, illustrated by her beautiful slides have proven to be hardy in Nova Scotia.


Cora described Plants of the rhodo family as Elepidotes, which are the large-leaf plants, or Lepidotes, the small- leafed varieties; or as Azaleas – either deciduous or evergreen. Cora suggested that as a way to remember which description fits which category the beginning of Elepidote resembles the the start of the word “elephant” and Lepidote reminds gardeners of the word “leprechaun”.

We were reminded, like many of the plants we choose for our gardens, site conditions make a difference. Rhododendrons require quality soil with good drainage, thrive in acidic soil, and do well in some shade, although in Nova Scotia, full sun exposure is not an issue. Cora advised that “ the larger the leaf, the more shade the plant can tolerate” and reminded us that stiff winds can cause broad-leafed plants to suffer. Deciduous Azaleas, which drop their leaves in cold weather were suggested for windy sites .


Cora shared information on tending to the rhododendron family of plants, including planting, mulching, dead-heading.


Slides from several beautiful gardens.


Dave assisted with advice about propagating from cuttings.

Those who took cuttings home await spring results of their efforts.

Pictures thanks to Sandy and Brenda

For further information visit: Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Society-

Social Views

Social Views


For those who were able to attend this summers garden club annual pot luck at Jayne and Keith’s, it was a special treat. What a nice event… Good friends, good food and a beautiful day. It was nice to see the usual group who attend and especially nice to have some new members attend.

The weather was sunny and warm allowing everyone to enjoy their beautiful property during the late afternoon and early evening.

We roamed the gardens, gazed out to sea, shared conversation, laughter and a delicious pot luck meal.

It was hoped that we would experience one of those glorious sunsets that Jayne had told us about.

… and there it was

Jayne says “A special thank you to those who participated in the pot luck social today… A great selection of food and the weather was beyond beautiful. Being able to mingle in the yard made the day complete. Keith and I love being able to share our home and view with you all. The great selection of foods and friends make it very special.

Thanks Jayne and Keith. It was a special time.

Pictures: Pam, Jayne and Brenda

Our 2019 Flower Show

Our 2019 Flower Show

IMGP9547As I said in the previous blog post, we were given an inspirational send off as July 22nd week took Chester Garden club and community members to their own and to friends gardens assessing and gathering for the much anticipated annual flower show. Each year our members and community participants have this opportunity to display and view examples of the many beautiful flowers grown in our area.

“The Islands Of Mahone Bay”

This years Theme for our Flower Show and Tea

If you were one of the more than 170 who attended on July 25th, you know just how much there was to take in. The late wet spring had many organizers and participants concerned.

Welcome… click on any picture in a group for a slide show.

20190725_110445The judge and clerks have the first view:

And then the guests:



However, as soon as guests walked in, the georgeous display showed off the available garden gifts and the many talents found in our community.



Many hands are always needed to ensure a smooth day. Pre – planning is a must. Our Vice President and convener Esther ensures this event is on track. She is always seen with her notes. There are bookings to be made, the show schedule to design, the tags and signage to procure, not to mention all those needed to help with set up, kitchen help and donations, serving tea, welcome and ticket sales at door and more.

Every entry was a winner in someone’s eye. The judge, president and guests all have opinions. Trophies are awarded. And this year’s winners are:



The Dudley Lees Trophy: Best in Show – Sheila



Chester Garden Club Trophy: Popular Choice – Joanne Jellett



The Johnson Cup: Best Annual Sweet Peas in Class 5 – Sylvia


The Dena Hennigar Memorial Trophy: Best Wildflower Design in class 54 – Sidney


The MacAlpine Trophy: Best childrens entry (age 9 to 16) awarded to Danika who was not present. Passed president Mrs Peggy McAlpine’s friend reminded all that Chester Garden Club holds a special place for Mrs. McAlpine.


The Rose Barkhouse Painting: Best use of Roses in Section D – Sidney

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The F.C. Winfrey Memorial Trophy: Best Specimen in Section A&B- Anita

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The Ruby Pulsiver Award: Best indoor plant in section C – Sheila


The President’s Award: Members only in Class 49 – Joanne



Janet Piers Awatd: Best design incorporating water in class 50 – Myra


The Wilkins Cup: Best Childrens Entry (age 8 & under) Rylan


The McNeill Trophy: Novice Best in Show – Isabel




Thanks to all.

Pictures: Kay, Brian & Brenda

Mahone Bay Islands

Mahone Bay Islands

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As a lead in to this year’s Chester Garden Club Flower Show, Syd presented a descriptive slide show for garden club members and interested community guests. There are hundreds of islands in the Mahone Bay and we who live here all have our individual views and favourites.





