Posted on March 21, 2011
North Island Garden Guide
With yesterday’s Spring Equinox, today is officially the first full day of one of the brightest seasons. The sun is in the sky longer, dormant flower bulbs start to bloom and trees begin budding gorgeous green leaves. As Spring has now sprung, here is part one of my guide to Vancouver Island’s most breathtaking gardens.
Old San Josef Wagon Road, Holberg, BC
In 1910, a Norweigan by the name of Bernt Ronning build his homestead around what is now a garden named in his honour. Featuring exotic trees, bulbs, shrubs, flowers and even Monkey Puzzle Trees, it’s well worth the trek. Find Ronning’s Garden about 65 kilometres west of Port Hardy along the road to Cape Scott Provincial Park.
Photo: Joel Tullock on Flickr
The Shephards’ Garden [website]
Port McNeill, BC
Kissing the banks of the Nimpkish River, Shephard’s Garden is a four-acre flora and fauna paradise. This is the time of year when the garden really begins to bloom, growing everything from perennials to berry bushes and everything in between. Watch for signs on Highway 19 when heading south out of Port McNeill.
Photo: Shephard’s Garden
Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens [website]
6183 Whitaker Road, Courtenay, BC
I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up near Woodland Gardens for most of my life, so it holds a special place for me. Featuring gorgeous colours in the summer, a twinkling Santa Claus woodland in the winter and a fantastic art festival each Spring, Woodland Gardens is a must-see.
Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park [website]
61 Filberg Road, Comox, BC
Overlooking the Island’s majestic mountain spine and glassy blue ocean water, the Filberg Lodge and its surrounding park has long been the pride of Comox. Originally a homestead, the park is now nine acres of lush grass and towering trees while home to deer and squirrels. The annual Filberg Festival draws tens of thousands of people to enjoy some of BC’s best artisans and entertainers every summer. (Personally, I go for the fresh-squeezed lemonade.)
Milner Gardens and Woodland [website]
2179 West Island Highway, Qualicum Beach, BC
I was both surprised and delighted with what I found in this majestic park tucked into the woods off the highway. Whether you’re interested in wandering amongst giant fir trees or nibbling on dainty sandwiches and sipping tea while overlooking the ocean, Milner Gardens will provide. Also interesting is the Children’s Food Garden, designed to give local kids an appreciation for the environment in a hands-on experience.
Tofino Botanical Gardens [website]
1084 Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino, BC
Not knowing what to expect at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, it turns out I found much more than I could have imagined. Winding trails to the waterfront, a botanical wonderland for children, incredibly sculptural displays and even a cafe with fresh-baked goods were a part of my experience at the gardens. Plan ahead and give yourself ample time to explore the entire 12 acres that the Tofino Botanical Gardens will enchant you with.
Stay tuned for part two of the series later this week, covering the South Island…
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