The Rock Garden in July
A scene from the rock garden and the alpine house
A view of the cottage garden in August
One of the man-made ponds within the natural area.
A view of Oxen Pond from the rocky outcrop.
Oxen Pond on a fall day.
The boreal forest along one of the nature trails.
A scene from the rock garden in early June.
The perennial border in the August fog.
Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden
St. John's, NL
Established in 1971, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden is located at 306 Mount Scio Road, situated on the north side of St. John’s. The Garden encompasses 110 acres, mostly a managed and interpreted nature reserve featuring a large natural pond, fens, streams, mature boreal forest, and an old forest-fire regeneration area. The Garden also has 5 acres of cultivated gardens including heritage gardens, wildlife friendly gardens, shade gardens, medicinal gardens, cottage gardens, rock gardens, vegetable gardens, and alpine house. The Garden’s field centre features indoor interpretive displays about various aspects of gardening and natural history as well as hosting a variety of art shows featuring local artists’ images of nature. Their gift shop and café will complete any visit to this great place.
The Garden is accessible and available to all via automobiles or by hikers utilizing the Grand Concourse Trails around St. John’s (The Garden is linked to that trail system). The Garden’s five nature trails provide a safe and tranquil environment within city limits to stroll through the boreal forest, traverse a fen or meander along a shoreline to enjoy the sounds and smells of nature. Whether listening to the croaking of green frogs, watching snowshoe hares nibbling on dandelion blossoms, or witnessing an osprey diving for brown trout, the Garden is sure to delight the senses of any natural history enthusiast. The colourful floral displays of the cultivated gardens will overwhelm the senses of sight and smell, providing solace for gardeners and non-gardeners alike. The Garden is also a research site for Memorial University researchers and an educational destination, via our school programs, for students wishing to learn more about the natural environment.
Everyone can enjoy the Garden. It provides a natural area for both tourists and residents. Hikers can enjoy our 110 acres that protect a diversity of habitats and wildlife adjacent to the ever-growing expansion of St. John’s. The trail system allows access to this diversity of habitats. Interpretation signage highlights the natural history features found within the Garden. The cultivated gardens and its over 3000 species of exotic and native plants, will stimulate the imaginations of any visiting gardeners. The Garden is also “green,” with our commitment to composting and refraining from chemical pesticides.
The Garden is utilized by many non-profit organizations in the greater St. John’s area; Nature Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador Wildflower Society, Newfoundland Rock Garden Society, Newfoundland Horticultural Society, and the John Cabot Rose Society all avail of their facilities. Their strongest supporters are the Friends of the Garden, which include over 500 family memberships. The Garden has worked in collaboration with the Provincial Department of Environment, NALCOR Energy, College of the North Atlantic, Federal Agriculture, Marine Institute and Shorefast Foundation.
The Garden is a wonderful place for tourists to get “up close and personal” with the Newfoundland environment. For residents, it’s a great escape and a chance to commune with nature. Children and adults alike benefit from the exposure to the natural environment for their health and wellness; the Garden is the ideal place to experience this. Be it elementary school children visiting the Garden on a school outing, a tourist wanting to experience close views of the exotic pitcher-plant our Provincial Floral Emblem, or a local gardener hoping to be inspired by our collection of exotic plants, the Garden is a must-see by a wide variety of people.
When the concept of creating this botanical garden was first implemented, the area in question was a dumping ground for local residents. The initial Garden curator, along with staff, took five years to reclaim the area and create today's nature trails and ornamental gardens. The trails were selected to maximize exposure to the various environmental features presented in the Garden. Several small ponds were created to supplement the existing large Oxen Pond. These small ponds create habitat for birds, frogs and aquatic insects. Within Oxen Pond, cattails and various marshland grasses were planted to provide food and cover for waterfowl. Pitcher-plants were planted in the existing fen to allow visitors to see this unusual plant up-close. Other native plants, not originally found within the natural area of the Garden, were also planted to maximize the biodiversity of the Garden and enhancement of the visitor’s experience.