Montreal's majestic Botanical Garden
Hey and look what at what's blooming in Rajasthan - check out the link to see! GG
I know we have many amazing botanical gardens in the UK, but nothing could have prepared me for the gardens I encountered in Montreal, Canada last week. They are quite incredible and even though it is too early in the season for the gardens to look their best, I spent a blissful day there in the glasshouses!
The Hacienda Greenhouse
Although plans had been in the making for 50 years to make a Botanical Garden in Montreal, it was not until 1936 that work finally commenced on the gardens that are there today, and this was largely due to the tireless efforts of Brother Marie-Victorin, a passionate scientist who was determined that Montreal should have its own showcase devoted to plants. By 1939 the basic structure was in place, and work continued from here.
Glasshouses are always one of the best aspects of botanical gardens the world over, and Montreal's were added in 1956. But here in Quebec, "glorious" is the only way to describe these magical greenhouses with their dazzling arrays of themed gardens that are guaranteed to give pleasure to visitors at any time of year. There is The Tropical Rainhouse Conservatory; the Orchids and Ferns; the Arid Regions conservatory; the Hacienda landscape (the glasshouse where huge cacti grow alongside desert-style houses, and give you the feeling that you are in the Mexican desert); and the wonderful Japanese garden where bonsai lovers can eat their hearts out!
The labelling is impressive too, as are the information boards throughout the glasshouses - beautiful clear descriptions with illustrations (above), that will delight adults and children alike. And unlike so many of the American gardens I've visited, there is also a wonderful guide book for the Montreal Botanical Gardens - a beautifully illustrated and hugely informative "must have" to remind you of your day out here.
The Montreal Botanical Garden is one of ten gardens belonging to the Gardens of Quebec group, which also includes the Morgan Arboretum, the Reford Gardens (Jardins de Metis) and several teaching gardens. Sadly, March is too early to visit most of these as there is little in flower after the winter, but I was more than happy with my visit to Montreal and will never forget the Butterfly Exhibition that I saw there last week!
If I've waxed lyrical here, it's not surprising - I visited at the end of winter when there are only a few signs of spring in the gardens - this is definitely one I'll put on my list to return to when everything is in in bloom!