Kelowna’s Hot Garden Trail

Discover Kelowna's wonderful collection of public gardens, herb farms and plant nurseries.

Credit: Christina Symons

It’s only natural that sun-drenched beaches, estate wineries and orchard fruits come to mind when thinking of Kelowna in B.C.’s sunny Okanagan. But did you know there’s also a wonderful collection of public gardens, herb farms and plant nurseries to discover? Grab your shadiest garden hat as we explore Kelowna’s hot garden trail. First stop is a tranquil classic Japanese garden, right in the centre of downtown Kelowna, next to City Hall. Kasugai Gardens is a joint project between Kelowna and its sister city Kasugai, in Japan. Inside the formal walled space, visitors are enchanted by the central pond, heritage pine trees, soothing water features, bridges and tea garden. The pure Zen garden with its signature white sand and pebbles is the perfect place to contemplate the sanctuary of this idyllic public garden. Nearby, take a stroll through Guisachan Heritage Park, featuring an Edwardian perennial garden established by Elaine Cameron, whose family operated a dairy farm on the property in the early 1900s. The garden is a fascinating display, having been meticulously restored to its original 1920s splendour using Elaine’s own garden journals as reference. Next, follow your nose to Okanagan Lavender Farm. The beguiling fragrance will lead you through stunning purple fields, with displays of over 60 kinds of lavender. Pick an armful of stems from the u-pick bed and afterwards enjoy a glass of refreshing lavender lemonade or lavender ice cream. Then browse the charming country store for lavender keepsakes, such as handmade wreaths and beauty products. A visit to Kelowna’s countryside is not complete without a stop at Elysium Garden and Nursery, a stunning four-acre (1.6-ha) perennial, herb and display garden, fashioned from a heritage apple orchard. The nursery features specialty roses, uncommon perennials, shrubs and grasses. Self-guided tours of the ­gardens and walking seminars are offered for visitors. Finally, if a wine garden is on your agenda, be sure to check out the glorious hanging-basket display at Gray Monk Estate Winery and the beautiful annual exhibit and organic vegetable garden at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Getting there: For information on how to get to Kelowna, where to stay and what to do, contact Tourism Kelowna at 1-800-663-4345 or visit Okanagan Lavender Farm 1-866-764-7795 Elysium Garden Nursery 250-491-1368 Gray Monk Estate Winery 1-800-663-4205 Summerhill Pyramid Winery 1-800-667-3538 Writer and photographer Christina Symons delights in capturing stories and images about homes and gardens, design and lifestyles.