From small oases in the wilderness to expansive gardens of international renown, demonstration gardens to heritage properties, and native plant gardens to formal English-style gardens — Vancouver Island is truly a gardener’s paradise!
Guided garden tours are available in the Vancouver Island region. Some tours include several gardens and can be customized to include private and public gardens, as well as garden attractions.
While many of the Island’s gardens are open year-round, garden-touring season is generally in full bloom by April and continues into the fall months. The gardens featured in this website range in size from perfect gems of less than an acre to grand estates. Garden themes range from traditional to funky, tropical to woodland, edible to educational. Each garden is distinctive and offers visitors a unique experience.
Workshops and seminars are offered in some locations, and annual horticultural events take place in several communities.
Finnerty GardensVictoria home
One of Canada’s best collections of rhododendrons is on display in the Finnerty Gardens. This 6.5-acre garden contains over 4,000 different trees and shrubs with more than 1,500 rhododendron and azalea plants, including 200-plus collected rhododendron species and a spectacular range of companion plants. Three ponds provide habitat for birds and plants such as the towering timber bamboo. Finnerty Gardens provides a rich and changing array of colour, scent, form, and texture all year round. In April and May, you will see the rhododendrons at their best.
Rollin Art CentrePort Alberni home
The Rollin Art Centre houses a Fine Arts Gallery, a gift shop that showcases work from over 85 local artists, and amazing gardens. The gardens are a show piece for the community where weddings and special events are held. Of note are three gardens, a traditional Japanese garden which was a gift from Abashiri, Japan (Port Alberni’s sister city), a Native garden showcasing indigenous plants, and a children’s garden complete with a bridge and sundial. There is also a replica of Port Alberni’s first bandstand and the elegant concrete balustrade and classical fountain, both designed by Port Alberni resident, Peter Szachiv.
The Cowichan Valley Lavender LabyrinthDuncan home
Nestled in the Cowichan Valley, the two-acre farm is a world away from the rushes of city life, yet only a few minutes from Duncan and about an hour from both Victoria and Nanaimo. Come and stroll in the labyrinth, rest a while on one of the benches, relish the serenity and savour the fragrance of 23 different lavenders, or cut your own bouquet during our U-pick season – early July through August. The farm’s aromatic gift shop has items for you to take home for bath or culianry use, or the garden. Plan to visit us July 20, 2013 for our Lavender and Arts Festival.
The Gardens at HCPVictoria home
Just 12 km from downtown Victoria and just down the road from Butchart Gardens are the year-round Gardens at HCP. Named one of the 10 best gardens in Canada by the Ottawa Citizen, this 43-hectare site includes a nature conservancy and demonstration gardens.
Highlights include magnificent rhododendrons, an outstanding winter garden,hardy plant borders, and a collection of bonsai in the serene Takata Japanese Garden. New in 2012 is a sculpture garden.
Sooke Harbour HouseSooke home
Come and lose yourself amid more than 230 herbs, edible flowers, vegetables, and a mosaic of wild and cultivated salad greens buffeted by mellifluous ocean breezes. Taste native nodding onions, savour lemony tuberous begonias, or touch scented geraniums that will perfume your hands.
Our 28-guest-room hotel offers year-round, daily seaside organic garden tours at 10:30 a.m., open to everyone. Edible flower salads, grand fir and salal berry sorbet, and other fragrant garden surprises will delight your taste buds. Stay in our Herb Garden or Edible Blossom guest rooms for a delectable garden experience.
Tofino Botanical GardensTofino home
Feel like a child again in one of the most whimsical and inspirational botanical gardens you’ll ever visit. Discover and learn about the plants and people of Clayoquot Sound, amuse yourself with chicken watching (sightings guaranteed!) and alligator spotting, and taste the food grown in the kitchen garden for Darwin’s Cafe. Featuring sculpture and natural history, the trails, huts, and boardwalks on this 12-acre site provide accessible exploration and fun for all ages.
Victorian Garden Gate ManorSayward home
Come join Darlene on a guided tour where you will explore lush surroundings, majestic heights of the hillside gardens, rose arbours leading to the formal courtyard, and banks of rhododendrons among this 40-acre haven. Marvel under nine-foot tall delphiniums reaching for the sky or discover our woodlands trails flourishing with trees more than 8o years old that make way for the magnificent height of the rock walls. Come treat yourself and make reservations for tea in the garden, nourishing both body and soul.
