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By Lorraine Beswick

Spring comes. Last snow gives way to drifts of snow drops. First crocus, the almost of daffodils, delicate and delightful little bulbs, catch the eye and reassure the heart.  Buds everywhere pierce the ground, swell on branches. So too the velvet wooly ones of our magnolias.

It is time to mark the calendar. Opening Sunday, May 1, Inspired by Magnolias, in the Chapel Gallery of ARCAC.  Whether one be a lover of pots, fine paintings, sculpted metal or whimsy, this is a show to catch before it closes May 29.  Last year, Rion Microy had us all smiling with her magnolia cuckoo clock.  Who knows what will appear this year.

May 6, 7, and 8 is the fourth annual, Celebration of Magnolias in Annapolis Royal. Rain or shine, Mothers’ Day weekend, promises to be a great one for both the beginning or passionate gardener; for those who just like to be out of doors looking.

Magnolias & Wine

The Historic Gardens open officially, May 15.  Their lovely and diverse collection of trees follow nature’s calendar. To honour these blossoms, and launch our celebrations, they are hosting the first of their summer season wine tastings — Magnolias & Wine, Friday, May 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. For tickets and information, call 902-532-7018. The Gardens will remain open as an information and visitor centre all weekend, donations accepted.

Three Gardens Tour

The morning of Saturday, May 7, pick up maps and directions at the Historic Gardens, to our Three Gardens Tour. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the private gardens of Ian and Valerie Lawrence, Allison Smyth, and Joanne Buckmaster will be open to the public, by donation. Distinctive in their woodland or former farmland settings, these gardens range in age from six to 20 years. They provide a wonderful opportunity to see the evolution and maturation of some lovely magnolias in company with good collections of conifers, rhododendrons and azaleas; spring bulbs and perennial borders. For those with gardening questions, Blooming writer, Jodi DeLong will be at the Smyth-Crowther property signing copies of her new book, Plants for Atlantic Gardens.

Start saving your pennies and quarters – Saturday afternoon, from 2 to 5 p.m. — our second annual Rare and Unusual Plant Sale will fill the square of the Farmers and Traders Market on Lower St. George Street. Jill Covill of Bunchberry Nursery and Kristl Walek of Gardens North have gathered together passionate plant and nursery people to tease and tempt the rest of us with their collections. Fill in free raffle tickets at the Friday evening and Saturday morning events prior to the sale. Someone at the market will win a young magnolia as door prize.

Where to Buy

Where to Buy brochures will be available throughout the weekend. These list the selections of magnolias offered by Annapolis Valley nurseries. To hone a wish list or to gain further sense of these trees and possible companions, one might return to the Historic Gardens, Sunday afternoon. From 2 to 3:30 p.m. writer and garden designer, Nina Newington, will be discussing Magnolias and Some Unusual Flowering Trees in the Garden. This presentation will be in the Interpretive Centre. There is an admission fee of $7 and another door prize.

Those wishing to have only a knowledgeable tour should meet at the Gardens entry at 3:30 p.m. There they will be joined by Nina, town forester Angelika Waldow and the Garden’s horticulturalist Karen Achenbach. Donations accepted at this event and during the Three Gardens Tour will go to the acquisition and planting of new magnolia varieties in Annapolis Royal.

Annually the magnolias in town not only grow but grow in their diversity. We celebrate them this weekend in Spring, but they are to be admired the year round.

For further information please see the following websites or contact the Historic Gardens at 902 532 7018.

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