Every June and July, the roadsides of Nova Scotia become populated with pretty spiked flowers – lupins. One wag said that this should be the Provincial weed, as the lupin is not native to Nova Scotia, but it sure likes it here.
One story that appears repeatedly in horticulture websites and so on is that the lupin was brought to Nova Scotia by a Dutch lady living at Chebogue Point here in Yarmouth County. Often named as the perpetrator is one Phoebe Robbins. Phoebe definitely did live on Chebogue Point in the mid-1800’s, she’d be a 2nd cousin of mine a few times removed. The problem with that story, though, is that she has zero Dutch connections that I know of, so one begins to wonder. Another story is that after World War 2 many soldiers wanted to bring back souvenirs from Europe and so some brought back lupin seeds. Another still says that a few Dutch settlers brought the seeds with them when they came over, or imported them from family back in Holland.
In reality, the lupin is actually native to western Canada, so a just as likely spread story is that it arrived naturally via long distance spread, or that people from our west brought them home with them. Whatever the case, lupins like it here in the Maritimes and so Nova Scotia has many of them.
Out for a drive this week, I spotted this pretty stand of lupins going alongside a back road and couldn’t help but take the picture of the sight. With the sunlight dappling the bright flowers, and the bees buzzing in and out, it was a magical few moments to be standing there and taking it all in.
In a few weeks, the lupins will go by and we’ll be into actual meteorological summer, but one of the signs of the season for me is the arrival of the lupin blooms as a harbinger of the summer to come.