Times are achanging… kind of.

There have been a lot of changes relating to the Halifax Public Gardens which have occurred during my winter sojourn.
The Gardens are now under the umbrella of Parks and Recreation instead of Transportation and Public Works (go figure).
During the review of the horticultural sector of this city of Halifax (previously HRM), it was also decided to do away with the position of Chief Horticulturist of the Public Gardens and instead create two Horticultural Supervisor positions (one East and one West). West is in charge of the Gardens.
I’m not sure what all this means other than finally giving credit where it’s due. That is to say, they have appointed Heidi Boutilier the operational custodian of the Gardens, a position which she has unofficially assumed since Bev MacPhail retired last year. 
I’d like to congratulate her on her new/old position. I look forward to her stewardship and to seeing how her fresh eyes and new ideas will impact our beloved place.
I’d also like to welcome the new board members of The Friends of the Public Gardens and bid adieu to those departing.

Victoria Jubilee Fountain at the Halifax Public Gardens in June

Welcome Home!!! One thing that did not change is the wonder I experience every time that I walk through the Gardens. Last time I saw it, it looked like this…

Victoria Jubilee Fountain at the Halifax Public GardensPretty, but somewhat lacking a certain Je ne c’est quoi… life and colour 🙂Scroll bed at the Halifax Public Gardens

First change I notice… instead of the deep pink Begonias that have graced the scroll beds in the past few years we now have red, pink and lavender New guinea Impatiens. Our garden variety Impatiens are hard to come by due to a recurring and widespread problem with downy mildew.Agave in urns at the Halifax Public Gardens Agaves are a long-standing tradition at the PG. When you look at old postcards, they are always featured in the beds. Now they have migrated to the urns. I plant them in containers in my garden as well, though I’m going for a contemporary, Mediterranean look. VERY versatile plants… they don’t need much water, you can eat them, drink them, walk on them, swing from them and they reproduce themselves before dying so they can be had for free.

Triangle beds at the Halifax Public Gardens get a makeoverSecond thing I notice… The mosaic sculptures that looked like urns are gone. Also known at mosaiculture, these structures are ” a refined horticultural art that involves creating and mounting living artworks made primarily from plants with colourful foliage (generally annuals, and occasionally perennials)” according to the Montreal Mosaiculture exhibition website. Ours took some bumps and scrapes and were looking a little bent out of shape.

Prince Charles' oak tree at the Halifax Public GardensThe oak tree (Quercus) planted by Prince Charles last year makes it through it’s first (very tough) winter.

Carpet bed under construction at the Halifax Public GardensThis year’s carpet beds feature two subjects close to my heart. Soils… the foundation of every good garden, and Pier 21 which has welcomed many visitors and would be residents through it’s doors.

Laburnum (Golden chaintree) at the Halifax Public GardensLast year’s display on this Laburnum (Golden chaintree) wasn’t quite up to par, but this year it has made up for it. So have the Lilacs (Syringa). Have you ever seen such as profusion of blooms?

Powers' memorial bird baths at the Halifax Public GardensVerdant!The stream bed between the bridges of the Halifax Public GardensMy how they’ve grown in 11 years. You can no longer see the upper bridge or the miniature house. The beauty is that once that Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) grows further, the bridge will become visible again.

One of the alleés at the Halifax Public GardensSomethings never seem to change…

Spring splendour at the Halifax Public GardensBountiful, floriferous, spectacular!

Donor's plaque at Horticultural Hall at the Halifax Public GardensCheck out our new location inside Horticultural Hall and our new Donor Recognition Plaque. The Friends of the Public Gardens have a volunteer manning/womaning the desk most days of the week, welcoming the public and answering your most pressing questions (Where is the washroom?).

Fridge magnets at the Uncommon Grounds Cafe at the Halifax Public GardensThe Uncommon Grounds Cafe has also set up a new shop area with lovely Gardens themed gift items. Best place to have a cuppa or a bite in the city… indoors or out.

Check out our Calendar of Events for what’s happening at the Public Gardens. There are concerts, and tours, and story time and special events.
Get out and enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the loveliest times of the year. If you don’t want to come alone, join me on a tour on Wednesdays at 10AM.
Hasta pronto.

All copy and images copyright © Serena Graham-Dwyer, 2015. If you wish to use any part or whole of an image, in any manner, please contact us.

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