Milner Gardens & WoodlandQualicum Beach home
There’s nowhere else quite like Milner – a beautiful public retreat where a historic estate and wild garden are buffered from the rest of the world by one of the last remaining stands of old growth Coastal Douglas Fir; a community oasis that rejuvenates the soul while educating about and inspiring care for the natural world. Enjoy a traditional English tea service where Royals once visited.
Hazelwood Herb FarmLadysmith home
Nestled in five acres of rustic woodland and meadow, Hazelwood Herb Farm has been home to a large variety of herb plants in both formal display and working gardens for more than 20 years. The farm also features a nursery and gift shop selling goods made on the farm. Sure to please the gourmet as well as those seeking natural skin care products.
Hazelwood Farm is located just a few minutes off the Island Highway, just behind the Nanaimo airport. Drop by and see us. We have a garden bench waiting just for you.
Kitty Coleman Woodland GardensCourtenay home
Recognized as one of the world’s finest informal gardens. Come and explore our unique woodland gardens amid the tranquil beauty of 24 forested acres. Experience the splendour of more than 3,500 rhodos, companion plants, an ocean stone labyrinth, and water features thriving in a beautiful, natural setting. Linda Amelia Hearst says, “Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens is a feast for the senses,
and nature’s healing powers contained in this serene beauty bring a calmness and tranquility to the soul.” Celebrate the Art and Bloom Festival, Victoria Day Weekend; Artisans’ Festival, Labour Day Weekend; and Christmas events.
Crystal CoveTofino home
Scattered throughout our site are log cabins on the beach and RV sites nestled in the trees. Our gardens, an infusion of classical English Cottage Garden and Pacific North West Coast Naturals, weave through all and meander down to the beach. Learn about our compost tea on the website and see how abundant bloom and foliage can be pesticide free. Our parking is limited, but you are welcome to come and take a stroll… just don’t forget your camera.
Ask about our garden tours.
St. Ann's AcademyVictoria home
A former girls’ school and convent, St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site’s 6.25 acres of heritage gardens is an oasis just one block from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. With blossoms from the heritage orchard and rhododendrons in the spring, lush perennial beds and rose gardens in the summer, and brilliant foliage of the arboretum in fall and winter, St. Ann’s has something for every season. Have a picnic lunch in our park-like garden and orchard, or reflect in the peaceful Novitiate Garden. A self-guided tour of the grounds, including new outdoor interpretive signs, is available.
Victoria Butterfly GardensBrentwood Bay home
Victoria Butterfly Gardens offers a rare opportunity to experience a tropical jungle. Home to over 6,000 exotic butterflies, tropical ducks, stunning flamingos, 30 different species of tropical birds, 2 chameleons, 3 varieties of geckos, 4 varieties of poison dart frogs, Sulcata and red-footed tortoises, turtles and giant koi.
Located just 5 minutes from The Butchart Gardens, our indoor jungle is warm and aromatic. The Gardens features stunning blooms and thousands of tropical plants.
Abkhazi GardenVictoria home
Abkhazi Garden offers an escape from the rush of modern life. Created in 1946 by Prince and Princess Abkhazi, it is a heritage garden famous for its majestic trees, rhododendrons and dramatic vistas. The garden is located only minutes from downtown Victoria yet it is an exquisite and pristine oasis filled with beauty. No matter which month of the year you choose to visit, the garden is magnificent in eery season.
The Butchart GardensVictoria home
Spectacular beauty in all seasons at this National Historic Site still owned by the Butchart family. Enjoy spring’s countless tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths; summer’s glorious Rose Garden; late summer and autumn’s perennial borders and Japanese maples; the Magic of Christmas light displays and outdoor skating rink. Music under the stars, Night Illuminations, Saturday Fireworks, and eco-friendly boat tours all happen in the summer. Enjoy the Rose Carousel with 30 animals and two chariots. Superb seed and gift store on site.
Hatley ParkVictoria home
Experience, discover, and enjoy the majesty of Hatley Castle, gardens, and estate; located 25 minutes west of British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria.
Escape into a tranquil paradise as you immerse yourself in the beauty of our many heritage gardens, walk our spectacular trails, or enjoy a visit to the castle museum and gift shop.