Tag Archives: gardens

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Benson McRae

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Benson McRae

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Photos from the McRae family.


Deep in Lanark County, in the township of Dalhousie, Pollock and Dora McDougall’s rose garden was the talk of the area. Located a hop, skip , and a jump near Wilson’s Corners 100’s of tourists used to visit this rose garden each year. Sadly, it no longer exists, as well as a floral garden that was once the talk of Carleton Place.



Located on the corner of Queen and Santiago Street was the McRae home and in that home lived a genius horticulturist named Benson/ Ben McRae. Ben worked as a conductor for the C.P.R. station that was just a hop skip and a jump on what is now called Coleman. In his spare time he bred gladiolus and became a name among gladioli societies in Canada and the United States.





He loved these flowers so much he decided to begin a project–hybridizing a gladiola. is experiments were so successful  that he had new versions of them listed in catalogues. He won a silver medal for his breed and his bloom was accepted by every province in Canada. he won 15 firsts with it in Montreal shows and was grand champion of the Ottawa and District Gladioli Society. Carleton Place folks of a certain age on Queen and Santiago will remember the tremendous numbers of gladioli he used to grow there.


Mr. McRae developed three gladiolas. White “Gate of Pearls” and Pink “Gate of Pearls” and Patmos which was the wine colour in the middle. All these names were of biblical origins, but because they also lived on the 9th line of Beckwith– the Patmos name was also for the Patmos family who along with his family settled on 220 acres of Beckwith swampy land. But–when they arrived, or when they left, or where they went, is not known. The Man who Disappeared– Stories of Dr. G. E. Kidd



So what happened to all these gladiolas? Eventually after years they developed soft rot bacteria which causes them to completely break down. Neck rot is also more likely to occur with high plant density, and they no longer exist. I don’t know about you but this year I am planting a lot of gladiolas in memory of Mr. McRae. Can you imagine what a tourist attraction we would become if there were gladiolas planted everywhere?

No way you say? One only has to look at Pollock and Dora McDougall’s rose garden that once existed. People came for miles…… and they would here too.



Photos from the McRae family.


















Photos from the McRae family.

 - Record Entry List For District Gladiolus Shoiv...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 13 Aug 1949, Sat,
  3. Page 10
  4. All photos from the McRae family


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.



Paradise in Hopetown

The Carleton Place Goddess of Greenery — Erica Zwicker

Remember Her? Still Living in a Bed of Roses!!

Gardening 2016–From Herbs to Edible Flowers?

The Mysterious Sex Life of Flowers— Carleton Place and District Horticultural Society

photo Jason Porteous

Jason Porteous

Could be. Mygrandmother’s cousin Catherine Bennett was married to a Charlie McRea/McRae. I don’t have other details on Charlie. Maybe they were related on his side.

How is Carly England’s Garden Growing?

How is Carly England’s Garden Growing?
This is an update on Carly England The Angels Roost Organic Gal’s garden. 
Got something growing you want me to share? Email: sav_77@yahoo.com

Good morning, Linda!

I know I promised photos yesterday, but I ran out of daylight and time! Here are a couple of pics:

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Tomatoes in rubber maids for easy transport indoors and out (I take them outside for a bit each day to harden them off).




Peppers that NEED some sunshine real soon!



I’ll take some outdoor photos once I mulch the gardens, hopefully later today if the rain stays away!

Chat soon,

Carly England




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal18 May 1978, Thu[First Edition]Page 53

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)


Patriotic Tulips not Delivering on Canada 150 Colours–Send me your Pictures!

Patriotic Tulips not Delivering on Canada 150 Colours–Send me your Pictures!



Home Hardware is reporting all is not well with the red and white tulips. Bill Slade just told me he has had reports from his brother they came up orange and purple. Home Hardware is asking each customer who bought the orange flowers to provide the time and location of their purchase as well as a photo, so that the company can work with the supplier in the Netherlands to figure out what went wrong.

Send me your pictures so we can see what colours are blooming– PM me or email me at sav_77@yahoo.com. 

Theresa Fritz , councillor of Carleton Place said:  “One of my colleagues at the paper who bought some Canada 150 Tulips (not in CP) was told that if you planted the bulbs in a bed with others tulips they would not bloom red and white. If you planted them in a new bed, they would be red and white. I have seen your writings about these tulips and thought I would share what I was told”.

Signs of Spring in Carleton Place– saw this on Jennifer E Ferris’s FB page–
So I planted 25 of the Canada 150 tulips in the fall, for this spring. Looks what’s growing! 



