The oldest part of the Halifax Public Gardens was a garden belonging to the Nova Scotia Horticultural Society, whose aim was to advance the art of horticulture and the science of botany through the cultivation of new varieties of plants and cultural practices.
In keeping with the Victorian passion for innovation, this garden was a place to introduce people to new exotic plant species, and the places that they came from. It was a place for ‘elevating the spirit , not in a religious sense but by making one’s mind work. In this way, the Victorians believed people could rein in their baser indulgences (toward drunkenness and lasciviousness).
Today the Gardens still draw people to elevate the spirit , and there is much to learn by observation. People may not be drawn in for those purposes, but by the time they leave they take with them a new understanding of the nature of things.
Old Macdonald had a farm…. E I E I O. And on this farm he had some geese….
These young fellows where having a honking conversation with the geese. They were learning through imitation.
One of the gardeners was planting the carpet bed commemorating the Maritime Ship Modelers Guild. The Guild are a group of dedicated volunteers who are responsible for building and maintaining the Titanic model in the pond.
I was fascinated by the detail that was put into the Titanic model. From our regular vantage point (when it is securely moored in the center of Griffins pond ) we would never get to see these details, but the builders put them in anyway, designing a model true to its original.
Though the water system to the fountains are temporarily turned off during repairs, the torrential rains we had earlier in the week, filled the basin and provided some much-needed water to the plants in the Gardens.
Water captivates us all, calming our senses and allowing us to find a quiet place in our often overcrowded minds.
The Victorians weren’t the only innovators. When one of the Ulmus americana (American Elm) had to be taken down, they decided to turn it into a bench. It’s become a curiosity and inspired people to copy it in their own gardens.
In keeping with the tradition of the Nova Scotia Horticultural Society, the gardeners of the present day Halifax Public Gardens have planted an edible fruit bed containing plants that we wouldn’t normally see. It contains pomegranates, coffee plants, limes and oranges to name a few. It is just to the right of Horticultural Hall if you face the bandstand.
During the open house in May, visitors were delighted with the fuchsia standard that Helen (on of the gardeners) had created. Here she showcases several of them in a shade bed by the gardeners shed on the east side of the Gardens.
A Salix (Willow tree) weeps into the pond.
This Chionanthus virginicus (Fringetree) shrub is in full glorious bloom just across from the upper bridge.
The second carpet bed will commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee year. These carpet beds are hugely laborious and the gardeners who create them are artists who paint with plants. It takes many days to plan and plant them and then need constant trimming to keep them looking sharp.
Some of the graduates who come to the Gardens to have their pictures taken have never set foot in the place. You can overhear their exclamation of joy in discovering such a beautiful environment. They are particularly joyous over the end of exams and looking forward to their new future endeavors. Congratulations to you all and we wish you the greatest success. Don’t forget to come back to visit.