Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Wilderness is plentiful throughout the north, but those fond of more cultivated green spaces can take refuge in a pair of magical public gardens in the region. Sitting pretty on the Nimpkish River near Port McNeill, the Shepards’ Garden has been welcoming visitors since the early 1990s. The floral bloom begins in February, rhodos run riot in May and hungry eagles eye migrating salmon as the Japanese maples turn red in the fall. Celebrating its centenary in 2010, Ronnings Garden is a historic wilderness green space near Holberg at the edge of Cape Scott Provincial Park northeast of Port Hardy. Many of Norwegian settler Bernt Ronning’s original plantings continue to bloom to this day.