ancaster inn burlington-waterdown

Garden Day Trips and Special Tours

Return to Niagara Garden Tour with Frank Kershaw
Thursday, May 28, 2015
8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Departing from and returning to the TBG)
Public $145; Members $135

Back by popular demand, our well-traveled garden instructor and horticulturist Frank Kershaw will be revisiting the Niagara area with a new offering of exciting gardens.

Our first two stops will be in Niagara-on-the-lake on the Niagara Escarpment area. Two of the gardens are close to each other, one being on the escarpment’s upper bench and the other just below. Both gardens are large with multiple garden rooms brimming with woody and herbaceous plants. Unique metal and wood sculptures along with colourful planters add fascinating focal points complemented by amazing stone work. Both gardens have their share of local Carolinian plants as well as bulbs, peonies, flowering shrubs and water gardens. One of the gardens also features a 150 foot rose bed and over 30 different types of clematis. After the two stops we move closer to Niagara-on-the-lake to visit a two acre + garden with large collections of hostas, Japanese maples, unusual evergreens and much more. This country style garden oozes charm and peacefulness. An opportunity also exists at this garden to purchase plants and garden gift shop items.

Lunch will be at the Lake House restaurant, specializing in European Mediterranean cuisine including magnificent pasta dishes and decadent house-made desserts. Diners can also enjoy breathtaking views of the lake.

The afternoon garden visits include four gardens in the Grimsby and Vineland areas. The first garden surrounds a historic Classic Revival house. Plantings while fairly recent with the current owners present a varied mix of flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, raised vegetable beds. Visitors should pay particular attention to the many repurposed items in the garden that complement this older home. The next two gardens in Grimsby front a creek that winds its way through the properties and is said to accommodate spawning salmon. Owners of these properties have found various artifacts dating back centuries some of which will be on display during the visit. One of these gardens has stone walls that mimic the outline of the Niagara escarpment background as well as a romantic sunken garden. The other garden has some very unique sculptures some of which are commissioned pieces and others done by the owner. Peonies, ferns, hostas, wildflowers bulbs and Carolinian flora grace these lovely gardens.

The final garden stop is a two acre garden on the Niagara Escarpment. The garden has over the last year seen major additions with new stonework, garden architecture, pathways, plantings and sculpture. On a clear day visitors can see the outline of Toronto from its spectacular panoramic views. This masterpiece of a garden, along with the other gardens, is well worth the trip to Niagara.

burlington trip 2

Garden Lovers Tour of Inspiring Gardens in the Burlington, Waterdown, Greensville and Flamborough areas with Frank Kershaw
Thursday, June 18, 2015
8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Departing from and returning to the TBG)
Public $140; Members $130

Today’s garden outing includes seven gardens starting in Burlington and finishing up in Carlisle, Ontario. Our first garden stop is in Burlington at a well-established garden brimming with plants. The garden evokes elements of Japanese garden design in its path, structures, water features and sculptures. Plant collections are extensive including over 20 different Japanese maples, 200 different hostas and varied groundcovers. In scenic Waterdown above the Niagara Escarpment we will visit 4 very different gardens. One showcases rock, scree and trough gardens ingeniously laid out to display miniature conifers and alpine plants. Within walking distance are two additional gardens which overlook a picturesque ravine. One of these gardens has a contemporary front yard with a sculptural water feature while the other presents the welcoming image of an English cottage garden through a brick vaulted arbor. Both gardens use their ravine setting and shade to grow colourful foliage plants, ferns and annuals. Our final Waterdown garden stop is a relatively new but creative garden of a potter. This garden has a casual country feel with a touch of whimsy and imagination.

Lunch today will be at Ancaster Mill restaurant. This location on an old mill race is full of charm and of course great food. The restaurant itself is built over a waterfall-fed creek that gushes down from the Niagara escarpment. The large dining room is built out over the water, its rustic beams contrast with the formal table settings and smooth, friendly service. Ancaster Mill creates EARTH TO TABLE cuisine, sourcing impeccable local, seasonal ingredients from near-by farms and food artisans to create seasonally changing menus of fresh, local ingredients.

In the afternoon, we will visit two large gardens in the Greensville and Flamborough areas. Both gardens exceed an acre in size with large collections of woody and herbaceous plants. One of the gardens has large meandering perennial borders with eye-popping plant combinations. The other garden has over 1700 trees, shrubs, and perennials along with artistic metal sculptures.

The owners of these gardens are always on the lookout for new and exciting plants. Plant lovers will find the garden visits today stimulating and thought provoking.

City and Country Gardens Supreme: Brampton and Orangeville and Vicinity with Frank Kershaw
Thursday, July16, 2015
8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Departing from and returning to the TBG)
Public $137; Members $127

The itinerary for this tour includes 5 must see gardens. Starting in Brampton, we will visit a garden of horticultural surprises and delights including unique topiaries, standards, espalier, garden structures and garden sculptures. The plant collections are diverse and showy with plant health and maintenance high on the agenda. This garden will challenge visitors to think of gardening in new ways. Our remaining morning stop will be two large country gardens of well- experienced gardeners north of Orangeville. Both gardens ooze country charm with split-rail fences, major water features and large collections of native and non-native plants in harmony with their county settings.

Lunch today is at the nearby Mrs. Mitchell’s restaurant at Violet Hill. This restaurant is known far and wide for its fine dining, casual elegance and historic charm, including lovely gardens.  The freshest ingredients are prepared simply, combined harmoniously and presented beautifully.

After lunch and a tour of the gardens at Mrs. Mitchell’s we will visit two large country estate gardens. Both gardens reveal outstanding designs with water features, ornamental grass gardens, meandering deep perennial borders, formal gardens near the residences and major habitat gardens. Both properties display one of a kind sculptures, some over 6 meters in height.

Our garden visits today will provide lasting memories and lots to chat about on the ride back to the TBG

For more information call 416-397-4145 or email:

If for any reason, the Toronto Botanical Garden is not able to offer any of the garden destinations or restaurants noted, the Toronto Botanical Garden reserves the right to offer a comparable replacement.

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