VIU’S Milner Gardens Offers Spring Activities For Whole Family

April 15, 2014 - 6:45am

Milner Gardens & Woodland, one of Canada’s top 10 public gardens, opens for the season April 24, but the public is invited to a special Easter celebration this coming weekend.

Children and grandchildren will enjoy The Bunny Trail, a special Easter event taking place Friday, April 18 to Monday, April 21 from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Children will enjoy looking for hidden bunnies in the garden and are invited to stop by the Pool House Gift Shop afterwards for an Easter treat.

Milner Gardens & Woodland, acquired by Vancouver Island University (VIU) in 1996, provides a perfect destination for Island residents and visitors to spend an afternoon strolling around the 70-acre site, including the gardens and old growth Douglas fir forest. Milner Gardens will be open

daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm starting April 24, and several spring events will appeal to people of all ages in addition to afternoon tea served in the Camellia Tea Room located on this spectacular oceanfront property. Here’s a brief sampling of key events during April and May:

Rhododendron Bloom, April 24 to May 11 – enjoy the amazing collection of more than 400 species of rhododendrons, with many in full bloom. Many of the rhododendrons are located in an established estate garden, also featuring native and non-native plants. Milner Gardens, including the rhododendron collection, was named one of the 10 best public gardens in Canada by the Canadian Geographic Travel magazine.

Spring Plant Sale, April 26 & 27 – add a piece of Milner Gardens to your own backyard or patio. A large selection of propagated material will be offered for sale at this two-day event. All proceeds go towards supporting Milner Gardens & Woodland. Members of Milner Gardens can take advantage of the Early Access Sale on Friday, April 25 from 5 to 7 pm. Remember to bring your membership card.

Shred-it – Saturday, April 26, 10 am to 1 pm – Recycle your sensitive paperwork by having it shredded before your eyes and support Milner Gardens & Woodland at the same time. The event will be held in the upper parking lot and a suggested donation is $5 per box.

Art & Photography in the Gardens – April 30 deadline to apply – Interested in being part of one of the most spectacular art shows on the Island? Milner Gardens & Woodland is now taking applications from interested artists to participate in the annual art show August 9 and 10. The event is a chance to meet art enthusiasts and show your work while visitors stroll through the magical gardens . For more information on how to apply, go to

Executive Director Geoff Ball adds that Milner Gardens & Woodland is always looking for volunteers who enjoy horticulture, gardening and interacting with the public.

“Volunteering is an excellent opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and participate in making Milner Gardens & Woodland a world-class venue,” says Ball. "All it takes is a few hours of time on a regular basis."

Volunteers assist in a variety of ways in the gift shop, tea room, plant nursery, or with the popular Shoots with Roots educational program for elementary school aged children. Others help with the general upkeep of the gardens. “New volunteers are given an orientation, and receive hands-on training and basic horticultural knowledge,” explains Ball. “Our volunteers also receive invitations to special events and courses, and gain the satisfaction of being part of creating an exciting community-oriented project.”

To become a volunteer, or to find out more about upcoming events at Milner Gardens & Woodland, go to

Milner Gardens & Woodland is located between Parksville and Qualicum Beach at 2179 West Island Highway. For more information, call 250.752.8573, extension 226.



Janina Stajic, Manager, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6288 E: Twitter: @viunews

Tags: In the Community

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