We cordially invite you to join us here at Whistling Gardens, in Wilsonville, Ontario, nestled in Norfolk County just minutes south of Brantford and 20 minutes south of Hwy 403.
May 26, 2012 marked our official opening to the gardens. Since then, we have continued to expand all facets of the gardens.
We are now home to North America's largest public Peony Collection!
Our fall planting additions introduce a total assortment of over 1,000+ varieties just in time to mark Canada's 150th Anniversary!
The Conifer Collection now surpasses 2,300 different species, hybrids and cultivars. This collection is the largest in North America on public display. Many specimens in the collection are the only ones in the country, and also features one of the rarest plants in the world – Baishan Fir (Abies beshanzuensis). Only 3 wild specimens remain!!
Gardens & Garden Centre 2018 Opening and Closing Dates
Spring Garden Centre Opening Date: April 28th 2018
Spring Botanical Gardens Opening Date: May 1st 2018
Fall Closing Date: Saturday, October 8th at 4pm
(Afterwards Open By Appointment, contact email@example.com)
First Fountain Show Performance For The Season: Saturday, May 19th 2018
Last Fountain Show Performance For The Season: Saturday, September 30th 2018
Did We Say? Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas
or Just Because You’re A Nature Lover Too…
2018 SEASON MEMBERSHIPS, GARDEN DAY PASSES
& GARDEN CENTRE GIFT CERTIFICATES! - NOW AVAILABLE!
Garden centre and botanical gardens gift certificates make a unique gift. Season Memberships offer a savings for visitors wishing to visit throughout the season while saving 10% on their garden centre purchases year-round.
2018 & 2019 GROUP GARDEN TOURS & CONFERENCE VISITS - NOW BOOKING!
2018 & 2019 EVENT GUEST, PANELIST & KEYNOTE SPEAKER - NOW BOOKING!
2018 & 2019 GARDEN "Bliss" WEDDINGS & CELEBRATIONS - NOW RESERVING!
Spring... May thru mid June...
Celebrate the spring blooms with incredible displays of Peonies and Iris. Magnolia, Red Bud and many other flowering trees add to the magical renewal!
Summer - July, Mid August... 1,000's of summer blooms reveal their beauty, with Red Hot Poker, Foxtail Lily, Blanket Flower, Echinacea, Aruncus, Lilies and Day Lilies.
Fall... Enjoy the changing of the season when annuals are at their peak, Fall perennials Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan, Aster Blanket Flower, Ornamental Grasses plus much more!
Photo Credit: Darlene Hewson, 2017 Whistling Gardens Peony Photo Contest Winner
Visit our National Award Winning, Internationally acclaimed and one of Canada's only privately run Botanical Gardens and see why Whistling Gardens was recently voted as one of Canada’s Best Botanical Gardens. Explore nearly 20 acres where you can view over 4,000 different plants.
~ Be sure to visit during Peony Season (approx. May15th to June 30th). Over 1,000 varieties of peonies are now on display. It is the largest public collection in North America. Our conifer collection continues to attract visitors from around the world to see the 2,500 species, varieties and cultivars throughout the grounds.
~ The fountain display begins Saturday May 20th and will feature 102 fountains choreographed to new music, composed by the owner of Whistling Gardens.
~ As we are about to start our 6th season, like most gardens, they continue to evolve. The transformation of a former corn field to what they are today is an ongoing project with many new features, gardens and plant collections continually being added.
Our catalogue of woody plants is posted online and features many new, rare varieties of trees and conifers.
With so much to see and explore, we hope you can join us for an afternoon or even make a day of it. Whether you're looking for that special plant, want to see our fountains choreographed to music or just planning a day trip adventure to relax in a quiet atmosphere near a waterfall or our new two-acre pond, Whistling Gardens will create memorable experiences and cater to the senses.
Our Garden Centre continues to offer the largest selection of conifers in the country and unusual woody treasures. For several years already, Whistling Gardens has attracted collectors and gardeners across several provinces and the US. We are proud that we have been referred as the "go to" garden centre for new and unique plants.
