Flowers · Gardening · Public Gardens · Roses · Travel

Visiting Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens – Part 1.

Niagara Botanical Gardens Canada.
Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens, Canada.

We still have winter here and the wave of cold and snowy weather. Two days ago there was a major snow storm in some parts of Greater Toronto area, particularly close to Hamilton, as well as in many other places East and south of us, including a big snowfall in New York. We were lucky this time since we only got about 1-2 cm of snow, so less then 1″. However it is still pretty cold – at the moment around O C.

Because of this cold weather, I thought it would be nice to think about a warmer part of the year when we had a lot of sunshine. I remembered my trip to Niagara last summer and would like to share with you some of my photographs taken in their Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens.

About Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens.

This beautiful and so vast garden is situated about 9 km (5.6 miles) from Niagara Falls on the way to Niagara on the Lake. To go there you drive along a scenic Niagara River Parkway while having Niagara river on the right flowing in the huge, deep canyon  called Great George. It takes about 10-15 minutes to drive there from Niagara Falls.

The park was established in 1936 and is located on 40 hectares of land (99 acres). You will find here many beautiful and original trees, including rhododendrons, azaleas, sequoias, as well as many amazing perennials, herbs and 2,400 roses in their world-famous rose garden. The entrance to the park is free, but parking is $5, unless you are a local resident and have purchased an annual pass for $11 (prices might change in the meantime, so have some extra change for parking just in case when going there.)

 

Botanical Gardens, Niagara, Canada.
Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens, Canada.

While there you will be also able to see many amazing butterflies in the Butterfly Conservatory (you have to pay to enter there), which is located pretty close to the main entrance, so it is easy to find. You will recognize it by a big glass dome of their greenhouse visible from far away. If you already are in the park, the conservatory is certainly worth the extra expense, especially if you have small children.

It has first opened its doors to visitors in December 1996, so more than 20 years ago.  Conservatory’s climate controlled glass dome is quite big – 1,022 square meters (11,000 sq ft), with 180 meters (590 ft) of walking paths and many tropical plants. The conservatory hosts more than 2,000 tropical butterflies from over 60 different species. For more information about the conservatory and current admission ticket prices, please visit this link.

Beside the conservatory there is also a very nice and well stocked gift shop, as well as 200-seat theater-auditorium room where you will be able to learn more about butterflies. If you ask for permission, you will be probably able to enter the gift shop without buying a ticket to the conservatory.  I think the shop is also worth visiting, especially if you like to buy some original flower seeds, often not available in other stores which sell garden supplies.  I was amazed to see there so many seeds packages and I have purchased several seeds of different flowers.

The School of Horticulture at the Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens.

School of Horticulture, Niagara Botanical Gardens.
School of Horticulture, Niagara Botanical Gardens.

In the middle of the park you will see some historical buildings of the School of Horticulture. The school presently offers 3 years Horticulture program with combines classes with practical work experience.

The school’s history stretches as far back as the beginnings of the garden, when in 1936, then called The Niagara Parks Commission Training School for Apprentice Gardeners, was established.  In June 1959 the School was renamed The Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture and then finally its name was changed one more time in June 1990 to the School of Horticulture. You can find out more information about this school here.

My Impressions From Visiting this Park in Juyly, 2016.

I rally recommend you visit this beautiful, relaxing park if you are in the Niagara region.  Please allow at least 1,5-2 hours to see the park or more if you would also like to explore the Butterfly Conservatory, or just sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Besides the conservatory, I particularly liked rose gardens, since there are some of my favorite flowers, as well as I have admired very well designed herbal gardens.

A butterfly enjoying Echinacea flowers in Niagara Botanical Gardens, July 2016.
A butterfly enjoying pink Echinacea flowers in Niagara region Botanical Gardens, July 2016.

I wish I have been in the gardens also earlier in the spring, and then in June, since I am sure they had then many spring flowers. Roses were probably at their peak around the end of June and the beginning of July. When I was there in the middle of July of 2016, many roses already stopped blooming. Maybe it was because of the extreme heat we had here during last July (2016).  I think it was the hottest July ever recorded in the history of this region. I have noticed some roses in my garden stopped blooming during this time probably because of so extreme heat and even frequent watering didn’t help much in getting more flowers. Many have resumed blooming in August when the weather cooled down a bit.

Among still flowering roses, my favorite was Dorothy Perkin’s pink rambler rose, which was in full bloom and didn’t seem to mind too much heat. The whole rose bush was almost covered with rather small, but very nice, pink flowers growing in big clusters, as you can see in the picture below. They had a few of such bushes in the rose garden. When I went there again at the beginning of August last yar, this rose was not flowering anymore. Maybe it was just resting or perhaps it mostly flowers at the beginning of the summer. I wouldn’t mind having one of them in my garden. They really look amazing when in full bloom.

Dorothy Perkin's rose in the Botanical Gardens, Niagara region, Canada.
Dorothy Perkin’s rose in the Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens, Niagara region, Canada.

While visiting the gardens besides some still flowering roses, I have seen many other flowers, shrubs and some trees in bloom including beautiful pink echinacea, balloon  and  blue globe thistle flowers, hibiscus trees, various kind of hydrangeas and many lilies. I was particularly impressed with the amazing red lily with small, but very original looking, bright red flowers – Montbretia Crocosmia “Lucifer”. I guess the name comes from the fiery colour of its flowers. I would love to have this lilly in my garden as well and maybe I will plant one this spring if I will be able to buy it.

Montbretia Crocosmia "Lucifer" lily in full bloom, Niagara Park's Botanical Gardens, Canada.
Montbretia Crocosmia “Lucifer” lily in full bloom, Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens.

I have also very much admired impressive flower spikes of  the purple Spiny Bear’s Breech – in Latin called “Acanthus spinosus”. This plant has rally long spikes with many beautiful purple flowers growing along their sides. The leaves  are also beautiful, but have sharp spines on the edges. It seems that the name “spinosus” comes from one of its features. I have later found out that the shape of the leaves of this plant was so admired by Greeks, that they have used it as a main decorative motive in one of their columns design styles called “Corinthian”. They have used the stylized shapes of Acanthus’s leaves to decorate the top (capital) of such colums. You can read more about Corinthian column design here.

Here is one of my pictures of this beautiful, so original looking flower and you can also see here its interestingly shaped leaves.

Spiny Bear's Breech - in Latin called "Acanthus spinosus" in full bloom in the Niagara Park's Botanical Gardens, Canada.
Spiny Bear’s Breech – in Latin called “Acanthus spinosus” in full bloom in the Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens, Canada.

I have enjoyed vising this garden so much, that I have also went there in about 3 weeks, at the beginning of August. I plan to write about my trip there in one of my future posts so stay tuned. To make sure you won’t miss it, you can subscribe or follow this blog, so you will receive automatic updates. If you like this article, please also share it with whoever else might be interested in reading it. Thank you.

The Copyright

All photographs and this article are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. I you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me. Thank you.

The Gallery.

Here you can see all of the pictures from this article and some more.

Other Articles You Might Also Like to Read.

  1. A Beautiful Italian Garden For You to Visit – “Giardino Sigurtà” in Valeggio sul Mincio, Northern Italy.
  2. The Gardens of Spiazzi – a Little Village in Italy, Province of Verona.

 

 

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