Spectacular gardens at Fanningbank reopen to public

·2 min read
Spectacular gardens at Fanningbank reopen to public
The formal Victorian-style gardens at Fanningbank, the estate of P.E.I.'s lieutenant-governor, are bordered in neatly groomed boxwood.  (Sara Fraser/CBC - image credit)
The formal Victorian-style gardens at Fanningbank, the estate of P.E.I.'s lieutenant-governor, are bordered in neatly groomed boxwood. (Sara Fraser/CBC - image credit)

P.E.I.'s Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry is pleased that the gardens at the Fanningbank estate in Charlottetown will once again be open to the public to tour, starting Monday, June 28.

Last summer the historic building was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's one of the nicest gardens in P.E.I.," Perry said. "People like to come and learn about the flora."

Anyone can come on foot to see the gardens from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, she said. Guides will offer a scaled-down version of house tours too, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Three gardeners work full-time looking after the four hectare (10-acre) property. Much of it is mature shade trees and lush lawn, with a formal Victorian-style garden as the showpiece.

She steals carrots

Perry was an avid flower and vegetable gardener at her home in Tignish before she was appointed lieutenant-governor.

Sara Fraser/CBC
Sara Fraser/CBC

She walks in the gardens at Fanningbank every day, she said, but she doesn't have time to actively garden.

"I go to the vegetable garden, steal the odd carrot — you have to do that!" she said with a laugh.

Decisions about the garden are made by a committee of five or so people, Perry said, a sub-committee of the committee that makes decisions about any changes to Government House.

Sara Fraser/CBC
Sara Fraser/CBC

Perry has planted a pink rose bush to leave her own mark on the garden, and this year is introducing several different kinds of lavender, donated by a local lavender farm.

It's not all smooth sailing, even with all the resources at their disposal: a recent beetle infestation killed off hundreds of rose bushes in the garden. Gardeners replaced them with hardy daylilies.

Sara Fraser/CBC
Sara Fraser/CBC

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