Update –May 5th–2017– Jennifer Ferris’s tulip

Send me pictures of your tulips when they come up as I am “curious yellow” what colour is coming up.
Patricia M Mason Leduc–Linda as promised here is a few pics of my Canada 150 patriotic tulips that have come up so far. Definitely NOT White and Red–Appears there may be a wide range of yellow/red colour variations.
Screenshot 2017-05-18 at 14
Jen Lytle–I can debunk the “planted with other tulips theory” I live on 50 acres and this was the first time I planted tulips.  I bought 5 boxes!  We also planted them in memory of a dear friend that passed away, the look of the tulips were totally her style so as they were available to purchase right after her passing we planted them in her memory.  The surprise was on us..  not one looks the way they are suppose to and they are all coming up different.
Julia Thompson—I got mine from the Carleton Place Nursery Ltd – they’re coming up red and white
 Katelyn Kimberley got yellow and white too as well as Sheona Craig‎
Jen Toop’s in Smiths Falls
Colleen Bouchard got some red and white tulips.
Photo-Colleen Bouchard
Photo-Colleen Bouchard

18446576_1766869383604265_2985514147972686703_n.jpgVicky Murray spotted this one on a Carleton Place walk



Brenda Mattey–Mine are yellow! Lol. Were supposed to be 150th red and white
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Kerry Charlebois sent these photos and a photo from our nation’s capital below.



My fiance and I went to the tulip festival yesterday- this is the Canada 150–Jessica Doxey

Patriotic tulips not delivering on Canada 150 colours

Home Hardware received reports of Canada 150 tulips blooming in orange and yellow, instead of red and white–  CLICK HERE FOR STORY

But horticulturists agree that the mystery of the orange tulips is more likely a simple case of mislabelling than a hybridization problem.

They were most likely a result of  logistics and mixing up some different varieties of bulbs with the Canada 150 that were supposed to be put in the box,” gardening expert Mark Cullen told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview. “This isn’t a hybridizing problem or it would be much more widespread.”

Cullen said there can be “mild variation” in colour and pattern within a variety of tulip. In rare cases, more noticeable genetic mutations can occur through a process of natural hybridization. But Cullen said hybridization has become a precise process and neither of these explain how drastically different the orange flowers are from the intended red and white.

Egan Davis, a horticulturist at the University of British Columbia, said that, while the tulips farming process is highly mechanized, human error is most likely to blame.

“At the end of the day, the bulbs are in the field and it’s a person who identified which bulbs are going into which package,” he said. “It’s unfortunate because the right bulbs are somewhere, but they didn’t end up in the right bags.”

See How Carly’s Garden Grows…

See How Carly’s Garden Grows…
Carly England from Angels Roost Organic Spa outside Carleton Place posted some inside gardening photos she was doing on Facebook It was so interesting I asked her to tell me what she was doing. We will keep up with her garden from time to time.

Written and Photos by Carly England

I’m sending you some photos of my “babies”. I started all of them on March 20th, perhaps too early at the rate some of them are growing…but oh well, it’s all a fun experiment, really! And from what I hear, it’s going to be a very warm spring (here’s hoping!). I’ll be taking more photos this weekend of their progress.

I bought myself a small greenhouse from Home Depot for about $35, 3 bags of Organic seed starting soil, and 3 seed starting trays. Last year, I tried starting my seedlings in those little soil pellet things, and they didn’t do well. Most of them had mould within a couple of days. I also started them on my dining room table, where they didn’t seem too happy, especially when my cat Lily was attacking them (the new mini greenhouse happily eliminates this problem!). Nonetheless, I did have survivors. Tomatoes were the only thing that really succeeded last year, as well as some pansies and zinnia that I started. Also, the seeds I bought last year were from the grocery store, and although I did chose open pollinating varieties (bees like these, I like bees), I couldn’t be sure of the quality. I was also gifted several tomato plants from my employer, Kathy, which did EXTREMELY well.

This year, I purchased my seeds from Perth Seedy Sunday on March 5th (a truly wonderful event, I was able to speak directly with the people who grew the plants, harvested the seeds (I even took notes! Everyone there was so knowledgable, and super nice). I’m really optimistic that the quality of these seeds will result in better plants!

