Kingsbrae Garden

In between bouts of winter fun, I’ve been looking out my window at our garden covered with snow, daydreaming of the planting season to come, and thinking back on other gardens I’ve spent time in.

In 2002, after I finished my course at Linnaea Farm, I moved to St. Andrews, New Brunswick – a beautiful seaside town.  I found work at Kingsbrae Garden – a 27-acre horticultural garden built on the donor’s family estate property.

Kingsbrae Garden is filled with beautiful themed flower gardens such as the Bird and Butterfly Garden, the Ornamental Grass Garden, the Scents and Sensitivity Garden, the Heath and Heather Garden; ponds; orchards; forested walking trails; ducks, goats, and alpacas; and a 1/3 scale Dutch Windmill.  Also, to my delight , an organic vegetable garden.

Each of the gardeners working at Kingsbrae Garden is assigned to a few gardens for the season. I was happy to be assigned to the organic vegetable garden. I was also assigned to the Knot Garden which was beautiful, but not so fun, as it required near daily trimming of the boxwood, lavender, and other herbs.

As we started work a month or so before vegetable planting season I took that time to plan the vegetable garden with a four-year rotation cycle and with a good mix of companion plants.

To get the garden ready I took one of the trucks down to the nearby beach and filled with with truckloads of seaweed that washes up on shore.  Seaweed is a great fertilizer that is rich in trace minerals and hormones that stimulate plant growth. And for those who live near the beach, it’s free.

I also took the time that month to build a scarecrow.  I called her “Stella” and she became quite the attraction over the summer.

The summer I spent at Kingsbrae Garden was wonderful.  I spent most of my days in the vegetable garden, planting, weeding, and harvesting.   I would offer vegetables to taste to the visitors that walked through the garden.   I would also offer vegetables to the other staff who were not always used to my odd vegetables.  No one took me up on the offer to take home purple potatoes!  What was left over I took home and cooked up for supper.

During the time that I wasn’t in the vegetable or knot garden I helped the other gardeners in their flower gardens and helped to take care of the ducks and goats.  I learnt so much that summer.  Maybe I’ll go back to work there someday. 🙂

If you’re in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, go visit Kingsbrae Gardens. You won’t regret it.

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10 thoughts on “Kingsbrae Garden

  1. Looks like you had an amazing time while you were there. A great follow up to your time at Linnaea! You are a veteran to the garden rotation! I never realized that about seaweed. Do you just lay it over as you would hay at the end of the season? You left it for the month? Does the salt not do any damage to the soil? I may try that this year!
    Thanks! Great post!

    • Thanks Stacey! That garden was the only time I used seaweed so I’m not an expert, but I know lots of folks around that area use it all the time. That season I harvested it early spring, spread it out on the beds and mixed it in like compost. I’ve also read that you can use it as a mulch. I’m not sure about the salt, but since it’s so common to use, I’m assuming that it doesn’t hurt the plants? Maybe someone else can chime in with more info 🙂

  2. I’m shocked no one took you up on your purple potatoes!! They’re quite the luxury here on PEI and from what I understand some of the old timers won’t eat fish and chips without them!

  3. I started my first ever veggie garden back in 2008 and I have planted one every year ever since. I get free manure for fertilizer and I have a Mantis tiller that someone gave me to cultivate the Earth. Seeds are about one U.S. dollar a pack and I get so much produce from my garden that I end up giving most of it away.

  4. I love gardening! I have had lots of luck with native plants and perennials for several years. I just planted my first vegetable garden last year, but it wasn’t very successful due to record drought and heat here in Texas last summer. A friend of mine introduced me to keyhole gardens, have you heard of them? Supposedly they are self fertilizing, self watering. I am going to try and build one soon. We all have spring fever here, today it was clear and 85 degrees! Thank you so much for sharing your gardening experience. You have inspired to get outside to my garden!

    • I’d love to see pictures of your flower gardens :). I’m always curious to see which plants grow well in different climates. I have a small houseplant (never more than a foot tall) that I saw once as a full shrub outdoor in British Columbia – it amazed me!
      Hopefully you will have a cooler and wetter vegetable gardening season this year. I’ve never heard of keyhole gardens – please post photos and explanation when you build one!

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