Check Back Regularly - NEW 2018 UPDATES & ANNOUNCEMENTS EACH MONTH!
|Almost 20 acres have been cultivated and sculpted into 6 major gardens and collections. All the gardens have been seamlessly connected with wheelchair accessible walking paths. Whistling Gardens is home to the largest public collection of conifers in the world with over 2,300 species, hybrids and cultivars on site.
||Click thumbnail to download our
Gardens Site Map
A Message from the Founder
It has been such a great pleasure to meet so many people and fellow gardeners from all around the world including many celebrity garden writers, horticulturalists and curators of collections from other botanical garden and arboretums. In particular, we had a special visitor, Dr. Feng of the Beijing Botanical Gardens who is the Peony Director and plant breeder managing over 7,000 plants. He offered never ending praise for the gardens, while acknowledging our independent spirit and for establishing such a diverse collection of peonies. Donors David Maltby and Blossom Hills', Joe and Hazel Cook continue to send new varieties each season. Likewise, we also offer propagation material particularly of our conifer collection to other gardens and arboretums, to help ensure these extremely rare varieties do not disappear from cultivation.
Our focus for 2017 will be the continued mapping and expansion planting of our new dedicated Peony Garden. Once completed, there will be enough room to display the existing 1,000 plus varieties with plenty of room for new varieties in the future. This new garden development started last spring, which now features hundreds of varieties transplanted to its new garden home. Last year brought us our first seeds from our open pollinated program. Although some visitors do not like to see the seed heads on the plants, we are dedicated to collecting seeds of certain selected varieties for future development of Canadian Peonies. The garden centre is set to expand in 2017 with a large polyhouse allowing for more garden plant gifts and other seasonal products. It will also offer a much larger area to browse for plants, seeds and bulbs out of the weather. An additional seating area will also be incorporated into the area. New bench seating continues to be added throughout the botanical gardens due to the generosity of so many Garden Legacy Donors; we remain absolutely grateful for your kindness and sincerity in supporting our vision.
Our Artistic partnership with the Old Town Hall will recreate the musical magic in our fountain amphitheatre as we introduce "Bloom" our new annual Peony Festival, celebrating North American's Largest Public Peony Collection. Selected as a 2017 proud recipient of a 'Canada 150 Garden Experience' designation, awarded by the Canadian Garden Council in collaboration with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association offers a much welcome start to the season. We are now connecting to the international garden community and their visitors through this designation as a result of our garden industry association’s efforts. As a newer experience located in an intimate rural hamlet, being recognized along side of Canada’s iconic larger gardens continues our growth momentum and desire to achieve an economic driver status for our county.
Reflections.... After five seasons, we have watched the gardens in its opening year go through one of the worst droughts in many years, 2 of the coldest consecutive winters 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 in 40 years or longer, shattering records in some cases since records were first kept in this county back in the 1800's. It was a tough but great learning experience and an opportunity to see exactly how plants would react to such extreme conditions. Last May 26-27th 2015, we recorded -6.8C at the farm, a night that most gardeners and agriculturalists won't soon forget. That night the frost damaged, injured and destroyed annuals, several blooming trees and shrubs. So what is a gardener to do? Well, we just started over again with replacing plants as resources became available. Mother Nature always has the last word! She was kinder in 2016 due to the milder winter temperatures, a much welcomed break this season!
Even after all that, the gardens continue to flourish and mature. Some might say they are growing at a "tree"mendous rate. We witnessed the first planted tree in the gardens exceed the 50' mark in 2015 in just seven seasons. Even for an Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) that is pretty impressive, growing initially 9'+ a year. Many of the native tree plantings have already reached 30'. We continue to grow, to plant and to add new features in the gardens every year.
The gardens have come a long way in such a short time. So many visitors assume this garden already existed, or perhaps they were passed down or inherited prior to "our arrival". Even more unique, we are one of the very few privately run botanical gardens and do not receive any municipal, provincial or federal funding of any kind and yet the Whistling Gardens' plant collections, although still young, match or exceed some of the largest most well respected botanical gardens. In fact 2010 marked the last year for soya beans and corn where the bird aviary is now located and most of the tree plantings with the exception of the conifer garden, took place in 2010. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement as we share our story of transforming a "corn field into a botanical garden". Thank you! We truly hope you will come out and watch us continue to grow, after all it's not every day you get to witness the birth of a new garden.
As subtle hints keep suggesting the global garden community is discovering our destination, we remain optimistic that maybe we are just the little garden that could. Here's to 2017!
Yours in Gardening
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