Posted by: cherylyoung | April 11, 2012



Welcome to Milner Gardens & Woodland…a seaside

garden in Qualicum Beach on the east coast of

Vancouver Island, BC and one of best attractions in

Qualicum Beach/Parksville.

Experience the magic of 28 hectares (70 acres)of

unspoiled natural beauty perched on the edge of an

oceanside bluff overlooking the Strait of Georgia.

Stroll the winding pathways and magical surroundings

of an ancient coastal Douglas fir forest.

Find peace and tranquility as you meander 4

hectares (10 acres) of woodland gardens lined

with rhododendron, cyclamen and trilliums.

Enjoy a traditional English tea service while you

contemplate the history of the house where the Queen

once stayed.

This setting is like no other. Visited by Queen Elizabeth,

Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the

60 acres of woodland, ten acres of garden surrounding

a heritage house was the dream of one woman,

Veronica Milner.

Veronica gathered plants from the temperate zones of

the world, including a significant collection of


It was her vision that  created this incredible

combination of garden and  old growth forest.

In 1996, Vancouver Island University (formerly

Malaspina University-College) was gifted 42 acres,

followed by a further gift of 28 acres in 1999.

Milner Gardens & Woodland is supported by the

Milner Gardens & Woodland Society and

Vancouver Island University.

Come and visit this special place.

Walk the gardens and interpretive woodland trails,

breathe the fresh ocean air, find a quiet resting

spot and stay a while.

Please see our list of open hours and days.

Afternoon tea service is held in historic Milner House

from 1 to 4 pm, or you can visit the gift shop, have

some refreshments or buy a special plant from

the nursery.

Mission Statement

To preserve and enhance the Milner Gardens and

Woodland to educate and inspire.

The garden is a sensuous delight.

Old growth Douglas firs and cedars frame

breathtaking views of the Strait of Georgia.

The garden lawns slope gently to meet a precipitous

bluff which plunges to the beach below.

Beyond the strait, the Coast Range Mountains of the

British Columbia mainland can be seen.

To the north, Denman, Hornby, Lasqueti and

Texada Islands are visible.

The gabled house includes features of a Ceylonese tea

plantation house.

For example, each bedroom has a bathroom with a

screened door leading into the garden.

Its covered veranda looks out on both garden and

sea views and serves as an outdoor room.

Wisteria vines with soft, plump flower clusters cling

to the walls.

It is believed that the house was started in 1928 and

completed in 1931.

Bald eagles patrol the beach head and circle above

their feeding grounds, their distinctive cries carrying

across the forest.

Blue herons fish the shore, while the dappled shade

of the garden shelters songbirds.


Purple finches and wrens nest in the camellias near

the house.

The garden features 500 varieties of rhododendrons,

whose colours and textures grow against the majestic

forest trees.

Blue-green hostas, fragrant honeysuckle, and delicate

lace-cape hydrangeas soothe the eye.

The forest shelters wildlife.

The significance and complexity of the estate go

beyond this aesthetic richness, however.

The property is located within the coastal Douglas-fir

biogeoclimatic zone.

These forests were dominated by towering Douglas fir,

western red cedar, and Grand fir.

Development and logging have taken their toll and

very few old growth forests remain.

The estate is one of a group of properties

(totaling 140 acres) which comprise one of the last

of such forests.

As a result, the estate has a very high conservation


The garden lies on the sheltered eastern shore of

Vancouver Island and is protected from severe weather

conditions sweeping in from the Pacific Ocean by

Mt. Arrowsmith to the west.

It is further protected by the mild Japanese current.

Summers are warm and winters are mild.

January temperatures average from 8-12 C. while

July temperatures average 23-25 C.

The average annual rainfall is 140 cm.

Freely draining, sandy soil is a result of retreating

glaciers which covered the area thousands of years ago.

This soil is covered by a thin layer of forest loam

typical of the region and supports a wide range of plants.

Today the multi-layered forest canopy casts a dense

shade over much of the garden area.

The understory includes the extensive collection of

rare rhododendrons as well as fine specimen trees.

There are several formal areas with lawns and edge

plants, a small orchard, berry and vegetable gardens.

The garden includes specimens of Japanese maples,

Davidia, Stewartia, beeches, laburnum, Katsura,

dawn redwood, birches and Spanish chestnut.

Of the total 28 hectare (70 acre) Milner Garden and

Woodland property, 4 hectares (10 acres) is developed

garden, 24 hectares (60 acres) is forest.

The property includes a swimming pool and pool house,

tennis court and cottage.





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