Spring Clean-up Week

Historic Gardens Spring Clean-up… the Tradition Continues April 16-20!

IMG_1561

Mark April 16-20 (Mon-Fri) on your calendar, and try to find some time to join staff and volunteers at Annapolis Royal’s Historic Gardens for this year’s Spring Clean-up.

Poster Download: Spring Cleanup 2018

A community tradition, the first “Spring Clean-up” at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens occurred in April 1987. The initial concept arose as an offer from several Board members to volunteer on a Saturday in April to help the horticultural staff with the extensive clean-up that awaited after a long winter. The Board decided that they should publicize this “event” in case there were a few others in the community who might offer assistance. What resulted was beyond all expectations. The Gardens’ Spring Clean-up instantly became a major spring event in the community as volunteers donned their rubber boots and garden gloves, loaded their rakes and wheelbarrows in the car, and headed to the Gardens to help out.

Years later, the Gardens Clean-up has expanded to a week-long event. Volunteers find it a great opportunity to learn from Gardens staff, and the staff very much enjoy working side by side with the many volunteers. As one volunteer stated recently “What a wonderful opportunity it is to volunteer for Spring Clean-Up Week at the Historic Gardens! Not only does it feel great to be able to give back to this most beautiful corner-stone of our community, but it’s a fantastic learning opportunity too.”

Join the 2017 Historic Gardens Spring Cleanup efforts April 16-20 (Mon-Fri) 9am-4pm. Typical shifts are 9-12 or 1-4 each day. Volunteers can work several shifts during the week, or if you only have an hour to give, they’d love to see you regardless!  It makes a great family outing – an opportunity to work outdoors with your kids and teach them the value of volunteering at the same time.

Further information on the Clean-up can be obtained by calling the Gardens office at 532-7018.

Advertisements

Meet the Vendors – Wild Rose Farm with Gilberte Doelle

 

When you drive out past Digby along highway #1 you eventually arrive at Gilbert’s Cove where Gilberte Doelle lives and works on her Wild Rose Farm. She is quite unique in the way she cultivates her land and grows fresh and delicious greens, vegetables & fruits all year round, that she brings to the winter market at the Historic Gardens and to the Annapolis Royal Market from May to September.

Her two green-houses of 1,200 square feet and the outside land is divided into bio-intensive 5 foot beds in 8 row blocks.  She grows many crops in the same area, broccoli, sweet potato, tomatoes, peppers and many varieties of greens besides lettuce. She moves the produce around, never leaving a bed empty.  Gilberte does not till the soil but works it by hand.  She solarizes the soil to keep out the perennial weeds.  The bottom layer of each bed consists of weeds, then over this fresh manure from their cows, then seaweed and finally a two inch depth of soil.  Worms work the soil. Hay is used to suppress the weeds in order to minimize the work.  She also uses wood chip mulch to keep the weeds down and create a pathway if needed.  50% of the work is preparation of the soil and replanting.

Outside on her 0.68 acres she uses floating row covers (blankets) directly over the plants to keep them warm during the winter.  By law in order to have certification to grow vegetables for sale she has to have a twenty-five foot buffer zone round the outer edge of her land, preventing any contamination such as spraying from other properties.  She tried planting different kinds of trees along the edges of her property. The most successful was the local willow.

Another building on the site is her transplanting shed.  She also has a washing room for the produce (700 pounds per week) which she sells at the market and her outlet shop on site where she has seasonal greens, vegetables, honey and other products for sale.  Gilberte also grows seeds for Hope Seeds, another local business.  The coastal climate around Gilbert’s Cove allows seeds to dry better for packaging.

A few years ago one of her greenhouses (a commercial purchase) blew down in a big wind but the 12 year old one she designed with extra bracing added, is still standing firm and is 10 degrees warmer.

To attract bees and butterflies she provides insectary rows of flowers like milkweed, blue, yellow and white daisies and borage.  To water her plants she uses low volume drip irrigation.  As ladybugs are beneficial to the farmer she releases 4,500 of the insects at the end of June and encourages kids to visit.  In 2013 she won the NS Farm Environmental Stewardship Award.  She is certainly certified Organic and her farm is definitely bio-intensive.

