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Train Station › The Railway Gardens

For years, the DAR/CPR ran an annual contest for the most attractive railway garden on the Halifax to Yarmouth line. Annapolis Royal often won. Here’s a note from the Annapolis Spectator, May 27, 1926:

“Beautification of the railway station grounds under the careful and artistic supervision of Station Agent Duncan is taking effective shape this spring in a very practical fashion. The rows of bulbs in circular beds on the Southeastern bank set out last Fall, are now showing up in great shape and the garden on the opposite side has certainly an attractive lot of blooms delightfully arranged. The walk at the western end to St. George Street has been fitted with posts and steel rails on both sides and the whole ornamentation when completed will be very attractive.”

All notion of gardening had long disappeared by the time I bought the station. The railway bridge had been taken down a couple of years before, changing the typography of the station land.

Garden before

Re-contouring the lot to take care of water problems gave me a blank canvas and, working with a talented horticulturalist, I was able to design and build a new railway garden in keeping with both the heritage of the Town and history of railway gardening.

We pruned the small crab apple near the ladies’ waiting room door, planted a new tree at the boundary of St. George Street and covered the bank next to the rail bed with cotoneaster to hold the soil in place. We designed simple beds for the front of the station and a small hedge next to the brick walkway at the street entrance. The rest of the property was grassed.

Garden after

Starting in the autumn of 2007, we have planted daffodils every year on the station bank.


In 2010, in partnership with CARP, we completed our water garden project. This “ditch” garden uses native plants as a filtration system to cleanse water run-off from St. George Street. In 2011, Mrs. Nicholson Inc. made improvements to the bank above this garden and in late autumn of 2012, we planted another 300 daffodil bulbs along the edge of the cotoneaster bed. As the gardens have matured, we’ve continued our maintenance and bulb-planting programs.