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How Does Our Garden Grow

Organic Rooftop Garden at The Fairmont Waterfront Offers Up An Herb for All Occasions – From Edible Flowers to Herbs that Induce Sleep
by Brenda Meikle
November 30, 2008

The culinary team at The Fairmont Waterfront brings green to new heights with their rooftop herb garden. Over sixty varieties of herbs, edible blooms, fruits, and vegetables are grown throughout the year and then chef-harvested daily for use in The Fairmont Waterfront kitchens.

Inspired by Pacific Northwest icons such as Sooke Harbour House and the Herbfarm, The Fairmont Waterfront’s 2,100 square-foot garden was started in 1995 on the hotel’s south-facing, third-floor, terrace balcony. In planting the garden the hotel also sowed seeds of change, creating one of Vancouver’s first “green roofs.”

Thanks to Vancouver’s mild climate, the produce is enjoyed year-round; though edible flowers and less hardy herbs start taking their place on the buffet stage come spring.

From seed to supper, the Fairmont Waterfront’s culinary brigade is involved with all aspects of the garden. Budding chefs are responsible for seasonal planting selections, weed maintenance, daily harvesting and the preparation of the bounty.

Naturally, where there are inspiring ingredients there are inspired chefs. Ideas are constantly blooming in the Herons kitchen, where offerings such as lavender ice and bay leaf sorbets are brought to life for dining room guests and offered on the daily fresh sheets.

Praised for their water retention, energy reduction, sound absorption, and air cleaning qualities, green roofs are sprouting in Vancouver.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and The Fairmont Waterfront is staying true to company roots. The hotel herb garden provides green roof space for the city and makes use of an underground irrigation system to reduce impact on Vancouver’s water supply in summer months. In further recognition of the environment, The Fairmont Waterfront follows herbicide and pesticide-free growing practices, using a spray made of orange pekoe tea and biodegradable soap to control pests.

Culinary and environmental benefits aside, the herb garden can also be enjoyed as a rooftop sanctuary in the middle of the city. From the hotel health club guests can follow their nose, with the heady scent of lavender and rosemary leading to the arbour garden gates. Stroll the paths, pick an apple from the espaliered tree, sample a wild strawberry or two and observe the local birds that frequently visit the garden to sample the daily insect selection. Those who visit at the beginning of spring will enjoy the special display of over one thousand tulips ushering in the season.

For guests who enjoy some bloom in their room, The Fairmont Waterfront offers several terrace rooms with French doors leading directly to the garden. For dish on the garden’s growing pains and a healthy dash of sage advice, visitors are advised to find the nearest chef. While chefs can often be spotted playing in the garden, scheduled tours can also be arranged.

For those seeking to add some petal power to their next event, the herb garden is a beautiful venue for a wedding or a garden soiree.

For more information on The Fairmont Waterfront visit  or call the hotel directly at 604-691-1991.

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