The book traces the lives of Ed and Francisca Darts who transformed their rough, stump-covered acreage into an acclaimed garden containing rare and unusual shrubs and trees, many grown from seed. Francisca became one of the most knowledgeable garden experts in western Canada in the era of “super plantswomen.” Beloved for her enthusiasm and generosity in sharing her immense knowledge of plants, Francisca was associated with many of the most respected groups and individuals in the gardening community of her time. The book is also the history of the gardening community in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia during her era.
"This much anticipated history of Darts Hill Garden by Margaret Cadwaladr is well told and beautifully illustrated. Beyond describing Francisca Darts’ amazing horticultural journey, Cadwaladr brings to the page a fascinating cast of local characters and a lucid, evocative record of the times. It is a delightful tribute to Francisca and her wonderful garden."
Associate Director, Horticulture & Collections, UBC Botanical Garden
"The garden’s story needed to be told."
"A Secret Garden is the remarkable tale of the life of Ed and Francisca Darts. Cadwaladr has skilfully woven together many threads; the Darts life together, the early beginnings of the garden with a fruit and nut orchard and the development of Darts Hill Garden Park into the unique garden it is today. A charming book, a pleasure to read!"
Chair, Darts Hill Garden Conservancy Trust Society