Syd gave us some history, some news about the conservation groups who are working to ensure that some of the treasured islands remain uninhabited and available for enjoyment by all and an overview of many islands near Chester. With pictures and charts he described some of his favourites like Quaker, Meisner’s, Big and Little Fish and others, including Round and Snake, that were part of the upcoming Flower Show schedule which was themed ” The Islands Of Mahone Bay”.





A social time followed giving all those in attendance opportunity for thought, questions and discussion.

Members planning to enter the flower show were inspired to create their designs for this years up coming show.

Thanks Syd .


Gardeners Tour

Gardeners Tour

Click on any picture for a slide show…

Early in the year our president Jayne had a request from another provincial garden club . Many months of planning with the executive and members of Chester Garden Club resulted in a wonderful July 10th Chester area garden tour day for for the 55 + guests who arrived by motor coach from Bible Hill.

Danielle B with Syd, and Bible Hill Guest IMGP9556

On the beautiful Wednesday our guests who arrived in Chester Basin mid morning were joined by Chester Councellor Danielle and District Director Sue. Dainelle guided the tour to Myra’s, the first of four individual members gardens (Myra’s, Claudett’s, Sandy’s and Cynthia’s)



Each of these gardens are special with individual uniqueness in design and plantings.




Thanks to Mr. Risley and Gena, greenhouse manager and staff , the Risley Greenhouse Property was part of the days tour destinations.



IMGP9360The structure, approximately 4500 square ft was constructed for the Risley family apporoimately 15 years ago and is modeled after the formal glass houses at Kew Gardens in England.



The greenhouse is divided into several rooms. Some are dedicated to growing fresh vegetables for the family. Others are dedicated to annuals for transplanting, overwintering bigger planters and tropicals that are dispersed all over the property during the summer. The large center atrium is an oasis of tropical plants.



The greenhouse property boasts a large boarder planted with many trees, shrubs and perennials; gardens with annuals for viewing and cutting, fruits and vegetables wich are harvested for use throughout the year.



The two gardens cared for by a small group of Chester Garden Club members were in pristine condition thanks to those dedicated Garden Club and also Community members.

The trustees of the Cove garden Sheila and Carol provided background information and answered many questions.




Even the walking distances didn’t leave anyone dissapointed. Those who stayed behind enjoyed the parade gardens and ocean scenery.





Following the tour an attractive and delicious buffett supper was enjoyed by Bible Hill Guests and the volunteer committees.

A Wonderful Day for all.

“Cool” Gardener’s Sale

“Cool” Gardener’s Sale



The late spring and absence of the usual apple blossoms didn’t slow down members preparations for the annual Chester Gardener’s Sale held on May 25th at the old train station.




Our clubs annual fund-raising gardener’s sale, with proceeds going to Club activities and two garden parks in the village attracted the usual faithful group of full time residents and seasonal visitors alike who enjoy finding special treasures.


Jayne and artist Maria Kuttner (2)


On display, a raffle (the draw will be at the annual meeting in the fall) this year, was our gift from friend and artist Maria Kuttner. Maria has kindly donated her rendition of our annual event. Along with greeting cards this will help raise funds for our clubs annual commitments.





Featured again this year were a wide variety of perennials from members gardens along with many plants and accessories for the garden brought in by commercial vendors. Other surprise items, providing more variety were “gently used” garden tools ready for sharpening at “the Blade Runner” who was on site and a wide variety of gardening books.





Marion’s “coffee and muffins” were a warm-me-up addition on the sunny, cool day, a welcome change from the frequent wet weather during May.





Now that this once-a-year sale is over, the countdown is on for at home gardening, community gardening, garden tours, flowers shows and summer gatherings.

Painting Nature

Painting Nature


We gardeners have all admired the art of those who choose nature as their subject. We are keenly aware that nature influences many art forms including painting, floral art & needle stitchery.

Click on any picture for a slide show.




We see artists in gardens, on the sea shore, along rivers, in parks and other outdoor spaces. Some painters paint from a scene, some from a thought and some paint from a photograph.





Is there a difference for Botanical artists ?

In May, our Chester Garden Club guest speaker, highly respected and experienced artist and teacher, Margaret Best, presented members and guests a view of the Botanical Artist and Art.





Explaining that botanical art is an observational art form and a fundamental requirement is for artists who are guided by science to have a passion for plants. She took us on a historical journey of the history of the artists and transition of this art.





During social time many members and guests were in discussion and were fielding questions to Margaret. Chester Art Centre may have some additional students for her future classes.

A gift to Margaret was a Siberian Iris, which is a favourite of botanical artists. It is the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Club plant this year . Siberian “ White Swirl”