Historic Gardens
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada
July 2003

The images above and the text materials below were lifted from the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens official website.

In the mid 1970's the Town of Annapolis Royal and its citizens met to discuss ways of revitalizing the town through conservation and promotion of its heritage. A consulting firm was hired to study resources, a possible site was chosen, and county and provincial experts were soon in agreement that the location was ideal for a display garden. Committees met, Government departments and other experts offered advice, work began, and the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens opened in the summer of 1981.

The site of Annapolis Royal has been associated with gardens since the 17th century. In 1605 the Habitation of Port Royal was built under the leadership of the Sieur de Mons who, on condition that he establish settlements and cultivate the land, was granted fishing and fur trading rights over a vast area. Initally this included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and was referred to as l'Acadie. Writing about the settlement, cartographer Samuel Champlain records: "The whole country is filled with thick forests, except at a point a league and a half up the river where there are some oaks, although scattering, and many wild vines, which one could easily remove and put the soil under cultivation". Later he writes that he ordered "wheat, rye, hemp and several other kinds of seeds to be sown in order to ascertain how they would flourish". One historian notes, "This was the identical spot on which the Town of Annapolis Royal now stands. That historic place first came into prominence as a miniature experimental farm."

The Historic Gardens comprises several themed gardens representing different periods in history. La Maison Acadienne et Potager shows an early French settler's dwelling, the Governor's Garden is reminiscent of the period following 1710, while the Victorian Garden reflects the prosperous days of shipbuilding and vigourous trade of the 19th century.

The themed gardens are linked by paths through other display areas including several plant collections, the largest being the Rose Collection which displays more than 230 cultivars in their historical context. The Innovative Garden demonstrates modern horticultural methods and newly introduced plant material.

The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens balances the historical and botanical aspects of horticulture, complementing the rich tapestry of heritage in one of the oldest European settlements in North America.

The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is owned and operated by the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens Society, a non-profit, charitable organization.