So far, I’ve planted:
Green Onions
Centennial (Determinate Variety – means the plants stay only a few feet tall and yield sometimes only one crop)   good for sauces and pastes
Green Zebra (Indeterminate Variety – means the plants can take on a life of their own! Not kidding here! The pic below is an example of a typical days harvest of indeterminate cherry and larger tomatoes).  Larger tomato, green with orange stripes!
Pink Boar  (Ind. V) larger pink (!) striped type
Tasty Treat  (Ind. V) little cherry tomato type
Lively Sweet Orange
Carnival Blend Sweet
Italian Pepperocini
Hot Hungarian
Pink Pampas Grass (Fluffy, pink ornamental grass)
Nemophilia (little black and white flowers)
I also have sunflowers, squash, lemon cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, radish, peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets, pumpkins and squash to sow outdoors once frost has past. We’re even going to try honey dew melon!

So, I understand if you think this sounds a tad ambitious, and maybe I’m a bit overzealous. However, each year I’ve gardened, I’ve grown my knowledge and harvests dramatically. I remember my vegetable garden when we first bought our home, it was only a couple of tomato and pepper plants, some beans, and a few pots of herbs on my deck – all store bought. Each year I’ve made mistakes, and gotten better! And I highly suggest the book “The Mini Farming Bible: The Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre” by Brett L. Markham. It’s been so helpful to me this year in properly planning, which I’m learning is the most important part of maintaining a successful garden. It also helps that I grew up with parents who were avid gardeners, and that I work at an organic spa where we grow our own vegetables (knowledge by osmosis!).

I garden because it’s something that I genuinely enjoy. It’s the best form of stress relief I’ve ever encountered, and when done right, it can positively impact your whole family, and even community. Some of the plants I’m starting are to share with family and friends to grow. That means they’ll be eating healthy, homegrown vegetables, some of them from their gardens, some from potted plants on their decks (you can literally have a garden anywhere!). This also means that they’ll be making delicious food with these fruits and veggies, which they’ll then share with their families and friends! And best of all…you know where your food came from! 😀

I have plans in place for harvesting my “crops” at their peak freshness, then using them in sauces, salsas, soups, freezing, canning, pickling, pestos, dried herbs and tea, and of course for eating fresh! I’ve been saving my grocery receipts so that I can track the difference in our spending when we are more self sufficient.
So, that’s basically what I’m doing. I have a Garden Journal that I’ve been documenting everything in. I plan on keeping it updated, so I have a written record I can learn from and refer to in the future. As long as I continue to do better each year, that’s what counts! Eventually, I want chickens too, but Marc is not a fan of that idea (for now…).

I’ll be taking some pictures each week to track the plants’ progress. Most of them are doing pretty well at the moment, I had to transplant the tomatoes on Monday, April 3rd, as some of them were already getting their second set of leaves! I used red solo cups with a hole poked in the bottom of each one, filled with seedling mix, placed in a pyrex tray filled with about an inch of water for them to drink at their leisure (seeds like to be watered from the bottom, not the top). I also moved the basil and cilantro into clay pots or solo cups which I’m watering with the same method. Some of the herbs are slower, and the lavender and pampas grass are REALLY slow (I think I waited too long to plant them). I have the green house positioned near a vent, beside a south facing window. They seem to like it. 🙂

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

The Wondrous Merrickville’s 11th annual House and Garden Tour





Merrickville’s 11th annual House and Garden Tour sponsored by Holy Trinity Anglican Church is to be held June 18, 2016

This year’s tour will transport ticketholders through a wondrous metamorphosis of some of the areas most impressive and historic homes and gardens. It’s a fundraiser for the local church and features a number of historic houses – including one built on property that was original deeded to Benedict Arnold! The five gardens are equally wonderful examples of the best of both past and present, one having been featured in a recent CBC mini-series.

The Blockhouse Museum (operated by the Merrickville and District Historical Society)  will be open throughout the House and Garden Tour (and for the rest of the summer, too!). Your expert guides will be dressed in period costume and, once inside, visitors will experience life in Merrickville during the early 1800s.




                                      There are a total of four homes on the tour this year.


Angel Manor

Angel Manor

The house is on Kilmarnock Island. The land on which the house was built was given to the sons of Benedict Arnold for their father’s help in the American revolution. They owned the land until the 1830’s but never lived on it.

Villa Villekulla

Villa Villekulla

Built in 1885, the home has been lovingly restored and decorated in an eclectic style. One of the home-owners, a talented artist, has decorated the home using many of her own pieces.

Stephen Merrick House

Stephen Merrick House

The Stephen Merrick house, erected in 1844 in Merrickville by Stephen Merrick, son of the founder of Merrickville, is recognized as a Canadian historic site and part of the architectural heritage of the Rideau Corridor by Parks Canada. The cut-stone front of ashlar.

Anarchy Apartment

Anarchy Apartment

This newly built 2-storey apartment is housed in an historic building on St. Lawrence Street above “Anarchy Studio”. The clever use of space is a must-see for anyone interested in decorating a bijoux.

Car aficionados will be delighted by the handsome array of antique automobiles which will be parked in front of each home and garden. Thank you to the Ottawa MG Club and Barry Phillips.




Two of the featured gardens are situated in Burritts Rapids, a sister community to Merrickville a few kilometres away. Burritts Rapids was founded in the 1790’s. Old photographs echo the historic architecture of this picturesque community which has not changed much in over 200 years. “The shops have gone, but the structures have been carefully retained as private homes.”

These two gardens have been featured in Canadian Gardening magazine.

John French House Garden

John French House Garden

Olivia Mills honed her gardening skills at her father’s and mother’s side in Ireland. The John Strahan French House is the oldest dwelling (circa 1820) in the charming village of Burritt’s Rapids.

The Burritt Farm Garden

The Burritt Farm Garden

Built circa 1832, Burritt Farm was erected on land granted to Daniel Burritt the Younger on May 17, 1802. “[The house is an] excellent example of stone cottages that were built in the Rideau Canal corridor following the completion of the Rideau Canal.

Elgin Street Garden

Elgin Street Garden

This Elgin Street home and garden sits on land originally owned by the Mirrick family. The Edwardian style house was built in the 1880’s. The owners, Joelle Schmid and Nick Previsich, purchased the house in 2012 and gardening quickly became a passion of theirs.

Samuel Pearson House Garden A

Samuel Pearson House Garden A

The Samuel Pearson House on St. Lawrence Street is an elegant stone double perched on the corner of Colbourne Street. Designated heritage, the house was built in 1866 by the skilled stonemasons who built the Rideau Canal.

Samuel Pearson House Garden B

Samuel Pearson House Garden B

The north garden greets the visitor with a sense of a lovely, calm oasis in a busy village. The home-owner was drawn by the elegance and size of the stone house when creating this garden 15 years ago.

Rideau Woodland Ramble

Rideau Woodland Ramble

Art, Jazz And The Garden 2016 Come and enjoy Art & Jazz in the gardens at the award winning Rideau Woodland Ramble again on June 18th 2016 between 12pm and 5 pm. Members of MAG Artists as well as guest artists, and Red Jazz will be on hand.






I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honour the earth, to leave a mark.  Through gardening, we feel whole as we make our personal work of art upon our land.
–   Julie Moir Messervy, The Inward Garden, 1995, p.19



Paranormal Hauntings of the Rideau Canal and other Unsolved Ghost Stories




What Justin Bieber is Missing by Not Coming to Carleton Place


Play this while viewing..

The Canadian pop singer cancelled Saturday’s scheduled Beachclub party, a week after reality TV star Kylie Jenner’s party at the same locale in Montreal.

Oh well, Justin won’t be flying over Carleton Place. But, where can you go to have a great picnic in Carleton Place? The sky is the limit– trust me— and Justin is missing out. Montreal over Carleton Place? No way!! The views in Carleton Place are always a picnic!

All you celebrities reading this out there just remember— Carleton Place is paparazzi free!!! Unless you count our beloved photographer Bob McDonald!



“The Secret Trail Walk” as I call it.– Choose a direction out of the two choices, and enjoy the beauty. Just a little over to the left in Centennial Park is where the old floating bridge of Carleton Place existed so the workers didn’t have to walk out of their way to work at the Hawthorne Mill. This park was once Abner Nicols Lumber yard and McRostie’s farm. Carleton Place built this park in 1967, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Canada becoming a country. On the North side of the Mississippi River, Centennial Park includes a place to swim, picnic, play ball or use the playground.










Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum–Who knew? It’s the best kept secret when you just need to get out of the office and breathe in some fresh air.

The first project of the Carleton Place and District Horticultural Society when it formed in 1988 was the transformation of the hard-packed cinder playground into this lovely oasis on the north side of town. The Garden is designed, planted and maintained by the Horticultural society members who donate plants from their own gardens along with their time and gardening talents. Take a few moments to relax under the vine-covered trellis and view the original Carleton Place horse-watering trough, now a delightful planter. Then wander through the 20th Anniversary Celebration arbour and hedge to visit the Community Gardens Project.

Then everyone can wander the labyrinth in the back.  A labyrinth is a circular path, an ancient spiral symbol that has been used for over 4000 years. A labyrinth’s path guides a participant to its centre and back out again. Unlike a maze, the labyrinth holds no tricks or dead ends. The walker is free to focus on a thought, a prayer, or simply enjoy the walk itself. Walking a labyrinth has been used for centuries to support healing, meditation and personal growth.







ThZoom_634496168827551205_made with love

1950’s postcard captioned “Relaxing on the Mississippi River in the Heart of Carleton Place” (near the Findlay boat house) from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Where to Go When You Don’t Have a Green Thumb — Two Fields Over at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market



This would be the height of my knowledge in the garden. I try to build it– but they never come. I have no plants in my yard this year, as last year I successfully killed most of them. I am more into garden art things than growing. Okay, there will be some dahlias again this year, as those bulbs are still living from my late father-in-laws 30-year-old collection. Even I cant kill that. The tragedy of my own front garden is, that I didn’t intend it to be taken as a joke. Scratch that: the official line now – and I’m sticking to it – is that it was all just a huge exercise in garden irony. But, each week at the Farmer’s Market, I froth over Patricia Darlington’s beautiful selection from her Two Fields Over Collection. Even if you stand among her tables it smells and looks just wonderful. She is the goddess of greenery at the Carleton Place Farmers Market with her Zen Fingers.

Love herbal teas? Register for the HERBAL TEA GARDEN WORKSHOP offered by Two Fields Over. 11am, June 20th. Cost is $15 including the pot and plants! 613-257-9005




Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

7 Beckwith St.
Carleton Place, Ontario
(613) 809-0660

830 am to 1230 am

Put Your Chutney Where Your Mouth Is! — Carleton Place Farmers Market

Missy Moo’s Magical Hand Cream – Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

A Request from the Beckwitch for Her School Garden Initiative


Direct from The Beckwitch Penny Foster:

I’ve initiated a school garden initiative where I’m volunteering with local schools to start school and classroom gardens. I didn’t anticipate such a huge response and I’m wondering if anyone has any of the following to share and spare:


300 Plastic or paper cups – an alternative is those little yogurt containers cleaned and washed.
9 rolls Saran wrap
500 Elastics
500 popsicle sticks
9 sealed bags of starter soil (it is sometimes called germinating mix too). Note, I’m saying sealed because I will be transporting all these items to the school myself.
My first school will reach almost 300 students, so I’ve included the quantities I will need before each item.
While I’m available to pick items up as time permits I will be upfront in stating it would be awesome if you could drop them off in one of the boxes on my porch as I’m collecting a lot of items and drop offs would allow me to dedicate more time and efforts to my garden program initiatives.
As this is a multiple item and large request I will ask you to comment below and I will try to respond to offers each evening and update my quantities required above each day (….this is my effort at being efficient… but it may not work lol).
Thank you for your consideration.
Happy Giving!


Why I Will Never Be Miss Home Depot


My dream job for the last few months was to work in the flower department of Home Depot. This week they called me to apply, but I turned it down. Seems writing for Carleton Place has taken over my life and I had to decline. But would I have been a perfect fit for Home Depot?

Summer 2014

I was born with veins flowing with what is called– “non fixit” blood. If there was a race to fix something with a huge prize I would fail miserably. Bob Vila from This Old House would have fired my butt in less than a nano minute. No matter what information I study on the web: starting a lawn mower, how to hook up your basic garden hose, there is no hope for me. After a week of many attempts to fix a leaky garden hose I had given up. Today son number 2 marched in the yard and within 5 minutes it was fixed. Now what is up with that?

Next on my list was a lock for the front gate. This should be easy right? First of all I could not even find locks after gazing up every aisle at the Carleton Place Home Depot. Finally a friend who works there found what I needed- but after I got out of there I felt like I should have had him open up the package. Who designed these new packages? I realized the lock was industry strength but so was the package. I managed to cut around the lock with big scissors but no amount of strength could get that lock off the special plastic middle. I used lock cutters, garden shears and nothing. The only thing that was budging was my mental state. In anger I threw it on the ground and then a light bulb went off in my head. All I had to do was take one of the keys, open the lock, and slip it through. Duh!

So why couldn’t they put that information on the package? Because they expect us to know that –just like I am expected to know how to fix a garden hose and turn on a lawn mower. Maybe this is the real reason I just got a cell phone.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” 
― Albert Einstein

Son number 2 also put the pump in the pond and began to fill it up. He didn’t get these smarts from his mother!

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble