28 January 2015


Director, Whistling Gardens Botanical Garden.  Canada

Garden Tourism Awards – How They Make a Difference

Darren worked at a nursery for 18 years as a propagator, shipper and field manager purchasing a 56 acre farm in Wilsonville, ON just south of Brantford. Whistling Gardens nursery and garden centre got its official start in 2006 and soon attracted plant collectors from across Canada and the United States.

On May 26th 2012, Darren opened Canada’s Newest Horticultural Playground. The botanical garden has 20 landscaped acres. It features classical garden styles some of which are inspired by old Renaissance gardens of Europe including the Palace of Versailles. Most gardens are surrounded by natural man-made plantings and man-made water features. His conifer collection is the largest in the world with approx. 2,500 different species and cultivars. A recently donated collection of peonies was presented to Whistling Gardens with over 675 varieties and species.

Other gardens include a Rock/Alpine garden nearly 1 acre in size, Perennial, informal gardens, and Canada’s only all stone computerized fountain amphitheatre with 112 fountain nozzles. The bird aviary features many unusual species of birds and is expanding every year. A new feature will be a 7000 sq. ft walk-in outdoor free flight aviary slated to open in late 2016.

In 2012, Whistling Gardens received ‘Canada's Best New Garden Experience’ Garden Tourism Award and 2013 received the Sustainable Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award from the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation.