Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour

Saturday, May 7, 9:05am update: Tickets are now SOLD OUT.  Thank-you for supporting the Victoria Conservatory of Music!

We are excited to be back in person for our 40th anniversary!

This year is extra special as we celebrate this annual event’s 40th anniversary of combining a love of music, gardens, and moms.  

Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour

Saturday, May 7 & Sunday, May 8, 2022 | 10:00am-4:00pm
See full details on the “About the Garden Tour” tab here!

Please note our mail order ticket sales have closed to allow for ample shipping time.

Raffle Fundraiser 

Add a raffle ticket to your Garden Tour or Modern Garden event ticket and you could win one of three fantastic prizes!

Learn more on our “Raffle Fundraiser” tab here

BC Gaming License # 132765

Mother’s Day Tributes 

Celebrate your loved one with a tribute gift. For each tax-deductible donation of $40 or more, we will post your special tribute to your mother or someone special.

The Victoria Conservatory of Music is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to inspire, nurture, and enrich our community through excellence in music education, performance, and wellness. Our vision is realized through the power of giving, fueled by the generosity of our community of donors. This philanthropic support makes up 30% of our overall operating revenue, enabling us to keep tuition as affordable as possible for students of all ages and abilities, provide financial assistance through our scholarship and bursary programs, offer music outreach programs for children and seniors, and music therapy programs for individuals living with exceptionalities. Simply put, we would not exist without your support.  

Make a Mother’s Day Tribute here:

Celebrate Mother’s Day, beautiful spring gardens, live music, and being together for the first time in two years. 

On May 7 & 8, stroll through Victoria’s most beautiful spring gardens while enjoying music from students and faculty of the Victoria Conservatory of Music.  

Two-day passes are $40 (plus service fees, depending on point of purchase) and include exclusive access to ten spectacular private gardens, one public garden treasure, and our Amazing Plant Sale! 

It’s a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day while supporting the VCM’s efforts to keep music education, performance, and wellness thriving in Victoria.  

You can also pay tribute to someone special with a tribute gift. For each tax-deductible donation of $40 or more, we will post your special tribute to your mother or someone special. Make a Mother’s Day Tribute here.


Saturday, May 7, 9:05am update: Tickets are now SOLD OUT.

Magical Musical Gardens 

Slip behind the garden gates and visit ten hidden backyard gems and one public garden treasure! 

Read on to find out more about each stunning garden. Addresses are provided when you collect your tickets, so be sure to buy early and visit each stop! 


Garden #1

On first entering this garden, you will be surprised by the wide view of Cordova Bay and, if Mother Nature allows, Mt Baker. As you make your way through the back, don’t miss the decorative wall of found objects that the homeowner has artfully painted and put together. The garden has been skillfully designed to lead you down a path among spring bulbs and flowering shrubs to a lower garden featuring a playful miniature train running through the garden beds. Don’t miss the lively and intriguing sculptures reflecting the owners’ love and participation in the international music world, and of course, the “Gary Karr Rose”, named after one of the home owners. 


Garden #2

This garden was established over 32 years ago from a bare construction storage site. The gardener’s vision was to create a private oasis in the back with a formal garden and an English country garden in the front.  The front garden is easy care, using a method of mulching from clippings which allows the annuals and bi-annuals to reseed.  Flowering shrubs and perennials are mixed among these, making a home for many birds and bees. The peaceful back garden has a fountain and quiet sitting area among clipped boxwood hedges overlooking raised beds for vegetables and roses. 


Garden #3

This beautiful garden was a labour of love rooted in family tradition for both homeowners. Coming from a long line of Italian gardeners and famers, Betty has a passion for edible plants. Vegetable beds, espaliered fruit trees, including lemon and apricot, and the grape covered pergola provide a symphony of seasonal edible delights. Chris, the son of Ann and George Nation who founded the Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour, can trace his love of ponds and perennials to his parents. Many plants originated from Ann and George’s garden, including a rose lovingly created and named for his grandmother, the Alix G. Don’t miss the waterfall and pond feature the owners created from material found on property. 


Garden #4

Situated on 1.3 acres, this homeowner has followed the first rule of gardening – “work with what you have”! Father and son have taken what was once a low soggy area at the bottom of the garden and turned it into a peaceful Asian inspired oasis featuring a large pond complete with a waterfall and rainbow trout and surrounded by Japanese maples, irises and Mt. Fuji cherry trees. A large deck reaches out over the pond and offers the perfect summer area for casual dining or just quiet contemplation. Further down a winding path there is a veggie garden, a berry garden, small lavender field, and a fuchsia bed. 


Garden #5

Welcome to “Mulberry”.  This picturesque property named after the sprawling mature Mulberry tree in the front garden has never been on a tour and lucky us – we are the FIRST to see it! Enjoy the many spring flowering shrubs and uncommon bulbs along the recently planted perennial bed that runs adjacent to the front lawn. As you make your way through to the back garden you will pass the newly completed Japanese inspired garden, displaying a collection of bonsai plants with an unusual ‘Torri Gate’. 

