Whistling Gardens opens ambitious new venture

Kat Fox

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You may remember the “Worth The Drive” profile of Whistling Gardens, a garden centre near Brantford, Ont., specializing in conifers, which appeared in Garden Making‘s #7 2011 in fall 2011. Owner Darren Heimbecker has been hard at work since then, building a private botanical garden and getting ready for the grand opening on May 26.

We had a chance to visit Whistling Gardens this week, and were inspired by the detail and care going into formal gardens replicating those from the Palace of Versailles, and others inspired by Middle Eastern geometric design and Greek temples. As plant lovers, we were happy to see plants are labelled, making them easy to identify as you walk the paths. It also doesn’t hurt that there are thousands of plants for sale, too.

As with all gardens, there is the need to wait for and work with nature, and this can be seen in the design (a willow tree that will eventually be a living fountain and other trees gradually forming the roofs of two gazebos) and in the care that goes into not disrupting the habitats of turtles and birds.

Whistling Gardens hopes to become a destination for non-gardeners, too, as there are plans for yoga and art classes, ice skating, a restaurant and more. Plus, there is a massive stone amphitheatre, with water displays synchronized to lights and music. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes the stage for an orchestra or a play, Darren says.

Darren continues to have an amazing collection of conifers, but this year there are even more display gardens and plants to interest visitors.

Whistling Gardens is located at 698 Concession 3, Wilsonville, Ont. (15 minutes south of Hwy.403, near Brantford)

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