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History The majority of infrastructure was created in 2000, with the Centre opening for 15 days in the fall of that year. This operation is capitalizing on more than 25 years of collecting and development of gardens containing collections of rare plant material for the Ottawa area. The big idea of the Ramble was sparked by two things - a long term dream to share our gardening experiences with other gardeners and collectors, and the spectacular impact of the ice storm of 1998. Dave Dunn has said “it was like the hand of God coming down and clearing a swath of land that had originally been a mature stand of Red Pine”. The clean up in 1999 sparked the idea of making use of this sudden creation of open land in the center of the woodland. The Ramble rose like a “Phoenix from the ashes of the storm”, and the idea of the Ramble was truly born.

The Gardens The gardens at Rideau Woodland Ramble are the result of years of evolution, experimentation and discovery. They fall into several main zones, almost all in some context of shade and woodland.

1. The first gardens enjoy the dappled light provided by a stand of red pine. They can be found on either side of the house. This acidic area is the home of Japanese maples, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and a range of trees, shrubs and perennials. You may be surprised by what thrives in this environment.
2. The second area is home to a babbling pond, a collection of dwarf conifers, specimen Hostas, and grasses, as well as a further range of trees shrubs and perennials.
3. The third major area is known as Lake Ramble, a pond home to much wildlife. A large garden of conifers anchors this area, along with a large grass demonstration bed, and the Labyrinth.
4. The next major zone included is called Totem Trail as it rambles into the pure woodland and some of the surprises contained therein.
5. 2005 saw the opening up of the new northern zone at the Ramble, with dramatic plantings down Chanticleer Lane.
6. Hosta Specimens can be seen throughout the Ramble, but new gardens in 2007 showcase them south of the shade house and at the front of the property along Burritt’s Rapids Rd.

All of these gardens are interconnected with trails and walkways. The gardens are planted to exhibit, both structure, or the “bones” that hold them together, succession planting to assure interest from first melt to first snow. In 2012 , we added a Pavilion gateway to one of the gardens which is featuring the Garden and Wildlife Art of Dave Dunn.

The Centre The garden centre is nestled into the heart of the Ramble, and is intended to be an experience, like visiting the garden, as opposed to simply a commercial area. It is anchored by one of Canada’s largest glass enclosed Gazebos-Ramble House, home to an information and seating area as well as the sales area. All plant material is displayed in a manner to highlight colour and texture, contrasts, and impact, as opposed to alphabetical location…hence the Centre as experience and learning tool. All of the gardens and trails connect to the Centre.

Recognition The Ramble was chosen the Number 1 favorite gardening establishment in all of Eastern Ontario by the readers of the Eastern Ontario Gardeners Tour Guide. We were featured in Canadian Gardening Magazine as one of Canada’s top 20 nurseries, as well as in Gardening Life and Garden Making magazines. Recently, we were featured on Regional Contact on CTV. In 2015, the Ramble was named Canadian Garden Centre Destination of the Year by the Canadian Garden Council. We are very pleased with this recognition.” It is a solid endorsement of the vision and mission to capture the imagination of collectors and gardeners in a woodland setting”, said Rob Caron. Rob’s partner, Dave Dunn said “our focus on the creation of an experience for visitors continues with the creation of the new gardens each year”.