The world class Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is a horticultural marvel located in beautiful Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, the first permanent European settlement in North America (1605). It is here that the men of Samuel Champlain’s Port Royal Habitation first experimented with grain crops in 1606.
Within seventeen acres of paradise, the Historic Gardens showcases gardening methods, designs and materials representing Canadian history.
• The Pine Forest represents the huge forests which once covered a vast area, long before Europeans settled in North America. Part of the traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq, this area was valued for access to resources and inland routes.
• La Maison acadienne is based on a 1671 time period when Port-Royal (later Annapolis Royal) was the capital of Acadie. This is the only archeologically authenticated replica of a pre-deportation Acadian dwelling in existence. The potager is based on journals from the Acadian era, while the orchard and willow hedge feature heritage varieties from the 17th Century.
• The Governor’s Garden presents a garden of herbs, flowers and heritage 18th Century apple trees arranged according to the traditions of the 1710 to 1749 period, when Annapolis Royal was the capital of Nova Scotia, then under British rule.
• The Victorian Garden contains over 3,000 vibrantly colourful annuals. The selection of exotic and heritage plants, set in elegant symmetry, reflects Victorian tastes and the wealth of Annapolis Royal during « the age of sail. »
• The Innovative Garden demonstrates modern horticultural methods and is a model for visitors interested in how to design a compact and sustainable vegetable garden.
The historically based core gardens are linked by paths through many other displays featuring plant collections, garden art, water features and natural areas. Connecting pathways look westward over dykelands, evocative of a way of life centuries ago.
One of the most magnificent of the collections, by any standards, is the Rose Collection which has more than 270 cultivars, from ancient roses like the Apothecary Rose through to modern hybrids including roses of the Canadian Explorer, Parkland and Artist series. With thousands of colourful and fragrant blossoms, it is the largest rose collection in the Maritime region.
The Historic Gardens contains an astonishing display of horticultural diversity. Explore a hillside rock garden, perennial beds, ornamental grasses, azaleas and rhododendrons, a native plant garden, and the hydrangea, day lily, heather, evergreen and seasonal collections. Other features include the iconic Laburnum Arbour, the fruit bearing PawPaw, living fossils such as the Dawn Redwood and Ginkgo biloba, and the majestic weeping American Elm.
There are many unique ways to add to your Historic Gardens Experience, from guided tours or children’s scavenger hunts to hallmark events like Wine and Roses. You may also want to linger on the patio of our Elm Tree Café and spend time exploring our Gardens Shop.