Riverwood is home to several stunning gardens, and The Riverwood Conservancy’s team of volunteer gardeners play a huge role in maintaining their health and beauty. As part of our 2020-2023 Strategic Directions, we are committed to remaining a local leader in horticulture, and providing informed perspectives in the design and maintenance of gardens at Riverwood to support and enhance the natural beauty of the site.
The Riverwood Conservancy was founded in 1985 as the Mississauga Garden Council, and our founders’ expertise and love of gardening remains influential in our work to build the broader community’s collective knowledge and capacity with all things horticultural.
Located in the space surrounding the circular driveway and pond in front of Chappell House, the Chappell House Garden is designed in an Arts and Crafts movement style to complement the House, which was built in 1919. Plants were chosen to complement the existing trees, shrubs, and perennials – such as Japanese maples, lilacs, and iris – while being low maintenance, drought tolerant, and capable of providing colour throughout the growing season. The pond itself is home to a variety of waterlilies, including lotus, as well as goldfish and bullfrogs.
Just south of the pond sits the Sundial Garden, where red daylilies, purple Veronica amethyst, and blue-stemmed sea hollies surround a sundial dedicated to Douglas Campbell, one of the founders of The Riverwood Conservancy. North of the pond, the scent of lilacs fill the air in May, and fragrant roses bloom from June through September.
Located behind the Chappell House and adjacent to the Terrace Garden this shady, sloped area is an ideal location for rhododendrons, since these woody, ericaceous shrubs love sharp drainage. In 2016, The Riverwood Conservancy accepted an invitation to participate in the Brueckner Hybrids Test Project, a cross-border study seeking to evaluate the horticultural merit of more than 100 rhododendron hybrids. These hybrids are from a private collection developed by the late Dr. Joseph Brueckner of Mississauga, whose goal was to develop cold-hardy varieties that retain aesthetic beauty and includes both large leaf (Elepidote) and small leaf (Lepidote).
A visit to our collection from March through May will reward you with the delights of exotic rhododendron blooms featuring a broad range of colours, shapes, and sizes. From early spring to late fall, the Terrace Garden behind Chappell House displays a large selection of perennials including colourful and unique varieties.
Located adjacent to the Chappell House Garden, the Vegetable Garden is an evolving project to grow food plants to teach students and visitors about agriculture, and to provide fresh produce to The Compass Food Bank in Port Credit. Staples such as carrots, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, radish, peas, and beans are grown along with a changing variety of less familiar plants such as okra, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and bok choy.
Volunteers maintain the Vegetable Garden with routine planting, weeding, fertilizing, and watering to ensure healthy growth through the summer and fall, and a bountiful harvest that we’re proud to share with our community.
Located adjacent to Riverwood’s main parking lot, the MacEwan Terrace Garden is an accessible public garden that features a variety of floral beds inspired by the Arts and Crafts history of the site. The Garden is home to beautiful perennials, flowering shrubs, and native plants. The pergola located at the centre of the Garden provides shade and serves as a meeting place for many of The Riverwood Conservancy’s events.
Visit the Garden in May to enjoy the mass plantings of colourful spring bulbs in full bloom, including crocus, tulips, and daffodils. In June, you’ll find a large tulip tree beside the Visual Arts Mississauga building blooming with remarkable yellow-green flowers. Drop by in August and marvel at the white and burgundy, dinner plate-sized flowers produced by three rose mallow hibiscus that face the main walkway. In the fall, the Gingko biloba on the terrace glow with yellow, fan shaped leaves.
Located within the MacEwan Terrace Garden is the Scotts Garden, generously supported by Scotts Canada. The Garden features elements of a traditional perennial border as well as ornamental flowers and specimen trees. Perennials provide colour and texture throughout the gardening season while mixed grasses and shrubs impart form and texture in winter.
In mid-June the garden comes alive with colour as peonies bloom alongside salvia and geraniums. Plants grow in the shade of ornamental forest pansy redbuds that flaunt purple-red flowers before their leaves appear. Coneflowers provide beauty and a food source that attracts pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Bundles of donkey tail spurge with stems of spiraling grey-blue leaves meander through the garden, echoing the nearby Credit River. In late fall and winter, the spiky flower pods maintain visual interest and attract birds by providing much needed seeds.
Located adjacent to the MacEwan Terrace Garden, the Enabling Garden is an award-winning, fully-accessible garden where people of all ages and abilities can directly experience the joy of gardening. The Enabling Garden houses a number of raised beds and planters, as well as ground-level beds to accommodate a range of physical abilities. A beautiful honey locust sits in the centre of the Enabling Garden, while perennial herbs, flowers and a variety of changing annuals round out this colourful garden.
The Garden is planted and maintained by participants in TRC’s Enabling Garden Program, allowing them to learn about nature and gardening hands-on. The programs ensure heirloom vegetables grown from seed – such as tomatoes, beans, and squash – are watered, weeded, and cared for, producing a harvest shared among program participants.
Located inside the Chappell House Lawn, this 120-square metre native plant meadow has been created to provide pollinators with nutrition and habitat throughout the year. Pollinators come in many forms: bees, butterflies, ants, beetles, moths, and even hummingbirds! If you see any of these pollinators in this space, please be respectful of them. They are small but mighty, and they are busy supporting local natural areas. Riverwood’s Pollinator Paradise was made possible by the City of Mississauga, Credit Valley Conservation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and the Family of Douglas Campbell.
Volunteers bring the gardens around Riverwood to life – and you can too! Whatever your level of gardening knowledge, The Riverwood Conservancy has hands-on programs that will let you dig in, learn new skills, meet new people, and make our plant life pop. Come design and maintain our gardens, and you’ll be doing good for nature and the community. We also hold gardening courses, workshops, and plant sales throughout the year to help you make the most of your own greenspace.
To get started as a volunteer gardener, complete a Volunteer Application Form.
Our friends at the Mississauga Master Gardeners are always happy to share their expertise and love of gardening with the community. Learn more about them, have your gardening questions answered, and find out how you can take part in their events and activities, at mississaugamastergardeners.ca.