May 4th - Oct 1st
10:00 - 17:00

Whistling Gardens
698 Concession 3 Townsend
Wilsonville, ON N0E 1Z0,

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A recently planted peony collection with approximately 1,300 different peony cultivars and species. According to David Michener from the Nichols Arboretum,  this is the largest public collection in North-America and one of the largest in the world.

“Our bloom time is usually around May 8th with Paeonia mairei or P. steveniana  until the first week of July.  Mid June is the best for sure with the “floral types”.

The owner of Whistling Gardens Darren Heimbecker, worked at a nursery as a propagator, shipper and field manager for 18 years before purchasing a 56 acre farm in Wilsonville, Ontario. It was cornfield when purchased.  In 2006, Whistling Gardens Nursery and Garden Centre was first established, attracting plant collectors from across Canada and the United States.  In 2007, the first gardens were laid out and planted.

May 26th 2012 marked the official grand opening of “Canada’s Newest Horticultural Playground” as the botanical gardens features 20 landscaped acres.  Guests explore classical garden styles, some of which are inspired by the old Renaissance gardens of Europe including the Palace of Versailles.  Most gardens are surrounded by natural man made plantings, streams, ponds, and cascades, as well as cottage garden strolls. The conifer collection contains 2,000 different species and cultivars and a donated peony collection features approximately 1300 species, and varieties.  Both are considered to be the largest public collections in North America! In total there are nearly 5,000 different plants in Ontario’s only privately operated Botanical Garden.
More info can be found at

All peonies donated by Mr. David Maltby and Mr. & Mrs. Joe and Hazel Cook and daughter Amy.

Mr. David Maltby, Brant County, President of the Canadian Peony Society 600 species, hybrids and varieties – Mr. & Mrs. Joe and Hazel Cook with their daughter Amy, Blossom Hill Nursery north of Peterborough BLOSSOM HILL NURSERY,

The Cook Family Joe and Hazel Cook with their daughter Amy have operated a family owned business, Blossom Hill Nursery since 1994, specializing in the hybridization and propagation of British Delphinium elatum. A second passion has resulted in an extensive peony collection of over 600 varieties including species, tree, herbaceous and intersectional peonies. Blossom Hill is located just north of Peterborough and has perennial display gardens as well as 3000 peonies and trial beds in the field for over 1500 delphiniums. Blossom Hill delphiniums have won the only two Bronze Medals from the UK Delphinium Society presented at the Ontario Delphinium Club field days. The year 2009 was very exciting for their nursery. Hazel’s entry of one of their peonies, a large double yellow intersectional, named Bartzella won the Grand Championship at the Canadian Peony Society Convention held at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Blossom Hill Nursery was also honoured with the ‘Outstanding Business Achievement Award’ from the Kawartha Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Region. The Cooks are active members of many horticultural organizations. Hazel is now a director for the American Peony Society and Joe is the past president of the Ontario Delphinium Club.

David J. Maltby Peony donor, David J. Maltby is a well-respected Canadian general practice lawyer in Brantford, Ontario. As the current President of the Canadian Peony Society and Past President and current board member of the Ontario Regional Lily Society. He is the 2012 recipient of the North American Lily Society Regional (NALS) Medal, acknowledging his outstanding service to the horticulture and the Ontario Regional Lily Society. Growing accolades are numerous, Best in Show, along with many other major awards, have extended his long winning streak. His respectful peers know him best as ‘a good gardener’. He made this donation so that it would be available for the public to enjoy! The David J. Maltby Peony Collection will be proudly enjoyed by thousands of guests as a result of his generosity to donate his personal collection of approximately 300 peony plants with several one of kind cultivars and varieties to Whistling Gardens.

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2022, The Peony Society -

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