The 8th Annual 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail is ready to celebrate the Year of the Garden! Part of Canada’s Garden Route, this area’s Trail features 12 remarkable locations throughout Leeds Grenville. The famous garden tour gained national notoriety in 2017 as the only trail given the ‘Canada 150 Garden Experience Designation.’
“After two years, it’s exciting to be back,” said David Cybulski, Trail Co-chair. “We love to share our gardens and we hope the residents of Leeds Grenville, as well as visitors, take full advantage of this opportunity. The gardens are ever-evolving and you’ll see some really big changes in several gardens,” he said.
Showcasing horticulture in this region, many of the gardens also have added special experiences including a Monarch butterfly Way Station, native butterflies, honeybees and birds, fountains, ponds, contemporary art exhibits, statuary and even classes in a teepee.
There is no admission fee to visit the gardens, though some owners welcome donations to their favourite charity. Both guided and self-guided tours are available throughout the season. Hours and contacts vary, so please visit each garden’s page for full details as some are by appointment only.
In celebration of National Garden Day on June 18, all of the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail gardens will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all to enjoy.
Gardeners are encouraged to plant red this season to pay tribute to lives lost during the pandemic, to honour frontline workers, or to simply express their Canadian Pride!
The 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail launched in 2015. A modified Trail was offered last year due to the pandemic but despite that, it was a big success. Organizers saw people wanted a return to nature, spending time and learning more about caring for their own gardens or taking in local, low-key attractions.
Rideau Woodland Ramble, the garden centre near Burritt’s Rapids, has been with the trail since the beginning. The Ramble experienced the busiest season in its 22-year history last year. It is expecting this year to be the same or even better.
“Everyone is craving the peace and serenity of the garden. Now, more than ever, the garden represents a tonic for these crazy times,” said Ramble owner Dave Dunn. “What a beautiful gift resulting from the efforts of planting and maintaining a garden! Come Ramble!”
Rideau Woodland Ramble:
This 7-acre destination is nationally known by gardeners, collectors, horticulturalists and designers as one of Canada’s top garden displays and garden centre. Located in a verdant woodland setting, the gardens comprise significant collections of conifers, Japanese Maples, grasses and Hostas, as well as a wide range of unusual trees, shrubs and perennials. Garden rooms and rambling trails immerse you in garden settings that showcase Magnolia and Rhododendrons in spring and give way to a thoughtfully planted succession of blooms.
Don’t miss the dramatic pond full of Koi, or the Pavilion Art Gallery featuring the Garden and Wildlife Art of Dave Dunn. Follow the Covid-19 Protocols and come Ramble!
The cleverly-named A Labour of Love on Porter Road in Oxford Station, is the result of the labour of owners Kaye and John Love. Beginning as a century farmstead, this country garden has evolved and now boasts a wrap-around front porch, a secluded Japanese inspired courtyard featuring a luscious pond and bubbling rock, and a large pool with ample seating areas. Beyond the courtyard lie expansive lawns, dazzling flowerbeds and a large greenhouse. A cedar arch leads to a large vegetable bed attractively laid out around an charming gazebo walled with stained glass panels. A second cedar arch leads to a large naturalized pond which is home to many goldfish, turtles and frogs. This beautifully landscaped park-like setting is a delightful surprise along a country road.
All tours of the property must be pre-booked, appointment only. All tours are guided. There is no entrance fee, but donations are accepted for the Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary, Kemptville. www.bigskyranch.ca
To learn more about the trail, joining the trail or to view a map, please visit the Garden Trail website at gardentrail.1000islandsandrideaucanal.com.