Sunday, March 4, 2018

Old friends and tender memories. A reminiscence of Nova Scotia.

It's hard to believe that it's been four years this May since Jan and I went to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on a lecture tour organized by a friend I've known most of my life, Bob Howard. This is a view of his home garden from his house...

Picture by Bob Howard
After posting this blog, Bob was just a tad chagrined at how sparse some views looked--so he's sent me a few updates, to show that the garden really has transformed magnificently! Here's the same view as the last four years later!

Bob is an accomplished and successful Landscape designer and contractor who worked in the business in Colorado (where we first met as relative youngsters), but abruptly (or so it seemed to me at least) disappeared into the ether. Or more precisely, Nova Scotia. I reconnected with him a few times, and must have hinted broadly that I'd love to see him (and Nova Scotia). Bob gets these hints. He followed up with a plan and a proposal...and presto! There we were. I actually blogged about several  aspects of that trip way back when (I did) I blather on about me and my old buddy, you'll see glimpses of his garden four years ago--it was still young and raw comparatively speaking...

Picture by Bob Howard
.How's THIS for transformation--you can see it's the same angle...four years later of course.

Picture by Bob Howard

The same spot from a different angle--much more filled in last summer!

Geranium sanguineum 'Striatum'
I have never seen this pale pink Geranium sanguineum offered hereabouts: :I was sorely tempted to beg a piece..but the headline "Curator caught smuggling geranium" banner headline didn't appeal to my sensibilities.. Notice how much it's grown if you look in the last picture on the right...

Here is Bob talking to Jan on a landing of his wonderful flagstone steps leading to his home. Rock gardens on all sides---aaaah! My kind of friend!

A wonderful miniature broom blooming up a storm along the way. Don't try to say that ten times quickly...Cytisus decumbens perhaps?

A miniature poppy of the "miyabeanum/fauriei" persuasion no doubt... Love the placement.

Lithospermum diffusum--something Bob didn't grow back in Boulder I reckon!

Picture by Bob Howard
Bob sent this vignette from last year of Hydrangea 'Blue Deckle'

As I emailed him for permission to publish this piece about his garden, Bob emailed some reminiscences that brought back a flood of memories...strange thing this life is when we spend time with someone as we did (one of the few coevals of my youth who loved plants as much as I did) and then years slip by...and then we have this magic few weeks visiting day after day--and now we've been apart four years...Such a strange thing this little existence of us is.

The fellow grows a mean stand of Doronicum. The memories rise as thickly--the times Bob told me about his work with Alan Chadwick in Santa Cruz, and the remarkable gardens Bob did near my home....

I struggle with a few pots of Sensitive fern, and here it is filling a moist swale on his property. Facebook spell checked "Swale"--give me a break!

I love the blue and yellow combo,,,

A wonderful borage, like forget-me-not on steroids. Wish I'd asked him the name...Perhaps he'll tell us?

Underexposed lupions by the pond. I could remedy that with my new photoshop skills--perhaps I shall! Check back in a few days.

More ferns...Just love 'em--and the peony in front.

I envy him the pond--not far from the house...

Picture by Bob Howard
And here's the view looking down toward the pond more recently, with Salix 'Britzensis' turning yellow and a fiery Stewartia dead center.

I can only imagine how much this garden has evolved in the last few years...

Perhaps I'll find a way to get back. I'd love for him to come this way as well. And yet who doesn't have people they love far away they don't see enough?

Saxifrage and primrose--both loving Nova Scotia...

A mossy--a group I wouldn't ever want to be without.

Picture by Bob Howard
 Bob does love the blues--here's a picture he just sent me from last fall: the rock garden is filling with treasures!

Picture by Bob Howard
And another recent shot--Dianthus 'La Bourbille' in the foreground, Iris tectorum behind and Gentiana acaulis left center.

And a glorious yellow conifer.,,,Chamaecyparis pisifera f. filifera 'Golden Mop'

I was pleased to see Delosperma nubigenum--which Bob tells me doesn't perform as well as it did in Colorado.

An enchanting combo of a wonderfully blue "pink" and Lewisia,,,I have a hunch this garden is pretty awesome this spring...

Can't get enough of that Heavenly Blue...

A view not far away..

Another view from his home...

A wonderfulll clean and elegant home inside--as you would expect from Bob and Dessie--who combine so many admirable qualities I admire.

I end with this classic, almost Wyethian view... I'll conclude with an extract of Bob's response to my request:

             "Great to hear from you.  Hugs to Jan.  This is brief.  I’m just headed out in a few minutes.  A longer reply to follow.  If you need any pictures from me, please let me know.

I’d be honoured if you use pictures of my new gardening efforts and discuss our friendship and your visit to Nova Scotia.  I remember walking through the park next to your parent’s house and spying your low garden lying against the foundation.  I wandered down the driveway.  You came around the corner.  You gave me a tour of--what was it?, a 3’ by 40’ rock garden?  Anyway that tour included stories of garden luminaries and history, a journey through much of the world and a whole population of wonderful plants new to me—and it only took a couple of hours!

              "Snowdrops and witch hazel are blooming here now. I feel schizophrenic.  Very happy to be outside in this lovely weather, but at the same time depressed to imagine the ice melting north of here."

All friends are precious. Old friends are the best....

1 comment:

  1. We are indeed fortunate that Bob and Dessie have made Nova Scotia home. Thank you for posting about their lovely garden.
    We have such fond memories of your visit. Do come again. You are ever welcome.
    Donna and Duff Evers


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