The back garden started out two years ago as a vacant lot and has undergone a dramatic and stunning landscape transformation. The owners rescued 60 mature rhododendrons (many of them of substantial size and age) from a nearby construction site and stored them until their new garden plans were completed. These rescued rhododendrons have found their home along the gravel path that meanders through ferns, hellebores, and other woodland plants in what is now the shade garden. Across the large lawn is the sunny Mediterranean garden complete with succulents, lavenders, espaliered fruit trees, berries and other warm climate plants. A large outdoor entertainment area with a pergola and fireplace overlooks the whole garden and a greenhouse for a lemon tree and other tender plants compliments the elegant setting. 


Garden #6

Full of fun and fancy, this garden has it all! Mixed among colourful found objects are a variety of perennials and annuals that add dramatic effect to the use of mirrors and sculptures throughout the garden. Be sure to see the water fountain made from retired musical instruments – a perfect nod to our garden tour theme. 


Garden #7

Emily Carr frequented the garden of this Maclure Chalet style home, first established in the early 1900s. You will see rhododendrons, dogwoods, roses, rockery, and many flowering shrubs and bulbs in this charming garden. 


Garden #8

Located in the centre of the city on 36 acres for all to enjoy.  Wander the grounds to discover native species, formal rose garden and much more. 


Garden #9

This 20-year-old garden is packed with a collection of rare and unusual rock and alpine plants. Also unique is the dry Mediterranean garden and Tufa outcrops. The owners’ knowledge of alpine crevice plants is extensive, and he has just co-authored The Crevice Garden. How to Make the Perfect Home for Plants from Rocky Places with Co-author Kenton Seth which will be released later this year. 

Garden #10

Eclectic and passionate, this plant lover has spent the last ten years filling his garden with rare and unique plants!  The first thing you will notice is the distinctive collection of alpine plants and side perennial borders. As you enter the back patio area, you will be delighted by the water garden featuring Koi and water lilies. Other striking features of this compact garden include a vibrant cutting garden and a unique carnivorous plant bog garden. The two glass houses are not to be missed! One holds the owners collections of various cacti, succulents, African bulbs, and pelargoniums while the houses one of the largest collections of frost-free high elevation orchids on the island.  


Garden #11

These two musical and environmentally conscious gardeners have turned this average city garden of shrubs and lawn into a small but sustainable working vegetable garden where they can grow bountiful amounts of food. Through an organization called Hatchet and Seed, who designed and helped to install the layout, they have been able to grow everything organically; from the natural building of the soil to the harvesting of fruit and vegetables. Using a water capture irrigation system, they water multiple raised beds made of both wood and ferrocement. A new greenhouse has been added this year which will be used for vegetable starts and tomatoes with plans to include a lemon tree and other more southern tender fruit trees.  As they tend their garden, they can find a quiet moment or two under the covered sitting area to enjoy the spectacular view of beautiful Royal Bay! 

Generously sponsored by:

Celebrate someone special in your life – mother, partner, friend – with a tribute gift. For each tax-deductible donation of $40 and up, we will post your tribute here!

Jane Butler McGregor
In memory of: George & Ann Nation
Founders of the Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour, their enormous contributions to the Victoria Conservatory of Music will never be forgotten.

David Fissel
In memory of: Marion Maxine Fissel

Catherine Jamieson
In memory of: Tom and Gwen Ambrose

Joan Milley
In honour of: Judi James
Happy Birthday! I hope you spend the day getting lost in a blooming garden

Carry Wang
In honour of: Mary Byrne
This donation pays tribute to the teachers and their passion for music to make this world a better place.

Debby Harris
In memory of: George & Ann Nation

Try your luck at one of three great prizes! Tickets are $20 each and all proceeds support the Victoria Conservatory of Music. 

How to enter 

Purchase raffle tickets in person at the VCM, by phone at 250.386.5311, or at our Amazing Plant Sale! Winners will be drawn on Monday, May 9th at noon and contacted later that day. 

Raffle Prizes 

Prize #1: Fill up your car!

Thanks to C&C Growers, you can fill up your car with top quality annuals and perennials grown right here on Vancouver Island! (Value: approximately $500) 

Winner: Judy Harrison Ticket #384


Prize #2: Downtown Victoria Date Night

This package includes two tickets to all VCM Presents concerts for the 2022-23 season and one night stay plus breakfast for two at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Victoria. (Value: approximately $660) 

Winner: Wendy Brown Ticket #204


Prize #3: Student Performance with Catering 

Enjoy a 45-minute private home performance by up to four classically or contemporary trained Victoria Conservatory of Music students. $100 gift certificate for De’lish Catering is included. (Value: approximately $340) *some conditions apply* 

Winner: Stephanie Clark Ticket #253

This Garden Tour has been a treasured annual event in the community since 1982, bringing music lovers together to enjoy beautiful private gardens and delightful music from students of the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

VICTORIA BC April 25, 2012- (FRANCES LITAN, TIMES COLONIST). For House Beautiful story by Grania Litwin.

