Gardening Information

Collage of various different flowers

It can be a challenge creating your ideal garden in a province where it tends to be the exception and not the rule. Botanical Garden staff have taken the time to prepare resources that address the challenges specific to Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as some general information for gardeners near and far.

Gardening Articles on Specific Plant Groups

The following links provide gardening information relevant to our local area (St. John's, NL):

Gardening for the Seasons

Gardening for Wildlife

From bees to birds to butterflies, wildlife can be exciting and beneficial visitors to have in your garden. The Botanical Garden's wildlife-friendly garden has been an exciting opportunity to investigate which plants are most attractive to the various critters.

The following article has a list of plants which Garden staff has found most effective:

As much as you may love wildlife in your garden they may also cause trouble. See our moose resistant plants list.

Vegetables & Fruits

Despite the short growing season, there is a variety of vegetables and fruits that can be successfully grown on the Avalon Peninsula. The Botanical Garden has a small demonstration vegetable garden which features a wide variety of produce as early as mid-June, as well as some fruiting trees and shrubs.

To learn more, please visit our WORKSHOP page for a list of upcoming programs. 

Some of the vegetables that have successfully been grown in the past include (varieties often change every year):

  • potatoes
  • spanish onions
  • beans (both climbers and bush beans)
  • peas
  • cabbage
  • squash
  • leek
  • garlic
  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • radish
  • tomato (both outside and in the greenhouse)
  • cucumber (in the greenhouse)

Other Resources:

Rock Gardening

rock garden

Rock gardens constitute a significant portion of the Garden's cultivated area. Nestled between the Rhododendron border and the Alpine House is the largest of the rock gardens; one area is styled as a traditional rock garden, resembling a mountainside, and the other is a more unique limestone scree, which showcases many native plants. The other rock garden, laying at the gateway to the compost and wildlife-friendly garden, is the crevice garden, which takes a stunning slanted view on showcasing alpine plants.

For more information about rock gardening in Newfoundland guide.

Gardening with Natives

Plants and shrubs native to Newfoundland and Labrador offer a stunning display of the virility and heartiness of the plant kingdom. The colours, textures, and shapes exhibited by the foliage, buds, and blooms are a fabulous addition to any garden. Natives are incorporated throughout the cultivated gardens, with a high percentage of the medicinal, peat, and woodland beds being native plants. The nature trails also offer a look at native plants in their natural environments. August is a great month to spot several of the native orchids and mid-summer is often the time to see the Garden’s emblem, the twinflower, in bloom along the Yetman Trail.

Native ornamental plants for the Garden
List compiled by Todd Boland, Research Horticulturist, MUN Botanical Garden

Native Trees
White Spruce – Picea glauca
Black Spruce – Picea mariana
Balsam Fir – Abies balsamea
Red Pine – Pinus resinosa
White Pine – Pinus strobus
Red Maple – Acer rubrum
White Birch – Betula papyrifera
Yellow Birch – Betula alleghaniensis
Chokecherry – Prunus virginiana
Dogberry – Sorbus americana/decora

Native Shrubs
Bearberry – Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi
Bayberry – Myrica pensylvanica
Bunchberry – Cornus canadensis
Red-osier Dogwood – Cornus stolonifera
Pagoda Dogwood – Cornus alternifolia
Common Juniper – Juniperus communis
Creeping Juniper – Juniperus horizontalis
Purple Chokeberry – Aronia floribunda
Virginia wild rose – Rosa virginiana
Bush honeysuckle – Diervilla lonicera
Rhodora – Rhododendron canadense
Highbush Cranberry – Viburnum trilobum
Northern wild raisin – Viburnum cassinoides
Winterberry holly – Ilex verticillata
Chuckley-pear – Amelanchier
Red Elderberry – Sambucus pubens
Dwarf Birch – Betula pumila

Fabulous Ferns - It’s About the Foliage
Maidenhair fern - Adiantum aleuticum
Lady fern – Athyrium filix-femina
Wood fern – Dryopteris species
Ostrich fern – Matteucica struthiopteris
Cinnamon ferns – Osmunda cinnamomea
Royal fern – Osmunda regalis
Beech fern – Phegopteris connectilis
Holly fern – Polystichum braunii
New York fern – Thelypteris noveboracens

Herbaceous Perennials
Joe-pye weed – Eutrochium maculatum
Canada burnet – Sanguisorba canadensis
Blue Flag – Iris versicolor
Marsh Marigold – Caltha palustris
Goldenrods – Solidago species
Asters – Symphyotrichum species
Meadowrue – Thalictrum pubescens

Woodlanders for Dappled Shade
Bluebead lily – Clintonia borealis
Wild lily-of-the-valley – Maianthemum canadense
Twisted stalk – Streptopus species
Baneberry - Actaea rubra
Star-flowered False Solomon’s-seal – Maianthemum

Rock Stars - Native Alpines
Pussytoes – Antennaria species
Hyssop-leaved fleabane – Erigeron hyssopifolius
Violets – Viola species
Balsam ragwort – Packera pauperculus
Dwarf goldenrod – Solidago hispida/multiradiata
Harebell – Campanula rotundifolia
Beach-head iris – Iris hookeri
Roseroot – Rhodiola rosea
Blue-eyed grass – Sisyrinchium angustifolium
Crant’z cinquefoil – Potentilla crantzii
Encrusted saxifrage – Saxifraga paniculata

For more information about gardening with native plants, the Garden Gift Shop has several resources for sale. 


Botanical Garden

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000