Juxtaposed with the historical collections is the innovative garden, where visitors can observe the latest growing trends and plant varieties. There are numerous collections of specialized plantings, such as grasses, daylilies, aquatic plants (and related wildlife) and rock gardens. The laburnum arbour leading from the main courtyard to the governor's garden is a heady sight in late spring, when its chains of golden blossoms make it a popular backdrop for graduation and wedding photos. The knot garden, a nod to European stylings of the Middle Ages, reflects the diligence of Annapolis Royal's horticulturists, who meticulously trim its interwoven patterns and lavender hedges.
From the Gardens' marsh look-off, visitors can view the nearby dike lands. Remnants of water channels established by the Acadian settlers are now maintained by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. A young pine forest, planted by Annapolis Royal staff, is similar to those found naturally in the valley's western region, and echoes the vast tracts of forest the first settlers would have encountered.
Annapolis Royal looks good at any time of year. From the first blush of spring through to the quiet beauty of its gardens in winter, there are always sights to tempt the imagination. During the summer, the Gardens hosts “Music in the Gardens” and annual fundraisers including dinners and auctions. Though not officially open during winter months, for a small donation, people are welcome to wander the paths (as weather permits) and enjoy the more austere, though lovely, sight of a sleeping garden.
Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens: 441 St. George St., Annapolis Royal, NS B0S 1A0; 902/532-7018.