A Tree for All Seasons – Seven-son Flower

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Another very interesting tree in the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is the Heptacodium miconioides or Seven-son Flower, located along the path towards our Rose Garden.  Native to China, it is a rare plant and reportedly may no longer be found in the wild.

As the name indicates, the flower heads tend to be comprised of seven flowers. It blooms in late summer, unlike most other trees, providing a September highlight.

Seven Sons

After the blossoms finish, the autumn colour of  its “afterbloom”, comprised of tiny fruit surrounded by showy rose coloured calyces, is stunning.  The tree is a good source of nectar for butterflies.

And of course the incredible exfoliating bark adds year round interest. Today, we have winter photos to show, as it is indeed winter!

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For more information on this unique plant, and other photos, visit the Missouri Botanical Garden plant database. (This is a good resource for information on many plants – you may want to bookmark it!)

Fun fact – While the heptacodium is presumed to be named for the typical number of flowers in a whorl, it features a variety of numbers in its display:

  • 7 flowers
  • 6 petals on each flower
  • 5 calyces on each “afterbloom”

Next time you are in the Historic Gardens, be sure to keep an eye out for this unique garden resident.

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A Living Fossil – the Dawn Redwood.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides - Dawn Redwood

One of the more notable trees in the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). The Dawn Redwood is a unique and magnificent tree, and one with a very interesting history as well.

The Dawn Redwood is a tall tree with fern-like, feathery needles. One of its unusual features is that it is a deciduous conifer – the needles change from green to russet brown in the fall and then drop from the tree. The resulting “winter” look is quite striking, as seen above.

Another interesting feature of the Dawn Redwood is the bark – rough, red and sometimes peels in long strips.

The history of the Dawn Redwood is a very interesting one. It existed on earth more than 50 million years ago, the only sign of existence being fossils found in Asia and North America. That all changed in 1941 when a Chinese botanist discovered an unusual tree in a remote village – samples later confirmed that it was a Dawn Redwood. A few years later a grove of Dawn Redwood was discovered in an isolated valley in China. The Arnold Arboretum was the first North American institution to receive seeds and was instrumental in their distribution to botanical gardens and universities around the world. Now, seven decades later, the Dawn Redwood is commercially available in garden centres and nurseries everywhere. For more in depth reading on the history of the Dawn Redwood, have a look at this publication by the Arnold Arboretum.

If you want one for your own property, plan carefully – it grows very tall, 70-100 feet, and  can reach up to 40 feet in width. But given the space, it is a magnificent tree. Below is a photo taken several winters ago showing the long shadow cast by one of our Dawn Redwoods… in the centre of the shot.

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We actually have several Dawn Redwoods in the Gardens, very close to our pond bridge. Have a look next time you are visiting!

Maple Mania

Maple Mania – When we think of maples, most often we think of the iconic Sugar Maple and its beautiful fall foliage. But there are lots of other great maples, and many cool features besides the beautiful maple leaf that is so very Canadian.
 
The bark of various types of maple in the Historic Gardens add interest all year long. You have to get up close – the beauty is in the details. Here we have the rough bark of the Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), and the pretty designs of two of the striped (or snakebark) maples you will find here – the native Acer pensylvanicum and the Asian Acer rufinerve.
 
Fun fact – our native striped maple is also referred to as “Goosefoot Maple” for its broad, three-pronged leaves. Check one out next summer!
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Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)

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Native Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum)

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An Asian Striped Maple (Acer rufinerve)

Camouflage Bark

We often post photos of colourful blossoms and beautiful landscapes in the Historic Gardens. Today we wanted to change things up a bit. Some of our unsung heroes in the Gardens are also our largest residents – the trees. While they are magnificent, many of their features are overlooked by visitors as the colours of summer take the eye. In the winter one has more opportunity to look more closely at the trees, and notice some of the unique features.
 
These three photos show the “camouflage” bark that exists on some of our trees – shown are the Kousa Dogwood, Japanese Stewartia, and London Plane trees. Each have other cool features as well, but the mottled bark is worth a second look!
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Donations make it possible for us to continue to delight and astound visitors from around the world. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in person or online through the Gardens Shop. https://historic-gardens-shop.myshopify.com/

#gardensseasonofgiving

For more information on the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, visit www.historicgardens.com 

Meet you in Annapolis Royal!

Town Announces “Meet you in Annapolis Royal” Video Series

When they decided to create a series of five new promotional videos, the Town of Annapolis Royal had a great challenge. How do you capture more than 400 years of community and natural beauty in an attractive and engaging video production? With its particular mix of history, arts and gardens, Annapolis Royal is a community unlike any other. From the energy of the Saturday morning farmer’s market to the mystery of the candlelight tour at the Garrison Burial Grounds to the serenity of a walk through the roses at the Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal offers a wide variety of experiences for visitors and residents. Capturing the spirit of the town was the task given to Edifice Media when the Town of Annapolis Royal partnered with various community groups to create the “Meet you in Annapolis Royal” promotional videos.

“My family and I have been spending summers in the Annapolis Royal area since 2006 and have always been drawn to this perfect little town” said Edifice Media CEO, Dr Christopher Cooper. “This past summer we filmed a series of promotional videos based on the Branded Entertainment model of short episodic snap shots of the best Annapolis Royal has to offer – as always just a pleasure to work with the core people taking on this initiative and what better canvas to paint with than Annapolis Royal!

This video project was funded by the Town of Annapolis Royal with support from the Historic Gardens, Parks Canada, The Historical Association of Annapolis Royal, Explorer Visitors Guide, Annapolis Heritage Society and Annapolis Region Community Arts Council. “It was such a pleasure to work with Christopher Cooper and all the community partners who collaborated on this project” said Trish Fry, Manager of the Historic Gardens. “With social media marketing at the forefront, it is vitally important to have visual and engaging media as part of our internet marketing, and Edifice Media delivered just that.”

The first of the videos in the “Meet you in Annapolis Royal” series was released in the autumn. This video featured Laura Lowe riding a bicycle along St George Street while greeting merchants and residents along the way. The remainder of the videos will be released March 3 through April 14 to build momentum leading into the 2014 visitor season. “Thanks to the Town of Annapolis Royal for leading this effort to get us this far” Fry adds. “Now it is up to all of us to ensure that this tool is used to its maximum potential.”

Meet You Placard

Check it out!   MeetYou in Annapolis Royal

Day 128 – 08May2011 – Magnolia x soulangeana

Project 365 HG – Magnolia x soulangeana.

Day 128 – This weekend our community Celebrated our Magnolias, and so did the Historic Gardens. So it seemed appropriate to shoot another magnolia image, this time of a soulangeana, with the Allain’s River marsh in the background.