Ontario is home to many fabulous gardens including the largest botanical garden in Canada. But, did you know that Whistling Gardens in Norfolk County is home to the largest public peony collection in all of North America with 1,200 species of peonies?
Whistling Gardens is considered to have one of the most complete peony collections in the whole world.
In addition to the peony collection, the Whistling Gardens has over 8,000 colourful perennials of different varieties on display. They also have a huge Iris collection of 400 varieties that bloom in May followed by peonies in June and the beautiful Lilies in July.
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The Le Marais or Marsh Garden, inspired by the one at the Palace of Versailles, features many aquatic and semi-aquatic plants that are part of this living tree fountain.
Alpine plants, cacti, succulents, dwarf conifers and Asian maples can be found in the Rock Alpine Garden. These plants lie among limestone, granite and fossils. The fossils are the remains of many plants and aquatic life, from the Lower Devonian and Upper Silurian Periods when this area was a sea. In the garden, you can also see a stunning blue river formed by 1,200 Muscari bulbs.
You can also visit the temple garden, a custom-made iron dome balanced on 5 pillars. The temple garden is surrounded by 4 fountains and many gorgeous floral displays and statues. Can you think of an even more perfect place for a wedding or a special celebration?
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The Conifer collection is equally impressive and has 2,000 different species, hybrids and cultivars and is also the largest collection in North America! Many of the species in their collection are the only ones in Canada and some of the rarest plants in the whole world, such as the Baishan Fir (Abies beshanzuensis) which has only 3 wild species remaining. They also have the Tree Peony and the Itoh Hybrid Peonies.
The plant collection at the Gardens also consists of several Carolinian trees that are native and rare.
Peacocks, Egyptian Geese, Royal Mute Swans and several species of Ornamental Pheasants and Ringneck Doves as well as the smallest breed of chicken (Serama) are some of the birds you will find in the Bird Aviary.
The garden has an Everything Birds Program for the entire family where you can learn about all these different species for just $10 per person.
The fountain amphitheatre was inspired by the Palace of Versaille and has granite walls and outer wings of 400 feet. There are three, 80-foot staircases that meet behind the stage. The theatre has a backdrop of 90 fountains and is surrounded by gardens. You can enjoy the fountain show at this stunning theatre. The music and choreography for the show are composed by Darren Heimbecker, the owner of the Whistling Garden.
Whistling Gardens was voted as Canada’s best botanical garden by Toronto Star’s National Garden Writer Sonia Day.
PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO WHISTLING GARDENS
What: Visit the 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 4,500 different plants. It is considered to have one of the most complete peony collections in the whole world.
The Whistling Garden has partnered with St. James Eatery to provide visitors with yummy, fresh lunches including sandwiches, wraps, salads, desserts and drinks.
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You can take yoga and meditation classes in the Garden for just $22. They also have Reflexology classes for couples teaching you how to give basic foot reflexology ($50 per couple) and Reiki level one classes where they develop your awareness of energy and how to use it for self healing ($15 per person).
They also have a number of different programs that will be starting soon, such as medicinal gardening, herbal detoxification and skin deep natural beauty.
Connect with nature in their Horticulture therapy which helps you achieve inner peace and relaxation. They also have a floral design workshop in which they teach you the elements, styles and principles to follow when making flower arrangements, wreaths, garlands and so much more.
The Whistling Gardens has many family workshops for the entire family to have a great time, such as the tea tasting experience in which you learn about wild plants, drink tea made from them and learn their medicinal properties. You can also learn about beekeeping and pollinators at the bee apiary and taste some great natural honey. The Garden has a wet felting wool workshop too in which you can learn different felting techniques and even create your own piece.
You can explore this magical garden on your own, or you can take a guided tour around the garden for $13.75 per person. Guided tours for groups of 10 or more are $12.75 per person.
The cost of admission at the Botanical Gardens is $13.75 for adults, $12.75 for seniors (60+), $6.50 for ages 5-18 and $35 for families ( 2 adults and kids under 18).
When to visit:
Botanical Gardens will open on June 2nd, 2021 until Thanksgiving Monday.
Wednesday through Sunday | 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Spring Hours – June:
Open Tuesday through Sunday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Monday. Open Holiday Mondays
Summer Hours – July, August and September:
Wednesday thru Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Holiday Mondays
Whistling Gardens Ltd., 698 Concession 3, Wilsonville
Whistling Gardens is located at the edge of Norfolk County. It is 90 minutes from Toronto and Niagara Falls, 45 mintes from Hamilton, and 70 minutes from London.