Category: Vineyards

A Garden Club Convention

A Garden Club Convention

A spring weekend in the beautiful Annapolis Valley drew over 260 registrants to this year’s annual convention of Nova Scotia garden clubs.  The Valley is noted for its distinctive red clay soil which supports a variety of agricultural enterprises, including fruit trees and soft fruits, as well as many types of vegetables. The vista below shows the view from a farmer’s field partway up the south mountain, looking across the tidal river flats toward Cape Blomidon.


The Bay of Fundy, which extends north beyond Blomidon’s headland is famous for its extreme tidal swings, which are some of the highest in the world. The particular soil and climate of the region have made it an increasingly popular location for wineries and a growing number of vineyards have sprung up in the last decade. 

It was therefore quite fitting for the convention organizers to include outings to vineyards as a pre-convention activity to introduce visitors to this local attraction. 

Visitors were attentive to the charming hostesses who described the processes of tending to the vines and producing the different types of wines. The sampling of various wines was also appreciated.

 Back at the convention centre, vendors were setting out their wares and organizers were arranging displays of  floral arrangements, photographs and other items that had been entered into competition among clubs. 

The opening ceremonies featured the local Town Crier and, after the usual words of welcome from several dignitaries, the delegates heard an illustrated talk on the intricacies of seed collecting and selling, which Kristl Walek has developed into an international business.  

The topics presented by eight speakers on Saturday ranged from the importance of preserving and nurturing native plants, to growing organically in a changing climate, to attracting birds in the garden, and overviews of new perennials and woody plants.  The development of a large rock garden at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College was one of the most interesting because of the vast scope of the project.  The following shots provide a hint as to the structural changes that occurred as the team re-made the landscape from placid lawn into dynamic rockery and walkways. 

Massive red granite boulders were trucked to the college and carefully placed in a pre-determined plan that was to completely transform the half-acre site .

Cut limestone was used to create a courtyard that serves as the entrance to the garden. Hardy cactuses are among the many dry-land plants that are now growing in the garden,  and students who are involved as part of their course work occasionally refer to the need for “experienced cactus weeders” to join them.

The project has been underway for about ten years and it is estimated that about 750 tons of rock have gone into the garden.  Although the garden is still a work in progress, the public is welcome to visit.   

 Entertainment, an awards banquet and another guest speaker closed off the convention day’s events for members of the 57 clubs that belong to the NSAGC. The following day, many of the registrants planned to visit yet more garden centres and wineries as they wended their way back home after a very pleasant few days spent with fellow gardeners.