When visiting Montreal, it is worth a trip to the city’s Botanical Gardens. With ten greenhouses, thirty gardens, and more than 22,000 plant species, the Jardin Botanique is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It also makes a great escape from the hustle and bustle of one of Canada‘s most popular cities.
Walking around the Jardin is like an aromatic trip around the globe: the Japanese Pavilion incorporates Eastern ideals of refined, artistic beauty, with a tea room, bonsai garden, and zen garden. The Arboretum contains imported plant life from all over the world. The Medicinal Plant Garden has over a hundred plants used for health reasons, and the Toxic Plant Garden has much more than poison ivy! There’s even a Tropical Rainforests Conservatory to round out your journey through international foliage.
2011 marked the Jardin‘s 80th anniversary, and now online visitors can explore over a thousand old photos and sketches as part of a virtual exhibition of the history of the site, which is recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada. You can also find tips for gardening, growing, and landscaping on their website’s “green pages.” (Ever wonder which flowers are actually edible?)
“The Magic of Lanterns” show at the Chinese Garden runs until the end of October – this year’s theme is The First Emperor’s Procession (based on the guy whose tomb has the famous terracotta army); with 700 handcrafted lanterns flown in and assembled, to say it’s quite a sight is a bit of an understatement. Other exhibits include Taiwanese sculptures on display in the Arboretum until the end of the year and “Under the Cuban Sun,” which explores Cuban ecology and flora. Lastly, there’s always something fun going on at the Tree House!
The Botanical Garden is very close to downtown Montreal and stays open from 9am-6pm daily. Regular admission is $16.50. Just a few hours and you’ll no doubt be inspired to redo your whole backyard.