A spark of hope, rescued from Haida Gwaii, grows in Norfolk County's Whistling Gardens.
Little did I realize that Whistling Gardens' most extraordinary plant would be a small, scruffy, rabbit-nibbled shrub.
Darren’s passion for plants and his willingness to turn a blind eye to convention has led to some impressive distinctions, including having the largest conifer collection of any botanical garden in the world. Among the over 2500 tree varieties is an extremely rare Chinese Silver Leafed Cathaya, one of only 2 in Canada, as well as one of the rarest plants in the world, the Baishan fir, of which only three remain in the wild.
When I ask him what he does to protect his exceptionally valuable collection, Darren just laughs. “I tell them 'See you in the spring!'” With such an inspiring leader at the helm, the plants dare not die off in the frost!
At Whistling Gardens, every plant tells a story and, collectively, they paint a picture of one man’s passion, dedication, and vision. With no government funding, Darren Heimbecker is preserving Canadian heritage, one sapling at a time, and revolutionizing how we think about plants and nature.
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My visit to Whistling Gardens was facilitated by Norfolk County Tourism. This did not affect my reviews and all opinions remain my own.