Last Updated on January 1, 2023
If you like brilliantly colourful flower gardens that are a step above, you’ll go bloomin’ bonkers over the Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews by-the-Sea on New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy coast.
An Impressive List of Awards
But don’t just take our word for it. Over the past few years Kingsbrae has accumulated a long list of awards such as Garden of the Year by the Canadian Garden Council’s Tourism Awards. It was named among the Top 10 Public Gardens in Canada by Canadian Gardening, and the Top 5 North American Gardens Worth Travelling For by the Garden Tourism Conference International Panel, to mention only a few.
Land for the 27-acre gardens was donated by the Flemer family, and amazingly, the gardens were created in just over two years, opening to the public in 1998.
From the moment you step onto the grounds you are surrounded by incredible displays. There’s a Knot Garden where carefully trimmed plants with contrasting colours are laid out in patterns resembling Celtic Knots. This type of layout has been part of formal gardens for several hundred years.
Different styles of gardening are used, incorporating many time-honoured traditional techniques as well as innovative approaches using newer plant varieties.
Everything’s coming up roses
The Rose Garden speaks for itself, with roses of every colour, including some we have never seen before. If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, you can lose yourself in a maze, then wander in the adjacent orchard with several varieties of heirloom apple trees and other fruit-bearing trees.
Another area worth a visit in the Scents and Sensitivity Garden, designed to be accessible to the blind and those with vision problems. Visitors are encouraged to touch the plants, and labels are written in Braille.
Longer walking trails lead through a forested area where with trees and shrubs typical of the New Brunswick Acadian Forest. Then it’s on to the ponds where waterfowl are found, and the impressive working Dutch windmill that helps to circulate water in the ponds.
Sculptures enhance many of the displays, some of which are quite imaginative. Our favourite was a large wood carving resembling an apple core – appropriately placed among the apple trees in the orchard.
The gardens also have a few animals, such as the cuter than a button alpacas that usually steal the show. Nearby goats play “king of the castle” in their enclosure while a showy peacock hangs out close by.
Because of the variety of plants and trees, the gardens attract a wide range of birds. A large area has been planted to milkweed, where we watched monarch butterflies visiting the tall stands; monarchs eat only milkweed and lay their eggs within the plant.
You don’t have to be an avid gardener or flower aficianado to enjoy this place. The riot of colour, pleasing fragrances, and peaceful setting appeal to just about everyone.
Kingsbrae Garden is only one of many reasons to visit the small but bustling tourist town of St. Andrews in New Brunswick. There’s gorgeous seaside scenery, the legendary Hopewell Rocks and high tides of the Bay of Fundy, a great area for whale watching, a famous aquarium, fascinating history, and all-round pleasant spot to spend a few days. Be sure to plan a visit to Minister’s Island while you’re in St. Andrews, where you can drive right across the ocean floor. We will be getting into more detail about other aspects of St. Andrews and the Bay of Fundy in future postings.
Kingsbrae Garden website has more details on the various displays and further background on the gardens. Here’s where to find about more about the town of St. Andrews. Also see the Tourism New Brunswick website for other attractions in the region.