 

 

 

Meet the Vendors – Michael & Sally Knight of Strattons Farm

Meet the Vendors – Michael & Sally Knight of Strattons Farm

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

DSC_0045

In April 2017 Michael and Sally Knight moved their farm equipment in a 40ft sea container and trailered their goats from Ontario to Granville Centre.  They had spent the last eight years running a thriving Market Garden and pasture raised meat farm in Ontario. However, after the drought in 2016, they downsized their livestock production allowing them to follow their dream of farming and living in Nova Scotia.

Their market garden in Granville Centre is 2 acres of cultivated land, including a greenhouse, and hoop houses, producing a wide variety of vegetables.  They sell directly to the consumers at the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market and the Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders Market through the summer.

They will be building a greenhouse in 2018 that will be used for extending the growing season and will also be where they will start their seeds next year as currently they are using their sun porch to start all their seedings.  They do not produce their own seeds, as there are already great local seed producers.  All the seeds they use are certified organic, sustainably grown or sourced from companies that are part of the ‘NON-GMO project verified seeds.

Their farm in Ontario was certified Organic and in late 2017 they submitted the paper work for their present market garden with EcoCert, so their farm is currently going through the transition process to become certified organic.  Therefore anything that is used on their farm has to be approved for certified organic use. They do not spray any chemicals on their crops and choose to hand pick or squidge bugs or use insect netting and floating row covers to protect them. None of their neighbours spray as their farm is surrounded by the North Mountain, marshland and horse paddocks.

The Knights produce honey, with the bees doing all the hard work! The hives are located on the farm as they also help to pollinate the market garden.  The Knights also grow a variety of forage for bees and other wild pollinators. Honey is for sale for as long as supplies last and they are hoping to expand the apiary in 2018. They also raise and breed registered Nigerian Dwarf Goats, which are a small, friendly, adaptable dairy goat and because of their size uniquely suited to small farms.

They cultivate the land with a walk behind tractor and lots of hand tools, as it is just the two of them working and caring for their farm.  They store their root vegetables and in the coming years will be expanding the range of root crops available over the winter months.

Strattons Farm is located in Granville Centre, at 5777 Highway #1. They do not have a farm stand but if customers are unable to make it to the farmers market in the main season they can pre-order (by phone or e-mail) a basket of mixed seasonal vegetables with pre-arranged pick up from the farm on either a Tuesday or Friday evening. (Phone: 902-526-4440 or e-mail: strattonscsa@gmail.com).

2018 Call for Sculptures

A great opportunity to have your work displayed in the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens for the 2018 season!

20150712-IMG_0544-21

Ten years ago, in partnership with the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council, the Historic Gardens started incorporating sculpture into the Gardens on a seasonal basis. As with everything in the Historic Gardens, the Sculpture Project is growing and blossoming each season. Past seasonal installations have included creations by Nova Scotian artists: Alexis Doiron, Brad Hall, Alexa Jaffurs, Michelle Heron and Jan Hull to name a few. In addition to these installations, the Gardens has several semi-permanent pieces including a “living sculpture” created by Dawn MacNutt using live willow and the magnificent “Dance of the Blue Heron” sculpture by Gerald Jank that now graces our front lawn!

20150813-IMG_1415-62

Each piece has been sited perfectly within the 10 acres of gardens, allowing the artwork to both enhance its surroundings and to be enhanced by the gardens around it. The resulting marriage of gardens and sculpture has been met with great enthusiasm from Historic Gardens visitors.

We are now pleased to call for Expressions of Interest from artists for garden sculpture for the 2018 season. Deadline for submissions: Mar 2 2018. Download a PDF below! 

Download: Invitation for Expressions of Interest

IMG_7612

Pawpaw Pie

We have a Pawpaw Tree at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. That fact is notable, in that the Pawpaw is not commonly grown in Nova Scotia.

