Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 63 > Page 17 - Jo Ann Gardner & Heirloom Gardens

Page 17 - Jo Ann Gardner & Heirloom Gardens

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/6/1 (533 reads)

Jo Ann Gardner ef* Heirloom Gardens From a Conversation with Jo Ann Gardner of Alba, Inverness County (What distinguishes a heritage plant?) Jo Ann Gardner: I'm not talk? ing so much about vegetables. I'm frankly talking about or? namentals. I'm talking first of all about useful herbs, and also about gardens that people made. These were mainly orna? mental gardens. And I got involved in it be? cause my husband and I were do? ing the landscaping at the Nova Scotia Highland Village (in lo? na) . And it was very bare-- nothing had ever been planted. So I started filling up blank spaces, putting in herb gardens and stuff like that. And then I thought, well, if this is an authentic, recreated Highland Scottish village, I'd better find out whether these were au? thentic plants. Because I'd just taken things that were growing in my garden, that grew well for me, and I plunked them in there. So then I began to research and I began to find out where plants came from. I gradually realized that they did have gardens. They had ornamental gardens.... Vflien I started to research this subject, I got all my neighbours involved, because we don't have a vehicle. So, the way I would find out about things was, people would come in the house--like a man would come to buy eggs. Maybe he'd be in his 70's, so I'd ask him about the plants in his mother's garden. And you'd be amazed at what these people re? member; even people who say they're not in? terested in flowers. See, there's a connec? tion between the plants and their family, so the' remember them. An3rway, this man was thinking that the (1876) house was going to fall down, or he was going to bulldoze it, and he knew of my interest. So he said, "You'd better come over and see it." He came over and he picked me up, and we went to his place--in Whycocomagh, on the Trans-Canada. He just let me go. He went back to his house, his modern house, and he said, "It's over there." And I had my camera with me. I'm not a really very good photographer, but I have taken some pictures that are all right. And I had no tripod The to steady the thing, and it was the kind of camera that needed a tripod, otherwise the picture didn't come out very well. So I had with me this kitchen stool, this long kitchen stool. So just imagine me walking through the field--this was in August--with a camera around my neck, heavy camera, and the kitchen stool--and walking through the fields to find this place. I saw the wreck of the house there. And I saw this big blackberry patch. There was a big rose patch. You often see this at the site of an old house. And there was a rough path, and I followed it. And there I Gardner Farm at Alba, where so many heirloom plants have a home
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