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Bruce's Blog || Just sayin'. . .


Posted on November 06, 2015 by Bruce MacNaughton


I get emotional this time of year, every year. Trying to figure it out, I think the emotion comes from feeling the loss of innocence that so many have experienced.  It may be empathy for those who lost a loved one, or the dysfunction a family experiences as a result of a returning soldier's wounds, physical, emotional or both.

I am in my late fifties, and part of a generation whose fathers and grandfathers fought and some of us know, first hand, the pain felt and pain expressed through actions at home. But I also have a great deal of gratitude and appreciation for all that I am free to do, to think, to say, the safety I have, the democracy I have (needs improvements on a number of levels), but still proud of the heritage. I am proud to be from a province that legislated Remembrance Day to be a statutory holiday and on that note, I am also proud of our provincial government who, a number of years ago, passed legislation into law which requires its citizens to respect a passing funeral procession by pulling their car over to the shoulder of the road and wait.  

War is not a good thing, killing a fellow human being is not a good thing, evil is not a good thing but it does need to be stopped, as it was in the two World Wars and the Korean War. This is not a post about present day threats or policy, it is a post about respect. 

Either at home, at work, or at cenotaphs in various communities, coast to coast, tens of thousands of Canadians on November 11th, at 11am stand in silence and give a day of national commemoration for the more than 100,000 Canadians who have died in military service. 

For a few weeks, prior to this day, The Royal Canadian Legion seeks support through its annual poppy campaign, and all funds raised are held in public trust and used only to support veterans and their families as well as citizens of local communities. I encourage you to support this cause. 

The poppy is the recognized symbol of remembrance for war dead in Canada, the countries of the British Commonwealth, and the United States. The flower owes its significance to the poem "In Flanders Fields", written by Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae, a field surgeon in the Canadian artillery, in the midst of the Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium, in May 1915.

The poppy references in the first and last stanzas of the most widely read and oft-quoted poem of the war, contributed to the flower's status as an emblem of remembrance and a symbol of new growth amidst the devastation of war.


poppy remembrance day

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 To learn more about the Poppy Campaign, you can visit Charlottetown's Royal Canadian Legion's site.

Spring Has Sprung!

Posted on April 16, 2015 by Kara Cousins

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” Hal Borland

Friends, it’s a sheer delight to be writing as the sunshine beams through the windows! After a winter of record breaking snowfalls here in Prince Edward Island, we’re all thrilled to hear the trickling of water as the piles of snow melt into spring.

Living on Canada’s east coast, we’re accustomed to the frigid temperatures and heaps of snow that the winter months can bring. But this winter, well, let’s just say it was a test of our patience and of our audacious spirits.

It all began in January, with the usual dustings of snow. However by March, after a parade of storms left us with a staggering accumulation of more than 500 centimeters of the white stuff, we were quite literally in over our heads in snow! 

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

A satellite image of snow-covered Prince Edward Island

(A satellite image of snow-covered Prince Edward Island)

(Couple dig out their car buried in snow)

(A snow plow breaking a path in Park Corner, Prince Edward Island)

With forecasts of snow, snow, and more snow, us Islanders were beginning to think of ourselves as Narnia dwellers in a land of never-ending winter. By this time in April, we're usually knee deep in yard work, not snow. This was the view from the entrance here at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company just last week:


It's truly amazing what a week of warm temperatures and sunshine will do, though! The snow is melting, the birds are chirping; spring is here! 

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!" S. Bull








October News

Posted on October 22, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton

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. 

Sincerely yours,  

Bruce & Shirley MacNaughton

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.