The Friends of the Public Gardens Newsletter – Fall 2018

Dedication of Queen Elizabeth II Walkway, September 9th, 2018

Dedication of Queen Elizabeth II Walkway, September 9th, 2018

Could we be number 1? Please vote for us!

There were many activities in the Gardens all Summer long, as usual, from concerts to activities for children, tours and many, many visits by the increasing number of tourists from everywhere arriving, among others, with an increasing number of cruise ships docking in Halifax. For Halifax residents, the Gardens are also a beautiful place to visit and enjoy, even when you do not have marriage or graduation pictures to shoot between the Diamond Jubilee fountain and the luscious flowers around the Jubilee bandstand. One particular plant this year drew the attention of all media and all visitors…but so many people were thrilled by the Gardens that they have listed us among the attractions nominated for Halifax Metro recognition, and we have been selected in two categories. So: can we ask you, as a friend, to vote for us?

Our Public Gardens are now among the top nominees listed in Star Metro Halifax in the category "Favorite HRM Tourist Attraction" and "Favorite HRM Park". You can cast your vote for the Gardens if you wish by going to https://halifax.metrocommunitychoice.comand voting in each of those categories by the 24th of October!'


Nocturne in the Gardens this year focuses on music in Juan Plaza and art in Horticultural Hall.  With the plaza, patio, and pathway to the Bandstand glowing in twinkling lights, visitors can enjoy musical refrains by local pianists on the Plaza (yes, this is the piano we brought in this Summer, and many have played on it all season long), meet local artists in Horticultural Hall and view original art painted in the Gardens. While access to the Gardens-at-Night is limited, people can stroll to the Golden Jubilee Bandstand (1887) and enjoy its unique architecture. 6 PM to Midnight. Gallery: 6 PM to 10:30 PM

If you have suggestions for Nocturne in years to come, would you share your thoughts with us? We are trying to maintain a connection with the Victorian focus in the Gardens, and of course with horticulture, but we would love to offer new and attractive activities.

Student interns

This summer, for the first time, we had 3 student interns. They had various tasks, going from the new inventory of trees to welcoming tourists at the desk, or making sure activities were properly advertised, or having surveys filled for our information. This proved extremely valuable and we plan to use the resources of the Canada Summer Jobs program again.    

The inventory of trees was necessary to help us produce a new map. The current one includes some trees that have been changed, does not show some which were planted since it was printed, and so we need to offer our visitors a more accurate list of the close to 200 kinds of trees they can find in our Gardens. You may notice that many have plaques now helping to identify them more easily, a task for which one summer intern in particular was very helpful.

American agave top attraction

Needless to say, most people who came into the Gardens this summer had eyes first for the unique Century Plant, our American agave, which bloomed for the first and last time of its life between April and October – yellow flowers came out in August and were feverishly expected by all visitors. Agaves bloom only once in their lifetime, a process lasting several months, after which the mother plant dies. The cycle can take 40 years before it happens; our own star initiated the process after spending many years in the Gardens, between the greenhouse and the desert plant section.

Do you know a Chartered Accountant?

If among our friends there is a retired CA or one with time to do a review of our finances, we would be very thankful. Our accounts are kept current and in good shape, but we may certainly welcome a review (we do not need to go to an audit). Just send a note to the Friends if you feel you could help us with this or know someone who could.

New Director of HRM Parks and Recreation

We welcome a new HRM Director of Parks and Recreation, Denise Schofield, and look forward to meeting her and working with her as of October 1st. Brad Anguish, who was the former Director, has now moved to the Transportation and Public Works portfolio. We wish him the best…

Dahlia days

Among the many activities involving beautiful flowers blooming over the summer in the gardens, making it a continuous daze of color, Dahlia Days is a regular activity associating the Gardens and the Dahlia Society of Nova Scotia. This year again, we had the pleasure of having Neville MacKay, author of Neville on the Level,  prepare and give away flower arrangements  to close those two days on August 30, 2018.

Poets and writers always welcome

Did you know there was a line by Emily Dickinson on a plaque at the foot of a tree in the Gardens? No? Well, it is in part because you would have to crawl to see it. This summer the annual poetry reading organized by Janet Brush took place inside Horticultural Hall, July 26.

Royal walkway

The paths around the Diamond Jubilee Fountain have now officially been named in honor of the current Queen the Queen Elizabeth II Walkway. You can follow the dedication ceremony which took place on Sunday, September 9 at

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