Enjoy a daffodil walk in Tatamagouche
Ashton’s Garden Centre adds the family attraction to its nursery business
RICHARD MACKENZIE TRURO NEWS richard.mackenzie @saltwire.com
TATAMAGOUCHE - Adding to the already many reasons to visit the Tatamagouche area in the spring is the new Ashton’s Woodland Daffodil Walk. Located as part of Ashton’s Garden Centre on Upper River John Road, the walk was a way for Michael Ashton to incorporate a little of what he left behind in England when he moved to Tatamagouche roughly four years ago. “One of the things I missed was the daffodils in the U.K.,” he said. “You don’t really see them en masse here like you do there. The National Trust properties, they’re just covered in them because they planted them years ago. “Everyone has heard about the tulips in Holland but a lot of people don’t realize the U.K. is the largest supplier of daffodils. So I missed that and thought, well, I’ll plant some here.” The planting started a couple of years ago and in that time, thousands of bulbs have been planted around a developed walking trail through woodland and along the brook, near the garden centre. The roughly 20-minute walk is complete with artistic signage that is both fun and informative. There are also frames hanging for the pictures, so visitors can capture the lush backdrop and their time spent on the path. “There are about 20 different varieties of daffodils planted in here,” Ashton said. “It’s designed to flower continuously up to a 12-week period. We definitely know it goes for four to five weeks, which is why we contained it (the walks) to May at the moment … in the future, we’ll extend it a bit.” Along some parts of the walk, daffodils line the route, creating a picturesque pathway. “No one is doing anything like this in Atlantic Canada and, as far as we are aware, it’s the only one in North America,” Ashton said. “The plan is, depending on how popular it is obviously, I would extend the walk. We have another 11 acres we can extend into. And the great thing about doing a springtime daffodil walk, it’s before the mosquitos and black flies and all the rest come out.” The centre held a special start-up day on April 30 and, despite cool and damp weather, even some snow flurries, numerous people made the trek to the centre to do the walk. “It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Angie Lafferty who was visiting the area from Covehead, P.E.I. “It’s very well laid out – thoughtful. And I liked the stories along the way to explain your journey and what is upcoming. “It’s a perfect place to take your family out for a stroll, pick up some flowers (at the centre) … I highly recommend it.” Ashton’s partner Angus Bonnyman was welcoming people to the location on the day. “It has been a great turnout,” he said while pouring a hot drink for a grateful visitor. “The weather isn’t great, but April showers bring May flowers, and we’re just happy to see people coming out and enjoying the walk.” Getting back to its uniqueness, Ashton said a lot of walks for tourists in Nova Scotia while beautiful can be a little demanding. “If you’re not that fit and healthy, some of the walks are long to do,” he said. “This is nice. Even if you have young children, you can go around this quite easily, it’s not so much a problem. We cater to people who can’t normally go on a walk.” He hopes to make it even more accessible in the future so those with mobility issues and in wheelchairs could enjoy the stroll. He said the only section difficult right now is along the brook where the path slopes down a little bit towards the water. “Also, in the future, we would like to add more environmental and ecological information,” he said. “It would be nice to educate people on how woodlands work and things like that.” The walks are available on weekends throughout May including Victoria Day Monday, May 23. For more information, visit Ashton’s website ashtongardencentre.ca and click on the events link, or go to their Facebook page.