by Becky Dumais
Exploring a lush garden evokes feelings of freedom and peacefulness. Flowers in full bloom impart inspiration, creativity and even a renewed sense of hope. Rare plants and woodland animals encourage curiosity and wonder. Wander through the Royal Botanical Gardens on any given day, and you’ll see kids catching bugs with butterfly nets, people enjoying a leisurely walk and artists with sketchbooks in hand, all taking in what the RBG has to offer.
Variety is definitely the spice that makes the RBG such a fantastic local community landmark. It showcases the world’s largest lilac collection, a stunning iris garden, 3,000 rose bushes, 100,000 spring bulbs, 32 kilometers of trails, plus Cootes Paradise – a wetland area at the westernmost point of Lake Ontario. There are five major areas to discover: the Arboretum, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden, the RBG Centre and the Rock Garden.
Every month, whether it’s a dedication to one or more seasonal blooms or jazz in the garden, there’s always something to see. Here’s what’s happening over the next few months at RBG.
Saturday, April 20: Member’s Mulch Day
BYOC (container), shovel or whatever you need (plus your membership card) to take advantage of the nutrient rich mulch to get your own gardens growing.
Saturday, April 20: Earth Day
RBG and Earth Day Hamilton are rejuvenating a section of marsh shore that’s heavily used for youth education programs and science. Enjoy a BBQ, guided hikes and other activities. Bring the kids!
May 1, 2, 4, & 5: Auxiliary Plant Sale
Take a piece of the RBG home to your own garden. Choose from specialty annuals, herbs, veggies, ferns, perennials, shrubs, iris and many other items from RBG’s collection.
May 3 – 5: RBG Home & Garden Show
Get a preview of, and the opportunity to buy, the newest merchandise of the season, hear advice from the experts, watch demonstrations and enjoy some great food and entertainment.
May 12: Mother’s Day Brunch
Treat the number one lady in your life to a day at RBG. Enjoy a flavourful brunch in the Auditorium and browse the spring blooms.
May: Celebrate Tulips
Revel in spring amongst the colourful tulip display, the azalea collection and see what new growth is emerging this time of year. Visit the Rock Garden Tea House for lunch each weekend this month.
May: Celebrate Lilacs!
More than 700 species of this fragrant shrub will be in bloom along the picturesque Lilac Walk. Bring a picnic and take a break at the bottom of the Lilac Dell and enjoy the serenity. Learn about all of the plants and flowers in bloom at the Discovery Cart each weekend.
June – September (Wednesdays): Red-Hot Jazz & Cool Blues
Music in the gardens: listen to a great lineup of performances, drinks and dinner. Held rain or shine!
The Gardens Café, in the RBG Centre, is suitable for business luncheons, a light lunch with friends or family or the place to get a snack after walking the garden trails. The Rose Garden Teahouse, in Hendrie Park, is surrounded by blooms and is ideal for a relaxing repast and a cup of tea. The Rock Garden Teahouse, in the Rock Garden, is tucked into the historic Rock Garden, offering comforting, classic cuisine.
There are three places to enjoy a meal on the property: the Gardens’ Café, Rose Garden Teahouse and Rock Garden Teahouse.
Shop @ the Gardens
The shop is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and has many unique gifts made by Canadian artisans (pottery, glass, jewellery); tools, accessories, décor and more for gardeners; a great place to pick up Canadiana and RBG merchandise for souvenir shoppers.