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The Island in Bloom

Beginning with the first lupins of late June, Prince Edward Island is fairly awash with colour. Fans of flowering plants can plan an Island visit around the calendar, or around the geography, but they are guaranteed a visit to create brilliant memories.

An earlier slogan described PEI as The Garden of the Gulf, and today that would refer to more than the extensive amount of agricultural activity-Islanders love to garden, and evidence of that is seen throughout. Keep your eyes peeled for spectacular efforts like what may be the world's longest garden in Flat River or charming tiny "pocket" gardens in front of Charlottetown's heritage buildings. A perfect way to get to know some local gardeners would be to contact one of the Island's garden clubs. The Summerside and Area Garden Club has weekend tours.

Some of the inns employ full-time gardeners: even if you don't plan to stay overnight be sure to stop by for a meal and a garden tour at places like the Inn at Bay Fortune or the Inn at St. Peters. Don't forget the lovely water gardens at the Dunes Studio Gallery and Cafe in Brackley Beach. Travel a little west and visit the Five Sisters of Lavender Lane in Kellys Cross.

And in a location populated by experts you can naturally expect to find some expert sources of supplies: Vesey's Seeds are known around the continent for high-quality seeds and bulbs. Pop by their location in York and on the way stop in to Jewell's Country Market. For a very special tour, you are invited to the grounds of Prince Edward Island's Lieutenant Governor. Fanningbank, just inside Charlottetown's Victoria Park is proud of its formal gardens that display some of the Island's most exotic roses.

We like to think that the Island soil is so rich that wildflowers just grow naturally wherever they can find a patch of open ground. Miles of lupins line the roadside in early July, Queen Anne's lace is followed by fireweed and the provincial flower, the rare Lady's Slipper orchid, grows wild in quiet out-of-the-way woodland places.

The Garden of the Gulf

For public gardens take your pick from locations such as: the beautifully situated New Glasgow Country Gardens, gardens specializing in roses at Caernarvon Gardens in western PEI, gardens built around amazing Bottle Houses, gardens specializing in day lilies at Red Lane in Iona and so on!