Ann and George Nation created the Mother’s Day Musical Garden tour as a way to raise funds for the Victoria Conservatory of Music.  The couple, along with a dedicated group of their friends and volunteers, organized every aspect of the tour – coordinating the gardens, publicity, sponsorship, plant sale, and offering tea and music to the hundreds and thousands of visitors who have attended the Garden Tour over these many years. George, an avid gardener, grew every single plant and cutting that he submitted every year to the Plant Sale; there are many people today who can look at their own magnificent gardens to see what is now a beautiful tree or plant that was created by the hands of George Nation!

The Nations nurtured the tour to become one of the most loved and successful annual fundraising events in Victoria. They also continued the work started by Ann’s mother by providing very generous, loyal financial support that helped sustain the VCM over all of those many years. Their enormous contribution to the VCM was recognized by naming the “Ann and George Nation Conservatory School of Classical Music” as a lasting legacy when the VCM celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2014.

George passed away on March 12th 2017 at the age of 97, and Ann passed away on June 1, 2019. We honour them for their energy, spirit, and unfailing support of and dedication to music education. May their love of music and gardening live on through the Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour for generations to come!


Times Colonist House Beautiful Features 

Many of the Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour homes and gardens have been featured in the Times Colonist House Beautiful feature. Look back at a few of our favourites: 

May 2, 2015 | Sounds of Music in the Gardens

July 23, 2016 | Kid-friendly character in the Uplands

May 6, 2017 | Modern vintage in Fairfield

May 5, 2018 | A heavenly abode of heritage in Gordon Head

April 27, 2019 | A ship-shape seaside garden

May 10, 2019 | Mid-century Rockland gem

May 9, 2020 | Son of Victoria gardening legends has passion for landscapes

April 24, 2021 | From debris to delight, Sunnymead garden takes shape over 3 decades

April 30, 2022 | Spectacular water feature the beating heart of verdant landscape at Ten Mile Point home

From seed to flower, our heartfelt gratitude for the generations of volunteers who have nurtured this tour into the iconic fundraising event that it is today.  

On behalf of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, THANK YOU. 

For each and every person that has selflessly given their time, ideas, and expertise, we are continually inspired by your friendship, kindness, dedication, and effort. You have truly made a lasting impact to the VCM and our community. 

When Ann and George Nation created the Garden Tour in 1982 , it quickly became one of the most loved and successful fundraising events in Victoria. Today, a new generation of devoted volunteers, as led by the volunteer Garden Tour Committee, coordinates the operations of the tour to ensure its continuing success. Meet our volunteers:

Cathy Wong
Garden Committee Chair
Volunteer since 2018

Initially I was asked by a good friend and he thought I might be interested in volunteering with VCM.

As I was nearing retirement, it was an opportunity to look into other volunteer programs, learn, keep myself busy, meet new people, help with the organization and learn about their community.

I started volunteering in 2003, before I retired, so far, it’s been a wonderful experience for me, meeting others, organizing small and large events and learning about opera, art and culinary creativity and of course now more about gardens and the VCM.


Mary Slanina
Plant Sale Coordinator
Volunteer since 2010
Garden host in 2011

I bought a ticket for the VCM Mother’s Day Garden Tour in 2010 and absolutely loved it. Our garden was selected to be on tour in 2011, and that’s really where it all began. I started volunteering with the Organizing Committee and was asked to coordinate the plant sale and it’s 30 plus volunteers.

So now I’m closing in on 10 years and I’m happy to report that each year has been an adventure. I love seeing our volunteers, and of course how excited everyone gets when selecting their plants and treasures. It’s a happy place to be!

I’m very proud to be a part of the Organizing Committee knowing all funds raised assists the VCM and its various programs which in turn help so many community members.


Holly Harper
Garden Committee Member
Volunteer since 2012

As a Master Gardener and Realtor for Newport Realty, Holly puts her exclusive access and keen eye for landscape to good use, scouting beautiful private gardens for our Garden Tour.


Margaret Long
Garden Committee Member
Volunteer since 2021

I was thrilled when Holly Harper asked me to join the VCM Garden tour committee.  Having supported the garden tour for many years with the Times Colonist I understand how beneficial the funds raised are for the Conservatory and the programs they offer.  The VCM is a vital part of our community, inspiring and educating our future musicians, young and old.  The garden tour is a magical weekend joining the love of music with the beauty of the gardens.


Shelley Wuitchik
Volunteer since 2021
Garden host in 2022

I was inspired to join the Victoria Conservatory of Music Garden Tour committee because of Mary Slanina’s contagious enthusiasm for the group and the event. My husband Michael is really the gardener in the family and he has created such a place of serenity and seasonally changing beauty in the past six years we have lived on the property. We are happy that it has been selected as one of the featured gardens in this year’s tour, it is truly an honour.

If you enjoy plants or love gardening, like working with the community and want to join this close-knit fun group of volunteers, click here to see volunteer opportunities for this exciting event and contact [email protected].

A huge thank you to our wonderful 2022 sponsors who have continued to support us to keep music thriving in our community!







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Unfortunately, the Making the Modern Garden event is cancelled. Refunds for the event will be automatically processed through the original point of sale through Eventbrite.

As this was a fundraising event, please consider donating the cost of your ticket to the Victoria Conservatory of Music or purchasing a ticket to the Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour instead.

Donations can be made here!