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

Spring Showers, Washouts and a Great Idea from Emma

Posted on June 02, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

(Hummingbird photography by Kathie MacPhee)

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” Lucy Maud Montgomery

June has finally arrived and the month has brought us beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures that we haven’t enjoyed on the Island until now. As I write this, the rain is coming down in buckets. One of the first things we do after a hard rain is to get on the tractor and repair the washed out gravel paths in the Gardens of Hope.

The gardens around our property are beginning to brighten up as flowers bloom. Downtown Charlottetown is looking wonderful as well, with tulips at almost every corner. What a lovely province we live in.

In addition to the beautiful weather, June brings to Prince Edward Island many visitors from all over the world. I’ve been meeting and greeting many friendly people to the Preserve Company. It fills my heart with joy to see so many folks enjoying the grounds and the experience we’ve worked so hard to create over the past 30 years.

Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, our staff has been sampling different types of iced tea from the blends that we sell at the shop. 

Do you have a favourite iced tea? Perhaps recipe you would share in the comment section. 

Our main kitchen staff are busy working on new menu items and we have shortlisted a few for more trials. Can't wait to introduce the new menu for 2018. Our new oven arrived for our gluten-free bakery yesterday and we are getting closer to have food prepared for those who either require or prefer gluten-free items. Over the next few weeks, we will reveal a complete list of offerings. We are bringing our Garden Theatre to life as well, redesigning the layout and kitchen. The Garden Theatre Cafe will a new cafe operating this summer on our property. It will offer some our popular items from our main menu as well as quick service options. 

Have you heard about the Go Here initiative? What a beautiful initiative that Emma Moore has created out from her experience. Personally, we family members and staff who live with Crohn's and or Colitis and her idea just warms my heart for those who suffer from this dis-ease. We have agreed to participate in this program. Read more here.  

Thank you to all you who stop me to say that you enjoy reading my blog and send a note of encouragement to keep writing. 

Hope you have a great weekend! 

Sincerely with love from Prince Edward Island,


Hummingbird Season is upon us!

Posted on June 10, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

I have some wonderful news about Lucy! You may recall, I wrote about this special Island duck a couple of weeks ago and how she returns to the Charlottetown Superstore Garden Centre each year to lay her eggs. (If you missed it, you can read that story here: )

Well, Lucy’s eggs hatched last week, and it was time for this little family to leave the Superstore and head back home. The Charlottetown Police Department gallantly stopped traffic on the busiest road in PEI, so the family could safely cross on its way to a neighbouring pond.

You can read the story and watch the video here:

The police help Lucy every year. It makes us curious about how the police department decides which officer gets the privilege of helping Lucy cross the road. Any ideas?

Speaking of birds, we’re so pleased to welcome the ruby-throated hummingbirds back to Prince Edward Island for the season.

We have feeders hanging around the restaurant and throughout the gardens, both to provide these little birds with an extra source of food and because we just love watching them!

Did you know there are roughly 330 species of hummingbirds in the world? We generally only see about a dozen of those in North America, above Mexico.

It’s so easy to attract hummingbirds. All you need is some sugar, water, and an inexpensive feeder. We use a ratio of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water when we first hang the feeders, and then after more flowers are in bloom for the birds to feed from, we gradually change the ratio to 1:4. There’s no need to put red dye in with this mixture, as the birds are attracted to the colour of the feeder and the red dye may be harmful to our feathered friends. So, save your money and don’t buy that hummingbird food you see in stores. Just make your own.

Do you see hummingbirds where you live? I would love to hear about the varieties of birds that visit your gardens. (And I’m serious about finding out about the Lucy crossing guard duty … in case any Charlottetown police officers are reading this!)

I went to a muscial event last night in Brackley Beach to see the family group Clan Hanigan at the North Atlantic Tionol. What a night of music. The place was packed with traditional music lovers and musicians. 

If you love music, storytelling, and dance, the next two weeks on Prince Edward Island is the place to be! The annual Small Halls Festival has started and I am looking forward to taking in 3 or 4 events. For more info click here:

This Quacks Me Up!

Posted on May 13, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton
Mother Duck says, “Quack quack quack quack!”
You probably know all about Prince Edward Island’s famous red head (Anne) and our favourite shellfish (lobster). But, did you know that we also have a beloved duck?

Lucy the Duck was the big news story in PEI this week, and it’s quite fitting I share her story on Mother’s Day weekend because this is one devoted mother.

For the eighth year in a row, Lucy has set up house in the Atlantic Superstore’s Garden Centre in Charlottetown.

Every year, just like clockwork, Lucy makes her nest within the plants and lays her eggs. The Superstore staff cordons off the area and provides her with all the food she needs. She bathes in the parking lot puddles, and, after her eggs hatch, the police direct traffic so the family can safely waddle across the road and go to wherever it is that they go after they leave the Garden Centre.

This year, Lucy has a boyfriend with her (but rumour has it he spends most of his time in the nearby McDonald’s parking lot feasting on French fries).

I just love this CBC news story because it is another testament of the wonderful people we have here in Prince Edward Island. Everyone looks forward to Lucy’s return. (You can read more about Lucy and her boyfriend Lucifer here:

Speaking of Moms, our restaurant will be open Mother’s Day from 11:30 to 4.  Here is our Mother’s Day menu. We officially will open for the season on May 26. Hopefully, we will see you this year.

While taking reservations for the restaurant this week, I got thinking about blended families and the roles that stepmoms have in society. While looking through the Globe and Mail today, I read, "On Mother’s Day, stepmoms navigate tricky emotional territory" by Leah MacLaren who shares her perspective here

Wishing Mom's everywhere a wonderful day and one where they feel the love where it may come from. 

Life is about Choice

Posted on January 21, 2016 by Bruce MacNaughton

This muse is a story about John Lister, a 90-year-old who says he has too much to do.

After watching his interview, it started me thinking about choices and conformity. 

Life is about choice. We choose how we respond to what life has brought us so far. We either positively grab life by the shoulders and shake everything out of it for our own purposes or we choose to become victims of everything it has thrown at us per se'. I know from experience that once we choose to learn from our own mistakes, forgive others and ourselves, and to give genuine, heartfelt love freely, we truly begin to live life to the fullest. 

John Lister doesn't plan on retiring.  He runs a beef cattle operation with 40 beef cows on a 300-acre farm in Dromore. Mr. Lister still makes his own bread and cooks his own meals. 

"I don't believe in retirement," he said. "That's people's problem. They retire and do nothing until they get a box to put them in," Lister told Pat Martell, a CBC reporter in a recent interview.

Lister, who was born in England, moved to Prince Edward Island after his wife passed away 40 years ago. 

"I'm quite happy. Life just comes along. And one day, I will go. And that's that," he said. "It don't worry me. I firmly believe that when you look on the calendar, there's a day on it, and that's it. And when you get to that day, you're gonna die," said Lister. 

I hope you enjoyed watching and listening to Mr. Lister as much as I did. I certainly enjoyed his comments and my time reflecting on them. 

Don't think about retiring, how about thinking of living to the fullest.

Have a great week!