Most public gardens have a strong core of volunteers and a rewarding social scene in addition to an opportunity to make a difference. Learn from experienced horticulturalists and reap the benefits of fresh air and exercise. Volunteer gardening is usually seasonal with regularly-scheduled times, but some areas require occasional help for special projects (e.g., invasive species removal). Most municipalities have sporadic invasive plant removal programs for the public park nearest you. No matter your skill level, availability, or physical prowess you would be welcomed at a local public garden. Please get in touch with the garden directly.
These gardens are open to the public and worth a visit, whether to inspire a local or impress a visitor. Some gardens are free to visit; others have an admission charge. Please visit each Garden’s website for specific information. Let us know if there are any Public Gardens that we have missed by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A heritage garden property in Victoria, BC, created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi in the mid to late-1940s and maintained and improved by them throughout their life together. Currently being restored to its former glory.
Specializing in Afternoon Tea and light lunches, The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden offers a seasonal array of menu items using locally-grown produce as well as a varied tea selection.
Beacon Hill Park
With 164 acres of park land, Beacon Hill Park features an Alpine Rock Garden, Grassland, Rose Garden, Garry Oak woods, and a petting zoo. The Alpine Rock Garden was established as a Canadian Centennial project in 1967 by the Vancouver Island Rock and Alpine Garden Society and spring is a wonderful time to view these early-bloomers.
One of the world’s premier floral show gardens, family-run, and over 100 years in the making.
More than 1,500 rhododendrons and azaleas, including 200 collected rhododendron species, and a spectacular range of companion plants. Located on the south-west edge of the University of Victoria campus.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
One of the rarest ecosystems in Canada.
Gorge Park, Esquimalt
This is North America’s first Japanese Gardens, established in 1907. The gardens went into decline in the 1940’s and has gradually been rebuilt, incorporating perennial borders, a rose garden, and many fine heritage trees, including a few hundred-year old umbrella pines.
Government House Gardens
The Government House grounds includes 22 acres of a rare Garry Oak ecosystem, and 14 acres of formal gardens. The majority of the gardens are maintained by The Friends of the Government House Gardens Society.
Home to Royal Roads University and situated on the shores of Esquimalt Lagoon with a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, these gardens have been in existence for almost a century. Built by James Dunsmuir, son of coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, they are among the finest surviving Edwardian gardens in Canada.
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific
The Gardeners’ Garden with nine acres of spectacular gardens showcasing over 10,000 varieties of plants, the majority of which are labeled. Home to the Pacific Horticulture College, the Takata Gardens, the Doris Page Winter Garden, and boasting the only outdoor Bonsai garden in Western Canada and the second largest Bonsai Garden in all of Canada.
Outerbridge Park is a small park located off Royal Oak Drive east from the Broadmead shopping centre. It contains native habitat, horticultural plantings, two ponds, a rock water fountain, and a level gravel pathway that winds by ponds and meadows and is bordered by beds of flowering herbs, shrubs, and trees.
Access to the park is off Rock Street or Cumberland Road. Playfair Park boasts a large grove of mature rhododendrons and azaleas with a Garry Oak meadow and a 300-foot perennial border. These beautiful displays are most impressive in the spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas start to bloom. Some of the rhododendrons and azaleas in the Park are over 50 years old. Don’t forget to visit the park in May for a spectacular show of colour.
Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary
Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is a wild oasis in the heart of the urban landscape and includes two distinct ecosystems: the beautiful marshland of Swan Lake and the spectacular Garry Oak meadow on Christmas Hill. Both are home to an incredible array of native plants and wild animals.