Page 18 - Jo Ann Gardner & Heirloom Gardens
ISSUE : Issue 63
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/6/1
was. There was the house, all broken down. And there was the porch; the porch was broken down. And I stood on the porch, and I just looked in front of me, and that was facing the Bras d'Or Lake. And there was a garden at my feet. Once you start looking for them you see them--you could see the dim outlines--even though nothing's been done with them for years, you could see there was Forget-me-not. And it wasn't the wild Forget-me-not, it was the type that people planted. And you could see Rhubarb. Once you see Rhubarb and a Lilac tree, you know there's been a garden. I mean, these are the sure signs. And I've seen them all over the place. In the most remote parts of this area--the peninsula where we live--I've seen them all over the place. And this is just nothing. This is just the beginning. Because I've only researched where I live, more or less. But I've heard from people all over the place, all over the island-- French side, every side. I've heard from people across the causeway. So anyway, you're asking me what a heri? tage plant is. Well, there's many defini? tions. You can call it old-fashioned, you can call it heritage, you can call it heirloom. The name of my book is The Heir? loom Garden. And I like heirloom because it suggests something that's handed down through generations. And that's the way (it is with) these plants--handed down. Qualities of the People of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia 'r'' Department of ''' Community Services [littifciiilliii w''' mmmmmmm ip??i?' fcf .'-f .... mM- Tena Matheson MacDonald grew up on what is now the Gardner Farm. She wrote of these pictures (above): "This was approxi? mately 1933 or before, early 30's. There are holly haws, behind where Anna (my sister) and the other lady are standing, and maybe gold glow. The pink rosebush and bleeding heart and golden glow are also to the edge of the verandah and by the front door, as I remember. As I think back it could be as far back as 1928." So, why should you remember them? Why should you, you know, have anything to do with them? That's an interesting question. Now we know, they're just--they're old plants, associated with people who used to live in a place. They're the things that they used to plant. And they're the plants that survived. They're very tough; they're very enduring. Sometimes they are not even offered commercially any more. But more often than not, they're simply the simpler forms, the more wild forms, of plants that have been later hybridized. They're more near the wild, but they're still cultivated. And we should remember them. For instance, in a place like the Highland Village, where you collect butter churns, you col? lect all this stuff of people's bygone life, why don't you try to collect their plants? A plant is a witness of the past life of these people. You can't begin to reconstruct their life unless you can re? construct their landscape. Unless you know the plants among which they moved, the types of things that they liked, the types of plants that they thought were pretty. Now, we're talking about people that lived here in Cape Breton, that came over, that might have spent the first winter (under) a boat. You know, that cleared land, that CHOW VAN TOO '''LicenL '''rnnmm' Restaurant OPEN DAILY 11 A.M. to 1 A.M. FRI. and SAT. till 2 A.M. SUN. till MIDNIGHT Major Credit Cards Accepted Gift Certificates * Ample Parking A Warm Welcome Oriental and Canadian Cuisine in a relaxed and elegant dining atmosphere Daily Luncheon Specials Banquet Facilities Available Take Out Orders Delivered Excellent Service and Fine Food 460 Grand Lake Rd., Sydney 562-0088 or 539-2825
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