As the garden shows

Over the years, the iconic Conservatory Garden has evolved and expanded to become a marquee green space on the University of Guelph campus.

New trees, shrubs, flowers and ground cover make the garden a place of great beauty and peace within the bustling campus. A haven for pollinators and a splendid place to read or picnic, the garden continues to grow in beauty and variety.   

The goal, says John Reinhart, U of G grounds manager, is to make it a true four-season garden: beautiful and inviting year-round.

He says the space is ideally located for visibility, situated next to the University Centre where up to 2.2 million people pass by each year.

“It’s a labour of love,” Reinhart says, crediting the vision and passion of head gardener Nick Colley-Lussier.

“We want to keep up to the highest standards. Most plants are chosen for different beauty effects throughout the garden. Areas that need to be planted a bit thicker will be, so that we can have a higher level of show garden all of the time. Filling in those spaces means less weeding and lower maintenance.”

The D.M. Rutherford Family Conservatory, the glass and steel greenhouse built in 1930, occupies centre stage in the garden. From it radiate 12 garden plots, each with a rich assortment of plants. Expect an even more surprising and awe-inspiring array as the garden grows.