A botanical garden should be more than a repository of plants: it should be a place for people to enjoy the natural world and to participate in learning and research. The creators of the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University understood this, giving students a building and gardens for both quiet relaxation and study. The Centre and Gardens took nearly three years to research and design, and a further two years to build. Now, twenty years after completion, the Centre and Gardens are maturing, and being nurtured by a dedicated team for the enjoyment of generations to come.

Landscape architect Alex Novell and architectural historian John Leroux tell the story of the design, construction, and features of the Centre and Gardens at Acadia. Lavishly illustrated with full-colour images, A Natural Balance is both an indispensable book for anyone interested in the plants and trees of the Acadian forest and a visual record of a spectacular instance of North American collegiate architecture.

“It is difficult to explain how deeply certain places become intertwined with our lives,” says Sarah Lavallée, fourth-year Acadia student, and Arthur L. Irving Scholar. “The K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens are more than research and community resources. These places are integral to the fabric that make up Acadia University, the town of Wolfville, and the generations of students, staff, community members, and visitors that frequent them. I hope readers feel the energy, the sense of wonder, and appreciation for the natural world that the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre inspires in all those who enter.”

The K.C. Irving Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens are open to the public. We invite you to visit and immerse yourself in the beauty of our space.

The book is also available at the Acadia University Bookstore and the K.C. Irving Centre lobby.

To view more about our 20th anniversary celebrations please click here.