Arctic kiwis, teapot flowers, and giant spades - all this whimsy and more can be found at Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews.
This not-for-profit, 27-acre horticultural garden is divided into over a dozen sections, and filled with more than 50,000 different perennials, "themed gardens, engaging animals, an annual National Sculpture Competition, ponds, streams, old-growth Acadian forest, activities for children and much more." It's beyond impressive, and we spent an entire afternoon exploring it.
Through each of the gardens, they've placed a strong emphasize on education, and we learned a great deal as we made our way through.
Take these arctic kiwis, for example, which grow in their Edible Garden. Also known as ‘hardy’ kiwis, they’re tiny with smooth green exteriors, and can grow just about anywhere.
There were endless flowers, herbs, and even hops growing overhead.
One of my favourite areas was the “Scents and Sensitivity Garden,” designed specifically for the visually-impaired. Each plant was labeled in braille, and picked for its aromas and texture, like this fragrant, woolly lamb's ear.
In addition to the thousands of plants, there was also a Dutch windmill, a labyrinth to get lost in, and llamas and ducks spending quality time together.
Each year, Kingsbrae hosts a competition for sculptors, with submission from across the country and a first prize of $20,000.
The sculpture garden is filled with the winners, which makes for a spectacular sight. It was like wandering through a grassy outdoor gallery, with birds flying amongst the art.
He actually began his cooking career at Kingsbrae, when he was just 13 and helped in the garden's cafe. Years later, he moved his own restaurant back to the very place he'd started.
Lunch was incredible. Our favourites were the ‘lobster cappuccino,’ a creamy lobster mushroom soup (coffee-free!) topped with foamed milk,
and a gorgeous lobster risotto topped with shaved slices of Parmesan, saffron, and an edible flower (I promised lobster, remember?)
We were quite thrilled to hear about Chef Alex’s husky pup, who he’s training to help forage many of the mushrooms they use in the restaurant.
A huge thank you to everyone at Kingsbrae and Savour in the Garden for hosting us. We were so happy to learn more about what can be grown, foraged, and cooked on the east coast, and we highly, highly recommend spending an afternoon wandering around Kingsbrae followed by a meal at Savour. Oh, how I wish we could do it again!
Instead, I shall have a serious think about what I'd accomplished by the age of 22.......