St. Joseph Island – Something for Everyone
If you are a naturalist, bird watcher, avid gardener, hiker or just someone that needs a tranquil spot to stop and reflect, Adcock’s Woodland Gardens is a must visit for you!
Hidden on the far end of St. Joseph Island is this gem for flora and hiking enthusiasts. Adcock’s Woodland Gardens is the “Butchart Gardens” of Northern Ontario. Adcock’s Woodland Gardens is 75 km (48 miles) Southeast of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada on the far end of St. Joseph Island.
To get there, follow Highway 17 East to Highway 548. Go south onto St. Joseph Island and proceed north of the U Line at 4757 Fifth Side Road.
Adcock’s Woodland Gardens is free admission but donations are welcome. Children must be supervised by an adult and pets are not allowed.
I highly recommend donating generously as this beautiful place is definitely a labour of love. Upon entrance, there is a little apple to place your donations on the top. A brochure is available here detailing all about the gardens and footpaths. You will be greeted by Grant Adcock.
He is so friendly and so knowledgeable. Grant just purchased the adjoining property to the left of his current property and he plans to add more trails to the hiking trails currently established.
Russell and Eleanor Adcock were the master gardeners of Adcock’s Woodland Gardens.
In 1984, the first pond was excavated and then the Adcock home was built. In 1986, serious gardening began, adding more ponds, flower beds and flowers. The original land was covered with cranberries and Marsh grass with gradual brush, shrubs and small trees that turned this marsh area into a natural forest.
The gardens are ever-changing with each passing season. In spring, crocuses push through the remaining snow followed by blooming summer flowers and finally the autumn colours in all their glory.
The garden is open for viewing from May 15 to September 30, 10 am until dusk with the best viewing time between 11 am and 3 pm. The following calendar lists the best times to see various flower blooms. Peak times vary year to year because of the weather conditions.
Primulas, Tulips. Daffodils, Crocuses, other spring flowering bulbs, wildflowers, and fruit tree blossoms.
Irises, Roses, Peonies, Lupines, Daylilies, Sweet William, Columbines, Azaleas, Trollius, and Oriental Poppies.
Campanulas, Foxglove, Roses, Sweet William, Lilies, Poppies, Water Lilies, Begonias, Phlox, Impatiens, and Rudbeckias
Phlox, Lilies, Roses, Dahlias, Golden Glow, Begonias, Water Lilies, Rudbeckias, Lobelias, and Gladiolas
Begonias, Dahlias, Asters, Hydrangeas, Cone Flowers, Phlox, Cannas, Cleomes, Rudbeckias, Shrub Roses, Hibiscus
Upon arrival, you stand on a gravel ridge of mature beech, maple, birch and hemlock trees. As you walk down the path to the four-acre garden, you will find outhouses to the far left and a little booth to pick up your maps and leave a donation.
Within the garden, you will find pine, cedar and ash trees with rose bushes, two types of dogwood bushes and Canadian holly shrubs which grow here naturally.
There are several ponds with beautiful coloured water lilies, border gardens and many shade trees with wood bridges from garden to garden.
Sit and relax on the various benches along the way to take in the beautiful landscape, rest or even meditate.
Don’t be surprised to find many songbirds and shorebirds within the gardens.
In the ponds, painted turtles and frogs habituate the area.
Throughout the night, deer, raccoon, beaver and moose pass through leaving tracks in the morning.
Wildlife may even stop for a snack leaving evidence through defoliation within the gardens. Many insects pollinate all summer long.
For the more adventurous, there is 5 km of hiking trails at the back end of the gardens.
There are many fascinating root systems from the spring runoff within the cedar trees. You would think you were in the book the Hobbit.
Grant Adcock calls it the “drunk forest” as the trees are leaning over or have fallen down. It is something to see. Some of the trail names are hints to what you might find within certain areas of each of the trails: Woods Walk, Henry Still Trail, Beech Wood, Hard Wood, Meadow Branch, Boundary Skidway, Homesteaders Trail, Wanders Loop End, Itch, Highroad, Roamed About, Beaver Pond Way, Wet Foot Trail, Raspberry Road and Rocky Road. Grant is looking forward to developing more trails.
Adcock’s Woodland Gardens is a must-visit! Thank you to the Adcock family for sharing their labour of love with us.
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