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Local nursery owner with passion for plants passes growing knowledge on to others


CLIFTON – Jane Blackburn likes to grow plants that are usually hard to find.

The grounds at Woodlands & Meadows Nursery and Gardens include cactus, bluebells, hens and chicks, grasses, herbs, European ginger and much more.

“I got a serious bug of plant propagation,” said Blackburn. “I love seed, dividing plants, taking cuttings, and if you are going to do all that then you need do something with them or you end up with way too many plants.

“I knew I wanted a nursery (of plants) and I love to talk to people and educate them on how to grow them. And it is not always just the plant, it's the site, it's the soil, it's light. There is a plant for every condition.”

She studied plant science horticulture at the NSAC and worked in greenhouses, then took courses in growing native plants and flower judging. She started her own nursery in 1996 and has been selling at the Truro Farmers’ Market since 2002.

“I’m always trying to grow something new, something different,” she said. “My nursery is 10 kilometres outside of Truro, two kilometres down a dirt road. You have to make an effort to come here so I need to have plants and things you don't find in town.”

Blackburn says many people see the cactus in her garden and comment on how she must dig them up and take them inside during the winter. They are surprised, however, when she tells them they are in the ground all winter.

“That is where the education comes in,” she said. “They need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. It is not the cold that would be the problem but the wetness. My cactus bed had 10 feet of snow on it in the winter of 2015 and I didn’t lose one. Many of these cactus are native to the prairies. One is even found in northern Alberta.”

One of her rarest plants is called Fair Maids of France. It is a European, white flowered member of the buttercup family but it does not spread quickly. Blackburn started hers from a small piece 18 years ago and does not know of any other nursery in Nova Scotia growing it.

Her gardens include European ginger, which has flowers lying on the ground and is pollinated by a beetle. She grows more than 50 varieties of hens and chicks and about 80 types of hostas, as well as tomatoes and peppers to sell at the market.

Because she works at the Christmas Tree Research Centre, at Dalhousie’s agricultural campus during the week, much of her gardening is done during evenings and weekends and most of her sales are through the market.

“Working with plants is so relaxing,” she said. “I love seeing new things come up in the spring and I find weeding therapeutic.”

More information on the gardens can be found at woodlandsandmeadows.ca or on Facebook.

lynn.curwin@tc.tc

 

The grounds at Woodlands & Meadows Nursery and Gardens include cactus, bluebells, hens and chicks, grasses, herbs, European ginger and much more.

“I got a serious bug of plant propagation,” said Blackburn. “I love seed, dividing plants, taking cuttings, and if you are going to do all that then you need do something with them or you end up with way too many plants.

“I knew I wanted a nursery (of plants) and I love to talk to people and educate them on how to grow them. And it is not always just the plant, it's the site, it's the soil, it's light. There is a plant for every condition.”

She studied plant science horticulture at the NSAC and worked in greenhouses, then took courses in growing native plants and flower judging. She started her own nursery in 1996 and has been selling at the Truro Farmers’ Market since 2002.

“I’m always trying to grow something new, something different,” she said. “My nursery is 10 kilometres outside of Truro, two kilometres down a dirt road. You have to make an effort to come here so I need to have plants and things you don't find in town.”

Blackburn says many people see the cactus in her garden and comment on how she must dig them up and take them inside during the winter. They are surprised, however, when she tells them they are in the ground all winter.

“That is where the education comes in,” she said. “They need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. It is not the cold that would be the problem but the wetness. My cactus bed had 10 feet of snow on it in the winter of 2015 and I didn’t lose one. Many of these cactus are native to the prairies. One is even found in northern Alberta.”

One of her rarest plants is called Fair Maids of France. It is a European, white flowered member of the buttercup family but it does not spread quickly. Blackburn started hers from a small piece 18 years ago and does not know of any other nursery in Nova Scotia growing it.

Her gardens include European ginger, which has flowers lying on the ground and is pollinated by a beetle. She grows more than 50 varieties of hens and chicks and about 80 types of hostas, as well as tomatoes and peppers to sell at the market.

Because she works at the Christmas Tree Research Centre, at Dalhousie’s agricultural campus during the week, much of her gardening is done during evenings and weekends and most of her sales are through the market.

“Working with plants is so relaxing,” she said. “I love seeing new things come up in the spring and I find weeding therapeutic.”

More information on the gardens can be found at woodlandsandmeadows.ca or on Facebook.

lynn.curwin@tc.tc

 

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