Welcome to Shangrila Farm.
Shangrila is a spectacular dahlia garden nestled in the back hills of Mission, in beautiful British Columbia. It comprises several acres of different colored dahlias, including dinner plate dahlias, making it a sight to behold. It is a walking garden made even more beautiful with the backdrop of the forested mountains and vast skies.
Meet Guo Sheng.
The vision to create this garden was the brainchild of Guo Sheng, who is the main person working in these gardens who is also helped by his wife (Marie) and son (Forest). Forest also owns and runs Shangrila in Maple Ridge, a stunning venue for baby showers and other events.
Guo Sheng came to Canada 10 years ago and founded the garden about 8 years ago. His dream and passion, which originated in his homeland of China, was to have his own garden which was fulfilled when he came to Canada. Shangrila is a beautiful place named after a very scenic place in China. Mr. Guo Sheng, before coming to Canada, worked for the Shangrila Company.
When they first bought the land in Mission, it was a horse farm (see photos below graciously shared by Marie & Mr. Guo Sheng). It's hard to believe that this is the same property we see today, an intricate masterpiece of dahlias and art.
Let's take a moment to appreciate a photo of the farm before it became Shangrila beside Shangrila today.
Did you know...
Originally the plan was to turn the property into a vineyard but this did not work out since the soil was not suitable for growing grapes. The plan changed and it was decided to convert it into a dahlia garden. However, in some areas, grapes are still grown and with permission you can taste this delicious fruit as you walk throughout the gardens. We were graciously offered some, each time we have visited.
Each year, the dahlia tubers are planted in the spring. The garden comes into full bloom from July until September after which, around the 10th of October, they start harvesting the dahlia tubers by hand. They then store them adjacent to the farm, to plant again next spring, keeping an eye on the temperature to ensure the tubers do not rot. The dahlia bulbs are separated and sold each year when taken out, for anyone who would like to buy them.
Each year more dahlia are planted expanding the garden.
A beautiful mind and soul.
Shangila is a very beautiful and serene place, conducive for families to leisurely walk through the gardens. There are wooden animal displays, and even a wooden Star Wars section made out of branches collected on the farm. As new ideas come into Mr. Guo Sheng's brilliant mind, his hard working hands turn them into reality, resulting in ever changing displays of absolute magic.
An added bonus of visiting the farm, is the lovely farm animals living there. There are chickens and ducks running freely and turkeys who all have grown up being gently cared for by Marie, Mr. Guo Sheng, & Forest.
An admiring son and wife.
When learning about the hard work that goes into the farm, both Marie & Forest were quick to let us know that they are but the helpers and that Mr. Guo Sheng is the mastermind behind this land of imagination. All that you see in the garden is all done BY HAND.
There is an incredible amount of work and craftsmanship that goes into everything Mr. Guo Sheng does. I was fascinated by the extensive arches and the many shapes he had created.
Dinosaurs & Dragons!
One of the best parts of conducting this interview was the enormous pride that Mr. Guo Sheng took in his work. He beamed as we strolled thorugh the property and took the time to show us these beautiful creations that he had made!
The Children's Garden.
It is recommended that one visit the garden as a family and explore this extensive property, taking your time to drink in all of the incredible sights Shangrila has to offer. You will find some interactive displays and as a bonus, children will also find it interesting because there are all kinds of animals, even huge stuffed animals (that have been brought all the way here from a visit to China) that will very much interest the children in what Mr. Guo Sheng & Forest affectionately refer to as, "The Children's Garden".
Works of art.
There are several displays which are dotted throughout the garden which surprise the visitor at every turn. One of my favorite parts was the Art Garden. Marie, also an artist, paints many beautiful creations that Mr. Guo Sheng builds himself. Together, they bring these to life. Each and every piece has a story behind it and there are even various wall art options for sale!
Sharing on his father's behalf, his son, Forest explained to us that Mr. Guo Sheng used to work in the Chinese countryside as a 7 years old child. There were many difficulties he had to face. It was a difficult journey moving forward from that time in his life and deep down, he still carries that with him. However, through his work at Shangrila, Mr. Guo Sheng has found incredible healing through the joys of growing and caring for the earth and living things.
Something for everyone.
From the dahlia fields to the larger than life vases and baskets filled with roses and even an Alien Garden...there is something for everyone. There is symbolism, love & connection, clearings with choices of which path to take and explore, a root garden of BC trees that have long since fallen and are showing their magnificent roots that once ran deep in the earth.
Entering the, "Island Garden" was akin to entering another world. Complete with bridges over a ponds and a little house carved into the bottom of a massive tree trunk, adults & children alike could stay here forever.
A fond farewell.
Mr. Guo Cheng, it was an absolute honour to meet you, the genius behind the beautiful Shangrila Farm. You are brilliant, humble, kind, and creative. Your love for what you do shines through every single flower that blooms and your transparency in sharing your journey is so powerful.
10/10, would recommend
This is the place to visit, a special place for anyone wanting a low key activity in the Fraser Valley, and also an opportunity to support a local business run by a very hard working family.
It is a beautiful place for a romantic stroll, an Instagram perfect spot for you & friends to visit, an exquisite spot for photoshoots.
For families, this is a wonderful activity that takes your kids away from their screens that helps everyone reconnect with nature. It truly is a land where pure imagination comes to life.
So don't just take my word for it. Come and visit Shangrila Farm, for yourself.