While in Nova Scotia to be my friend's best man in his wedding, we happened to be in Halifax on Canada Day (1 July). (That's our northern neighbour's version of Independence Day, for those who aren't Canadian or live in states that border the country.) The Queen was down for Fleet Week (lots of sailors clogging the ports to garner her approval), and we passed her car on the highway before picking people up at the airport. Her license plate was all blinged out in shiny gems in the shape of a crown, and the car was packed with old folks, but there wasn't an escort or anything. We wondered what the heck she was doing taking a joy ride when she needed to be in Ottawa that afternoon, but one must not question the Queen.
But that's beside the point, of course, because on Canada Day, I got the chance to finally visit the Halifax Public Gardens. The one time I had planned on going was after Hurricane Juan, which closed the gardens for almost a year while the damage it caused was fixed. (I enjoyed what was dubbed "White Juan" better--it was during Reading Week in first year of university at Acadia, right before my professors went on strike for a month, and it dumped four feet of snow down on Nova Scotia. It was awesome! We didn't get any time off of school for snow [we would have, had the professors not struck], but that's also beside the point.)
While the groom was attending his then-soon-to-be-bride's family on site-seeing binges, I got the chance to slip away and see a few friends with whom I haven't been able to catch up in a few years. We ended up wandering toward the gardens. I have to admit that I wasn't exactly focused on the plants--my friends and I really had a lot to catch up on. But when I ran across this xeriscaped area, I was utterly pleased and had to take some photos of the very-healthy-looking Agave.
Oh. Well, first, apparently, we have these awesome orange campfire-looking flowers. They were blooming in large clumps around the gardens, and I wish I knew what they were! I'd love to grow them myself; they have such an interesting flower shape and seem as if they'd be great cut flowers!
Okay, so now to the xeriscaped planting! Agaves, Sedums, random other stuff I didn't bother to try to misidentify... Wish I could be there when these variegated Agaves are in bloom! I don't think I'd ever have expected these plants to be able to survive Nova Scotia winters--I don't know if the garden employees mulch them for protection, or if the snowcover keeps them insulated, or if they're just that hardy, but they clearly seem to be thriving! (Many of the smaller plants, however, did look as if they are placed annually--or, at least, had been placed fresh this year.) Update (about ten minutes after posting): I finally found a tiny piece of information on the gardens' website that says these plants are stored in a greenhouse overwinter and planted again every year. Pretty much exactly what my horticulturalist friend does at the National Arboretum here in DC!
A close-up of one of the variegated Agave. I thought the curly leaves were a little shy and cute--and yet mischievous. Do I anthropomorphize? Heck yeah! (Speaking of anthropomorphizing, see that giant duck in the background? ... I don't know, either. Your guess is as good as mine.)
Here's me! The friend with whom I was wandering around was shocked at all the weight I have lost (about 100 pounds since he last saw me). I didn't pass up the chance to have him take my picture--it's a rare occurrence, since I'm the one always the one being the photographer, and the Agave was cool and unexpected! (I'm all dressed up [I put on a tie] for the bachelor party that was later that night. Brewery tour, fireworks, almost getting killed by a man in a bus decorated with bloody children's handprints, and some parkour on the sidewalk. Fun times!)
And, of course--geese! It wouldn't be Canada without them, eh?