Our Pawpaw story is all the more interesting due to the fact that it produces fruit when science tells us it shouldn’t. It normally requires at least two Pawpaw Trees in order to produce fruit – we have only one. Yet ours has produced fruit annually for about a decade.

The brown flower of the Pawpaw.

 

Pawpaw fruit mid-season.

 

This phenomenon has been of great interest to gardening enthusiasts. Have a look at this story: http://www.novanewsnow.com/living/pawpaw-mystery-86268/

Once again this year, we had a crop of fruit and in fact yesterday several us were treated to a special Pawpaw Pie baked by one of the staff. (It was really, really good! )

A good crop of fruit!

 

The Pawpaw Pie was terrific!

For more on cooking with Pawpaws: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ksu-pawpaw/cooking.html

And each fruit has a good number of large seeds…


Just another one of the very cool trees in the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.

Meet the Vendors – Cathy and Clyde Millner of Homeplace Farm

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

Cathy and Clyde Millner of Homeplace Farm, Upper Clements

By Valerie Davies

The Millners grow a selection of herbs and vegetables in their greenhouse ready for market each Saturday.  One of the all year round staples is their micro mix, either spicy or mild to add to sandwiches.  The seeds are planted each Wednesday and by Saturday of the next week are ready for sale.  Guests at the Historic Gardens Dinner, May, 28 will enjoy a sprinkling of micro mix with their salad.

Other fresh vegetables they grow include lettuce, spring onions, chard and radish sold in bunches, and beans, peppers and cucumber as well as sweet cherry tomatoes and eggplants in pots for the patio or garden.  Cathy suggests that customers wait till the long weekend to put the tomatoes and eggplant into the garden. Eggplants like the warm part of the garden. She also grows zinnias and snapdragons to attract the bees.

Cathy and Clyde mainly re-seed or use cuttings from their own plants.  Occasionally they order in herbs for cuttings.  All of their plants are organically grown.  They buy bags of compost, vermiculite and peat moss and mix these together by hand.  Also included in the soil mix is chicken and sheep manure from their own animals.  Their greenhouse belonged to Cathy’s parents Joan & Layton Hamilton who had a greenhouse operation , Hillsburn  a few years ago.  (Cathy used to help them when they sold plants at the market in Liverpool and also helped them with transplanting so gaining a great deal of experience in plant propagation.)  The temperature in the greenhouses is usually around 25 degrees, going up to 30 in the summer. They heat the working tables with electric heat that can be adjusted and control the amount of sunshine coming into the greenhouse with blinds. The plants are watered by hand.

Homeplace Farm where Clyde grew up, belonged to his parents Maynard and Ethel. Cathy grew up in Hillsburn. Clyde had been a deep-sea fisherman Lunenburg and then Digby  but he left fishing to take up a job as Superintendent of the Jail at the Court House in Annapolis Royal in 1982. The family lived at the courthouse until 1985 then Clyde became a Correctional Officer at Waterville and then Halifax.  They were the last family to live there. They moved to just outside Kentville where Cathy had a market garden from 1999 to 2006 called The Rock Garden.  This was the first Certified Organic Greenhouse in Nova Scotia open to the public.  Cathy and Clyde only came to live in Upper Clements in 2006 when they began their present greenhouse business and originally named the farm The Homeplace Organic Farm, now shortened to Homeplace Farm.

Cathy is on the executive of the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale coming up soon and will have her organically grown tomato plants for sale.  She also is preparing special bean seeds to be used in the experimental garden at the Historic Gardens and concentrating on producing a white sage bush and a bay tree, all grown organically.  This year for the first time she is growing peanuts in peat pots.

For more information e-mail the Millners at:  ccmillner@hotmail.com

The Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning, 9-12, from mid October through mid May at the Historic Gardens.

It’s Magnolia Time!

Magnolia time in Annapolis Royal.

What a sweet, sweet smell… and the colours are beautiful.

We invite you to stroll our community and enjoy all that it has to offer.

Please download a Self-guided Magnolia Map HERE.

Merrill Magnolia

For more information on the area, please follow these links: