In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

honeysuckle from the old hotel

The first summer we were here I saw a honeysuckle vine dangling above the ruins of the old hotel in the field next to our place. Maybe the Perrys planted it there once upon a time, when they had the hotel. (Folks say it was more of a bunkhouse, really.) Or maybe it was planted by the Rennehans, who lived there after that.

The next summer I went back and took some cuttings. I rooted them over the winter, and planted them in the new wildflower garden. They didn't do very well, but one of the cuttings at least didn't die.

The next winter I re-read Evelyn Richardson's classic We Keep A Light, about her life in the 1930s on the island of Bon Portage, which is not far from here. She wrote that she carefully placed a honeysuckle in a patch of soil at the top of a big boulder, out of the way of harm, and later spied a lamb who had climbed up onto the boulder nibbling away at it. Ah ha! I thought.

So I stuck alder branches along the outside of the fence. Last summer they kept the lambs from reaching inside the fence and eating the asters. I hoped they would be equally effective for honeysuckle.
This year the honeysuckle is doing beautifully. I'm glad that it's a honeysuckle that's native to Atlantic Canada.
I can't really identify which of the many varieties of wild honeysuckle this is, but as you can see, it's quite fancy.
In the meantime, the honeysuckle is flourishing over at the old hotel, in places where no lamb could ever safely go. High up in a spruce tree, for instance. Deep down in the ancient cellar.
I have tried to take photographs of the old hotel before but they never came out very well. I have discovered that it's a challenge to photograph a jumbled pile of rotting boards, which is pretty much what remains. You need a focus.
A contrast.
Some tiny story, maybe of how a vine can plant itself in nothing and blossom where you least expect it, or will keep coming up year after year even when everything around it has collapsed and even when there's nobody left to admire it.
Though we are admiring it now.


Piecefulafternoon said...

The photos are lovely - and glad you saved some of the honeysuckle for your yard. I had this same one at another house and didn't bring it with me. Now I need to get a cutting and grow it again.

Your photos of the old hotel are great - and I agree, something to focus on makes piles of old lumber look fabulous.

Janet said...

I didn't know that honeysuckle was native to this province. It's exquisite! Wouldn't I love a bit of that! does it need full sun or will it be ok in partial shade?

LaurainNeb said...

I just discovered your blog and love it. My husband and I have taken two honeymoons to Nova Scotia (15 years apart) and have since had a fondness for your area of the world. We are in land-locked Nebraska, so salt air & jellyfish are just memories.

Your honeysuckle look wonderful. I am sure the snaps don't do them proper justice.

Thanks for sharing.