Wine & Roses – July 5

Tomorrow is the big day – well one of them. This weekend is full of big days, really.

One of the highlights of our House & Garden Tour Weekend is definitely Wine & Roses, Friday July 5, 5pm-7pm.


Imagine roaming among acres of stunning beauty in the unique setting of Canada’s Garden of the Year, wine glass in hand and the sweet aroma of roses in the air, while you listen to the sultry sounds of jazz… you’ve just imagined yourself at “Wine & Roses”, a special evening in the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens on Friday July 5, 5-7pm.

Wine & Roses has become a hallmark community event, occurring on the eve of the popular Annapolis Royal House & Garden Tour. Thousands of rose blossoms, wine in hand, music in the air… it is simply a magical experience.


Your $20 ticket entitles you to admission, food, and entertainment. Cash bar. If you are a 2019 Gardens Member (yet ANOTHER reason to become a member) you save $5 off that ticket price. For even greater value there is a combo deal on Wine & Roses and the House & Garden Tour the following day. Please check for details.

This is a “rain or shine” event. Bring an umbrella and wander the gardens, or find shelter in the Gardens Interpretive Centre and Elm Tree Café.

Wine & Roses provides a unique opportunity to enjoy one of Nova Scotia’s treasures! Tickets may be purchased online, at the Historic Gardens, or by calling the Gardens at (902) 532-7018.

Seedy Saturday – April 27, 2019

Seedy Saturday 2019 - Facebook Banner

Things are getting seedy at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, and that is a great thing! On April 27th from 9am -12noon the Historic Gardens is hosting their first annual Seedy Saturday. Part of a national movement started by Seeds of Diversity, Seedy Saturday is an opportunity for those interested in plant propagation, open pollination, heirloom seeds, locally grown produce and all things seed related.

For those looking to get a start on the growing season, local seed and seedling vendors will be on site as well as a community seed swap.  Families can enjoy pumpkin planting and a Seedy Saturday scavenger hunt. Vendors at the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market will have their usual delicious selection of food and drink. We also have a local expert teaching about monarch butterflies and pollinators with milkweed seedlings available.

In addition to Seedy Saturday, there are some other garden related events happening in the Annapolis Royal region on the same weekend. On April 26 at the Granville Ferry Community Hall there is a public demonstration of “The Art of Ikebana” (Japanese flower arranging). The following day there is an Ikebana workshop at the same location (preregistration: Also on April 27th, Niki Clark, Ph.D. will share secrets of her success at seed sowing, seedling management, harvesting and handling post-crop seed in a hands-on workshop at the Lower Granville Hall in Port Royal (preregistration:

Seedy Saturday at the Historic Gardens has something for everyone from the first timer to the master gardener and seed saver. This is a great chance to meet other seed savers and discover what is happening in our community. Be sure to bring your seeds for the community swap table. For more information please email or call 902-532-7018.

Seedy Saturday 2019

2019 Call for Sculptures

A great opportunity to have your work displayed in the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens for the 2019 season!


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!


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 2019 season. Deadline for submissions: Mar 1 2019. Download a PDF below!



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.


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:

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:

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:

Meet the Vendors – Phil Roberts – Volunteer Coordinator of the Winter Market

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

Phil Roberts – Volunteer Coordinator of the Winter Market

by Valerie Davies

In 2008, while campaigning to be elected Mayor of Annapolis Royal for a second term, Phil Roberts promised that he would institute a winter market for the Town.  When this didn’t happen in the first winter after he was elected, he was told by the town’s Marketing Coordinator that reasonable vendor fees wouldn’t raise enough to pay for a market coordinator. So, in his second winter of this mayoral term, Phil decided to serve as volunteer coordinator of the Annapolis Royal Winter Market.

To find a suitable site was the first challenge.  The former Historic Gardens restaurant building, a storage and sometime meeting area adjacent to the Kerr House, housed the Winter Market in the winter of 2009 – 2010. It was roofed but not insulated and unheated. The floor was so cold vendors stood on sheets of matting, cardboard, and foam insulation to try to keep warm.

The following year, at the suggestion of a vendor, Historic Gardens Manager Trish Fry agreed that the Winter Market could well go into the Gardens gift shop during most of the winter. (During the few weeks at either end of the season when the shop was still open, vendors could set up outdoors.) The Winter Market is now in its eighth season under this arrangement.

Each Saturday morning Phil Roberts opens the doors for the vendors at 8 am. Before the market opens an hour later, he sets out the street signs and readies the tables for the incoming vendors and assists in set-up. During the market, he writes out receipts and collects table fees from the vendors (proceeds go to the Historic Gardens in return for venue expenses and marketing ) and counts (with a “clicker”) customers during the three hours of the market. The average number during most of the winter is between 150 and 200 but greatly increases during the shoulder seasons when the Town’s population is greater and vendors have more produce to offer.

Phil also oversees a fundraising table at the Winter Market for the Friends of the Annapolis Pool Society (FAPS).  They welcome small household donations and toys, but not books or larger items.  Nothing is priced on the FAPS stall. Buyers just drop a donation into the jar.  (During the summer Farmers Market Phil, assisted by other volunteers, also mans the FAPS table in front of Lucky Rabbit Pottery on Church Street.)

Apart from the many loyal regulars that shop at the Winter Market every week, new arrivals and visitors find the venue a great spot for becoming part of the community. Some of the newer vendors, such as Lazy Bear Brewing, have brought a whole new range of customers to the market. It’s a great meeting-place and gives us all a heightened awareness of the great range of produce and goods available from our own people. The Winter Market has made all of this possible. Thank you Phil.

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

Meet the Vendors – Erin and Andy Norman of Lazy Bear Brewing, Smith’s Cove

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

Erin and Andy Norman of Lazy Bear Brewing, Smith’s Cove

By Valerie Davies

A new addition to the winter market is Lazy Bear Brewing which brings in a different range of customers.  Lazy Bear Brewing is owned by Erin and Andy Norman and they produce at present six different beers: Gut View Amber (English style) 4.9% at $6, Braunbar Honey Brown 5% at $7, Sissiboo Stout 5% at $7, Carolina Saison 5.5% at $7, The Once Over IPA (India Pale Ale) 5.8% and Folly Wild IPA 6.2% at $8.  First time beer buyers purchase a 1 litre bottle plus the beer contents for $12 and return the bottles when they need a refill, paying whatever price for their desired type.  Last year they won an award for their Honey Brown in the Fruit and Field Category at the Atlantic Canada Brewing Awards.  Presently Amber seems the most popular with customers.

Andy is by profession an engineer, Erin has a Masters degree in food chemistry from Dalhousie University specializing in food science and processing.  She learned how to brew and make wine as part of her Masters.  Erin came from NB in 2000, but she and Andy have only been in Smiths Cove for just over a year.  They met while working in Dartmouth at DSM (formerly Ocean Nutrition) where fish oil is processed.  Now they are both employed at Acadian Seaplants in Cornwallis.

To make their beer they use pre-malted barley, which comes in 50 pound bags, some which come from Horton NS, various organic native yeasts in liquid form, hops which come in pellets from Ontario and New Brunswick, local honey for the Honey Brown and spring water from their own well.  They also use Irish moss seaweed that is a clarification agent. They have taken many water tests as different beers require different minerals. The Brewery which is located next door to their home needs a steady temperature although the temperature can be manually changed and depends on the beer style.  On their property hops and also grape vines have been recently planted.

Erin and Andy have been delighted with the response to their beer that is now sold by the keg to pubs in the area, The Fundy and The Shoreline in Digby and the Annapolis Royal Golf Course.  Not only is the beer for sale at the Annapolis Winter market, but on Thursday evenings from 5 – 8 pm patrons can purchase beer by the litre bottle at the Lazy Bear Brewery, 120 West Old Post Road, behind the Basin View Motel in Smiths Cove.

Contact  to find out more.

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

Meet the Vendors – Sissiboo Coffee Roasters – Jonathan Welch & Erin Schopfer

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

Sissiboo Coffee Roasters – Jonathan Welch & Erin Schopfer

by Valerie Davies

After a fifteen year love affair with tree planting out west, Jonathan Welch found himself drawn back to the province where he grew up ready to try and create his own employment. His obsession with the perfect cup of coffee and the fact that there were no local coffee roasters in Southwest Nova Scotia made it seem like a natural fit to start Sissiboo Coffee Roaster. Jon and his wife Erin purchased the historic Elta Rebekah Lodge in Bear River 2009 and amidst renovations began roasting micro batches (about 5 pounds at a time) of certified fair trade organic Arabica green beans. In the beginning the green beans arrived in 50 pound boxes via Canada Post; today they arrive by pallet, 3600 pounds at a time. The Turkish-made roaster rotates the beans in a propane-heated drum and Jon controls the temperature, time and airflow to create roast profiles for each origin. Once roasted, the beans are bagged into compostable kraft paper bags where they are best brewed within a month.

Coffee roasting is both art and science. Before the beans ever reach Canada there is an immense amount of hard work that goes into their cultivation, harvest and preparation for market from coffee producers around the world. As one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world, coffee producers have long been oppressed by inequality. The fair trade movement of the last few decades has worked hard to improve the quality of life for farmers, their families, communities, and the environment that surrounds them. Paying a fairer price for green beans effects everything from the quality of life for producers and their communities to the taste of the coffee in your cup. Fair trade certification aims to enable farmers to access better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade. Sissiboo Coffee Roaster sources certified fair trade organic beans from six different countries, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Peru and Mexico.

Sissiboo Coffee Roaster started selling coffee in the first year of the Winter Market at the Historic Gardens in 2010.  Jon and Erin give a lot of credit to strong market support for the success of their business. It gave them consistent cash flow while they began to increase the range of their wholesale business. Today, they have two coffee bars, one in Annapolis Royal on St. George Street and one in Bear River in the front of the roaster. They employ between eight and ten people and their beans can be found in stores and cafes throughout the Maritimes.

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