Typically, this is the time of year when gardens become quieter and we prepare and brace for the coming snow and cold. Shorter days, cooler temperatures spur the feathered and human seasonal visitors to move on to their winter homes while the gardeners make ready for the spring, but, The Gardens of Hope continues to enjoy some added seasonal activity during these warm ripe days of fall.
Situated along the River Clyde in New Glasgow and on land once designated by the Prince Edward Island provincial government as a wildlife/bird sanctuary, the Gardens of Hope attract a great variety of migratory and indigenous avian species. With the fall migration in full swing, the river is a flurry of activity and a cacophony of sound, with huge flocks of geese and ducks on the move.
This year we developed a closer relationship with some wonderful local environmental and natural history organizations and have worked together to provide birding workshops and outings at the Gardens of Hope and the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company. October 11 this year we held a well attended “Back Yard Birding” workshop with Jackie Waddell, the executive director and naturalist from Island Nature Trust, with support from Birding PEI. We were pleased to provide 25% of our sales from our bird seed and equipment to Island Nature Trust and plan to make this an annual event.
Planning for more environmental workshops and activities in for the coming seasons, we hope to provide additional opportunities for visitors and locals to enjoy active learning in our gardens. As I write, our popular Butterfly House is undergoing a major expansion and with it will be opportunities for an extended season by offering to school and tour groups interested in learning about our beautiful and essential pollinators.
We love to celebrate this time of year. Grateful for the bounty and rich colours we are blessed with, it is exciting to bring out the pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks and fall decor to mark the season. The return of our welcoming 15’ straw bale turkey, a hit with our autumn visitors, says that there is no question it’s a time of Thanksgiving.
Our production, restaurant and retail shop staff worked very hard this year and I am sure thankful for a break that is just around the corner. We have the best staff and are thankful for each and every one of them.
Every Canadian Thanksgiving the New Glasgow Christian Church along with the New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, work together in serving a tasty Thanksgiving meal to the public, with over 700 attending it is a blessed event in that all funds raised from the ticket sales are used to assist others in time of need during the winter. Those of us who have work or are able to assist others less fortunate have so much to be thankful for and it is fantastic to see so many attend.
As we put the gardens to rest, we are busy preparing for our mail order season. The bakers are busy preparing their lists of ingredients that need to be ordered as we get ready to make our shortbreads, oatcakes, and fruitcakes, all by hand. The smell in our building is heavenly and a new spirit is awakened as we move towards holiday season.
Staff are busy preparing to launch a new feature this year on our site called Taste PEI, where our customers will be able to order fresh PEI lobster, local oysters, Rose Munros Medallion Smoked Salmon and Jeff McCourts Glasgow Glen Gouda Cheese and beautifully made Christmas Wreaths by Tracy Gallant, who happens to be one of our gardeners.
Our computer programmer, Andrew is also busy writing code in preparation to launch our new "Build Your Own Gift Box" program that will allow you to build your own gift combinations via our website. Your choice of goodies will be added to a lovely gift box complete with beautiful bow and hand written gift card.
On a final note, a big thank you to all have supported our efforts to create a Respite Cottage in the Gardens of Hope. The cottage has been used since the end of June and is still booked up into November.
Wishing you the warmth of lovely a PEI Autumn and hope you enjoy some of our photos.
Every month our plan is to share where we have been and where are going. Also, we will be posting on what events are happening on Prince Edward Island that may be of interest to our readers. The monthly news will be part of the blog, Bruce's Muses where I will share thoughts, ideas and questions when inspired to do so.