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 

2019 Call for Sculptures

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

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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!

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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!

Download: INVITATION FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

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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.

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: