basket account menu close
free shipping on orders over $120 CAD

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

Kindness, Why, Why, Why?, Isn't it Obvious

Posted on August 17, 2019 by Bruce MacNaughton

Good Morning from Prince Edward Island, 

Another glorious day on the Island. (we do need the rain though)

Put the kettle on, hope you have time for tea. Just a quick visit today. 

“The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort, and refinement.” – Arthur Gray

This summer has been a busy one. Every day I witness acts of kindness between total strangers and it does my heart good.

Habitat for Humanity is a well-known organization for their kindness. It is on display again with people coming from all around the world to help build a home for a complete stranger on Lennox Island, Prince Edward Island. Story here

Whether it is a child’s expression of delight when a butterfly lands on their little piece of orange. The donkey running up to them to say hi. The bunnies expressing their timid exuberance & joy in front of the families. Seeing parents being patient is an act of kindness that will do no harm.
"Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is." Blaise Pascal, Writer
Kindness starts with us being nice to ourselves. Sure, you screwed up, I screwed up. Everyone screws up at one time or another.
Perfection is unattainable, but excellence is. One thought and one action at a time.
Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. Mark Twain
If we get ourselves to a place where we forgive ourselves and others, we break the chains that bind to hurt and pain. Freedom is attainable.
To move forward accepting empathy as a tool in life’s toolbox goes a long way towards peace of mind.
Empathy—people’s ability to share and understand one another’s emotions—has declined sharply in the 21st century. If it dies out, technology will probably be charged with the murder. The clues are all there: People in countries with a greater Internet penetrance report lower empathy. Simply leaving a phone between two strangers as they talk lessens their resulting trust. The prosecution’s case writes itself: while apparently serving us, technology quietly poisoned the connections that keep us human. Jamil Zaki
Jamil Zaki is an associate professor of psychology at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory. He has written an interesting article in the Scientific Amerian journal. The Technology of Kindness - How social media can rebuild our empathy—and why it must.
At their request, tomorrow, I am to speak and share with 50 Buddhists why Shirley and I do what we do.
Why the Gardens of Hope? Why the Respite Cottage? Why and how deal with the stresses of running a hyper-active business?
Looking forward to sharing my Christian perspective with love & kindness. It is only through this worldview have I been able to personally feel the chains of hurt, guilt and shame removed. But it is not technical, it is not strategic it is relational.
We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others. Thomas Merton
I hope you enjoy this video. Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.
Nature’s beauty can be fleeting -- but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.
Thank you for taking the time with me today.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend, one where you notice what is good.
With love from Prince Edward Island,
A friend was doing a crossword puzzle...
"What's a 7-letter word for 'easily perceived or understood' that starts with 'O'?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
"It should be, but I can't figure it out. That's why I'm asking."

Fall Colours, Aging, and Historic Day in Canada

Posted on October 20, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

Greetings from beautiful Prince Edward Island! What weather we’ve been experiencing over the past few days. We had wind so strong it knocked out power and shut down ferry service and led to restrictions on the Confederation Bridge. And would you believe we got snow yesterday? That is unusual though not unheard of for this time of year.

We received our annual load of mushroom compost this week to spread on the garden beds next week. Our hardworking garden staff are preparing to plant near a thousand tulip and daffodils bulbs as well.

I am already looking forward to next spring and the cacophony of colour.

If you enjoy garden photography, take a “scroll” through our Gardens of Hope blog to see photos from all seasons. Take a “scroll” here.

The biggest news here this week in Canada, is no doubt, the legalization of cannabis. People were lined up outside of the new government-operated marijuana shops making history as this recreational drug is now legal in Canada. This new legislation won’t directly change my life as tea leaves are the only plant I tend to ingest at this point in my life.

For our readers, I share a link to a recent town hall meeting where experts in the subject came together for discussions in our nation's capital this week. Interesting perspectives. Excellent show. Listen or read the transcript to CBC radio program produced by the team at The Current. Click Here.

I have shared in a previous blog that I am 62 and a lot more aware of my health.  Health becomes top of mind with health scares, losing friends to illness or age, or when maturity passes youthful denial on the road of life.  Oh that stage in life when one feels invincible, remember those days? I have decided I will be paying more attention to what I can do to “preserve” my good health. 

MacArthur Studies of Successful Aging showed on average, non-genetic factors were more important than genetics in determining how well, and long we live. The study suggests that we have more control than we realize over our remaining healthy as we get older. Compelling scientific evidence points to a formula for successful ageing, in particular, four habits that facilitate ageing well. Read this common sense article by Dr. Gary Small here.

The human journey—particularly our spiritual journey—is profoundly shaped by our longings. More often than we expect, we get what we most desire. One way or another, our desires form our spirits and direct our lives. For good or for bad, we are made in the image of what we desire. ~ from the book I am reading presently, Soulful Spirituality by David G. Benner PhD

Wishing you and yours a great week ahead. 

This week, I was listening to a lot to 

The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893, is a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, composed for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Listen here as it played by Andras Schiff. 

With love from Prince Edward Island, 




The meaning of opaque is unclear.

    Fall Flavours, Tears and Mother-in-Law

    Posted on September 09, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

    I adore the weather we’re having on the Island right now. Warm, sunny days and lovely cool evenings. Even though it’s technically still summer, I have spotted some red and orange leaves already…

    Certainly, a change of season is in the air.

    Fall Flavours has begun and folks from all over the world come to enjoy all that Prince Edward Island has to offer in way of the bounty harvested from the land and sea.

    The International Shellfish Festival starts up next weekend, and if you are thinking of going, you can purchase tickets here.

    For more info on Fall Flavours read here and book tickets here

    I loved reading this story about Isabella Baker, a 10-year-old who is off to a great start in life. Recognizing there much to be received from giving.

    A big thank you goes out Islander Perry Williams of Virtual Studios for this awesome video. 

    There has been a lot of hard work, sweat and tears getting The Preserve Company to where it is and Shirley and I are so grateful to past and present staff and our wonderful customers and suppliers who have joined with us on this journey.

    The encouragement note this week comes from Quebec. Thank you, Joanne! 

    Dear Bruce & Shirley, so much kindness and joy emanate from your lovely store, friendly service and staff and your beautiful Gardens of Hope. The preserves and tea that I purchased in August are scrumptious. What wonderful dedication to making good products and creating a place of meaning and compassion that can be shared by all. Thank you!

    Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend and rest of summer. 

    With love from Prince Edward Island



    So much fun in the summer!

    Posted on July 22, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

    What is a weed?

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

    We avoid using harsh chemicals on the grounds of the Preserve Company and the Gardens of Hope. Chemicals in weed killers are harmful to human, animal, and bird health. I personally believe they are not needed.

    We use a simple vinegar spray to keep weeds under control. All you need is a spray bottle! This is extra powerful if you spray when it’s hot and sunny outside. The vinegar essentially cooks the weeds. No chemicals necessary!

    For an even more effective weed killer, add an ounce of dish soap per gallon of vinegar. For something even more powerful, add a ¼ cup of salt.

    For more established weeds with large root systems, try boiling water. This works best on walkways. Do keep in mind that this method will kill insects living in the soil, so save this for hard to reach areas like patio and walkway cracks.

    Whichever method you choose, vinegar or boiling water, you may need to reapply.

    And before you go killing the weeds, remember the word of Emerson. Are dandelions all that bad? Personally, I leave as many as I can to feed the bees.

    Do you have some natural methods for weed control to share? Please leave a comment!

    On to something fun and fresh...

    I love when individuals turn their passion into a business. I just love what Emily Carlaws obsession has turned into. Read More here

    This week we are preparing for the second annual River Festival to arrive in the village of New Glasgow. More info here.  

    On August 12, and 13th we are hosting the Prince Edward Island Visual Arts Festival to celebrate the artistic talent we have on the Island and hopefully, raise some funds to help add a sunroom to the Respite Cottage.   


    Happy Easter

    Posted on April 15, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

    Warm Easter weekend greetings from our family to yours.

    What a beautiful day this is. The sun is shining, and as soon as I finish writing this post, we will be off to the gardens at our shop in New Glasgow.

    We are busy making plans for a large project this spring as we strip away all the old plant material and soil from what used to be our "Prarie Hill."  Over the years the area got ahead of our weeding capabilities and became something that sooner or later would need reestablishing. Now is the time! Over 500 plants will be getting a new view of the River Clyde. This bed is almost a quarter acre of land, and I certainly cannot expect to have a full looking bed for a few years. An old gardener saying, "first-year sleep, second-year creep, third-year leap!", will be top of mind every time I look at the hill. 

    This winter and spring saw upgrades and renovations to the gift shop area, restaurant kitchen, and theatre. Can't wait to see the reaction from our returning staff, to which is over 90% return rate.  We are also in the thick of our menu planning, looking forward to trying out some dishes this year. Also, getting excited to introduce a new "no sugar added" preserves, which has been two years of testing.

    In reading over what I have written, it makes me think that I am always amused when asked by visitors, "what do you do all winter?" 

    This summer we are also bringing back the Prince Edward Island Visual Arts Festival to the Gardens of Hope, August 12 and 13th. 

    Some of the Island's top artists will be in attendance displaying their talents and showing their skills to those fortunate enough to attend. Funds raised are to go towards the building of a sunroom on the Respite Cottage.

    Long gone are the days that our daughters excitedly awaited a visit from the Easter Bunny, we are mindful of this weekend for a few reasons, family time and for those who are believers, this is one of the favourite weekends of the year. 

    Shirley and I will be enjoying the weekend with family. And I’m looking forward to getting in the kitchen and preparing a traditional Easter meal.

    I think this Raspberry Crumble will be perfect for dessert:

    How do you celebrate the Easter holiday?

    I would love to hear your stories in the comments.


    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.