grapes on the Avalon Peninsula? yes. tea in the Gardens? yes. art exhibition? yes. secrets and mystery? yes. winding paths of native plants, ducks, and that special peace and place of being? yes – yes – yes: all at MUN Botanical Garden.
the Botanical Garden began as an initiative of the Memorial University’s Biology Department in 1971, and involved the community right from the start. a group of staff and volunteers created the garden pretty much from scratch, and in 1977 it opened to the public. the garden serves as a bridge between the continuing academic research and the community.
a field trip to the MUN Botanical Garden is a favourite of school children, but there is much on offer for people of all ages. the Garden is home to education programs that span parent and tot visits, summer nature camps, workshops for adults, tours, and more. as an organization focused on the outdoors, environmental sustainability is a huge component of the Botanical Garden’s work. the education programs are designed to help people live more closely with the environment. director Kim Shipp says, “you can take away lessons very easily and transpose them in your own home,” making composting or growing your own food much easier to implement into your daily life.
the Garden creates special events too, like the Mystery Garden Tour – in July you get to go behind the gates of splendid gardens in the greater St. John’s metro area, addresses kept secret on the Mystery Garden passport. through the long evenings of summer you could even watch the sun begin to set on Twilight Tuesdays, when they’re open until 8pm. the 'Merry & Bright' festival of light in winter is always a sell-out.
there are plenty of volunteer opportunities to be had as well, outdoors and in. for volunteers, for visitors, for patrons of the programs – sometimes it’s just right take a stroll through the gardens, and enjoy its peace and tranquility. the Botanical Garden might really be that breath of fresh air (pardon the expression) to ease the stress of the day.