This is both the toughest and the best time of year for me. The best because the days are long, the Gardens (all of them) are unfurling before my eyes and I have the summer to look forward to. The worst because it’s grey, its wet and the wind is often blowing a gale. Fortunately on Wednesday when I went to the Gardens, it was grey and wet but no wind.
I walked around until it started raining in earnest, then I took refuge in the greenhouses to get a sneak preview of the annuals to come. I left behind dedicated gardeners who continued to do their spring clean up and arrived to find others busily planting Dahlia tubers to get a jump on the season. It takes a lot of hard work and a wealth of knowledge to maintain the Gardens. Thank you all who keep it looking so beautiful!!!
Unfurling before my very eyes! The Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’ (Camperdown elm tree) never ceases to amaze me. I now have to decide if I prefer it in the winter when the leaves have fallen off exposing its beautiful form, or in the spring when the emerging leaves resemble chartreuse flowers.
This is a great time of year to admire the immensity of some of the trees in the Gardens. The leaves have yet to emerge so one has an unimpeded view from one side of the Gardens to the other. This Ulmus glabra var. lutescens (Golden elm tree) dwarfs the Victoria Jubilee Fountain beside it.
I could see these bright lights in the distance. On closer inspection they were the lemon yellow flowers of this Magnolia acuminata ‘Elizabeth’, made all the brighter because of the grey day.
The perennial borders are beginning to show more colour, especially red. There wasn’t a hint of this Primula vulgaris last week. I must have been focusing on it’s more exotic cousin.
It wasn’t nice enough to sit out on the deck at Uncommon Grounds Cafe, but the hot soup and tea warmed me up for the walk in the drizzle.
There weren’t many of us out. There were gardeners tidying up, a man and woman practicing a form or martial art by the bandstand, and the odd person taking a shortcut through the Gardens. Once the rain started in earnest only the gardeners remained.
The greenhouses are full of annuals just waiting to be planted outdoors. Some were pretty small, but these Solenostemon (Coleus) look like they’re ready. If only the weather will co-operate.
Patience is a virtue in the spring.There’s not much point in planting your annuals before the temperatures reach a consistent 10 degrees Celsius, as they won’t grow much. Plant tender plants like these Coleus too early, and you risk loosing them to a late frost.
Inside the Display House there are Epiphyllum (May cactus), Pelargoniums (Geraninums) and Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettias) merrily blooming in the tropical heat.
As any gardener knows, gardening is a back-breaking labour of love. Luckily there are some jobs which allow you to come in from the cold, and give your body a break. These gardeners are starting vegetables to be displayed at the Open House.
On May 26 at 9AM the public will have the opportunity to walk through these (usually barred) gates. HRM will be holding an open house in the greenhouse on Sackville St. Come out and meet the gardeners, the board members of The Friends of the Public Gardens and join me for a tour of the Gardens. Hope to see you then.