Spending time in the Hastings House gardens is a quintessential part of our visitors’ experience. Meander through its meadows filled with grazing sheep and woodlands with views over Ganges Harbour, doze in a deckchair on its manicured lawns, or browse among the flowers, herbs and fruit trees as you marvel at the generosity of this southern Gulf Island. Salt Spring Island, fondly dubbed “The Banana Belt of Canada” boasts temperate weather year round, with more sunshine and less rain than nearby Vancouver or Victoria.
Shelley Kobylka, Head gardener since 2000, takes full advantage of our mild climate, and conjures up a display of colours, textures and wit throughout the gardens, choosing plants that do well in our soil and climate. Guests with a special interest in gardens should ask at Reception if Shelley is available to give them a tour, or to spend a moment sharing with them her wealth of knowledge.
Hastings House has its own kitchen gardens for fresh flowers, vegetables, greens and herbs, as well as orchards for soft fruits and berries. Having home-grown produce at his fingertips each day allows our Chef, Marcel Kauer, to plan the menu daily, according to produce that is in season. Each year, Marcel consults with Shelley to plan the next year’s crop. We also harvest a cornucopia of produce from island farms to complement our own gardens and orchards.
You are welcome to enjoy the fenced gardens, but be sure to close the gate afterwards, to keep the deer from munching on our crops. Display gardens outside these protected areas are populated with varieties our four-footed friends don’t appreciate.
Bonny O'Connor and Jerry Parks, owners of Hastings House, have generously opened their grounds to showcase sculpture. In addition to the pieces at Hastings House, a Sculpture Trail has been created in the park just off Churchill Road.
Supporting the arts, providing beautiful land for the work is an important initiative and one that has met with a favourable response from hotel guests, the people of Salt Spring Island and of course, the artists. Hastings House welcomes you to view these wonderful installations.