Darren is the Owner and Founder/Designer of Whistling Gardens. After receiving a degree in Outdoor Education, Darren left his 18 year nursery career to purchase a 56 acre farm in Wilsonville, Ontario with his wife Wanda to fulfill his lifelong botanical vision. In 2006, Whistling Gardens Nursery and Garden Centre were established, attracting plant collectors from across Canada and the United States. May 26th 2012 marked the official grand opening of “Canada’s Newest Horticultural Playground” as the multi-award winning privately owned botanical gardens features 22 acres of lush landscaped manicured gardens home to North America’s Largest Public Peony and Conifer Collections.
Their fountain Amphitheatre display has become a popular day and nighttime attraction which has approximately 110 jets choreographed to new world music, composed by Darren. Three years in the making, in 2022, the Festival of Fountains – The Night Garden introduced guests to a highly visual immersive experience of music, water, and lighting. “By working with engineers and technology experts around the world, we believe we have created a theatrical fountain experience unlike anything ever seen before in Canada.” This is currently the only show of its kind in Canada which introduces custom made international technology, receiving a Best New Event Nomination at FEO. The gardens also host several diverse special events annually.
Since its inception peer groups have recognized Whistling Gardens and owners, for their best business practices, horticultural excellence and garden design as a recipient of numerous municipal, provincial, national, and International awards. Garden Awards and recognition include: Canada’s Best New Garden Experience Award, Sustainable Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award, Millstream Award, and Federal Medal Receipient of the Canada 150 Award. Noteable accolades include Best Local Attraction and Wedding Facility, Top 10 Botanical Garden in Canada, Top 10 Conifer Gardens of the World, Best Gardening Event of the Year “Peony Festival”, Best Botanical Gardens of The Year, Top 10 Amazing Places of Norfolk County and recognized with a Canada 150 Garden Experience Designation.
In 2017 Darren was recognized as 1 of 20 Canadians Shaping Our Future Gardens by Garden Making Magazine and remains a regular guest contributor to Fine Gardening Magazine. When he’s not in the gardens, you can find him in the studio composing music and choreographing for the upcoming theatrical fountain performances.