Garry oaks are the defining characteristic of this endangered ecosystem comprising 8.9 hectares (22 acres) south of the fire road below the House. Since 1991 volunteers have worked year round to remove invasive species and to encourage native plants such as salal, sword ferns, Nootka rose and Oregon grape.
An interpretive board at the trailhead describes restoration efforts and provides illustrated information about the flora and nine numbered trailside viewpoints, which include a rare trembling aspen grove.
The changing seasonal tapestry commences with satin-flowers, spring-gold and Indian plum’s dangling blossoms, soon followed by swelling oak buds, white fawn lilies, purple-blue camas, shooting star, western buttercups, ground orchids and delicate harvest broadiaea. Fall rains transform the landscape again, now enhanced by verdant mosses and licorice ferns.
Government House and its grounds were declared a National Historic Site in 2003, thus preserving this rare Garry oak ecosystem in an urban setting for future generations.