Canada's largest Botanical Gardens, the RBG has five garden areas, including RBG centre, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden & the Arboretum. It also has four nature sanctuaries, including Cootes Paradise, Hendrie Valley, Rock Chapel & Berry Tract. Click here to view the garden map.
RBG Centre - The main centre for the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Centre has indoor greenhouses with a vast collection of cactus & exotic plants and flowers. Most popular is the Mediterranean Garden(cool, so bring a coat), where the bloom season is actually winter!
Hendrie Park - Gardens featured include Rose Garden (beautiful @ June & Early Summer), Medicinal Garden (herbs & spices), Small-flowered Clematis, Garden Lily (Lilium) Collection, Scented Garden (plants with attitude!), Thyme Garden, The World of Botany, Vines, Climbers and Espaliers, Kids' Gardening Zone (plant veggies), The Morrison Woodland Garden, Border Buffet (whole collection of plant borders to give you creative edge), Queen Beatrix Narcissus Collection (daffodil gift that Queen Beatrix gave during her visit in 1988) & a Collection of Canadian-Originated Trees. This garden really tickles of five of your senses & offers a comforting atmosphere.
Rock Garden - My personal favourite, the Rock Garden is actually a hillside valley garden that uses altitude & the rocks to compliment the flora. It is also a favourite among photographers & newlyweds, who love the fact that the garden is surrounded by hills, gardens and a pond & stream. This garden also has many trees & shaded areas, so it is a comforting walk in the baking sun.
For admission prices, please click here. It is open all year (except Christmas & New Years), from 9 a.m. to dusk. Remember the gardens are seasonal, so come when your favourite flowers are in bloom.
Royal Botanical Gardens is also accessible by doubledecker bus: click here to access their site.
The Royal Botanical Gardens are a true hidden gem. While the gardens themselves are impressive, what I really enjoyed most was the hiking trails. We were in town (Hamilton) for the weekend and spent most of the time hiking the area. The Grindstone Marsh was my favourite – beautiful scenery, tons of wildlife and boardwalks that take you right out in the water. I would check out the Cootes Paradise area as well – great views and lots of different trails to keep you busy. Also, they have a really neat website to virtually explore the trails (www.rbg.geotrail.ca).
This is a group of several gardens, and it only takes one entry ticket to visit them all (at least 5 of them) You can park in one and cach a shuttle service bewteen the 5 gardens in the Hamilton/Burlington region. The shuttle runs on a 45 minute schedule, so there's lots of time to explore one area before moving to another. If you take your car from one to the other, you are expressed through, and there seems to be lots of parking. Gardens are really open, kids were rolling down the hills, there are kids activities scheduled for the summer, it's very family friendly. Nice nature walks, (time didn't permit us to go very far). The gardens seem well planned, well-managed and quite unrestrictive in terms of allowing you to enjoy the gardens. Not the stuffy, walk on the paths, don't touch, don't smell, you sometimes see.
Royal Botanical Garden consists of 5 gardens i.e. RBG Centre, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden, Rock Garden, and Arboretum) and four nature sanctuaries i.e. Cootes Paradise, Hendrie Valley, Rock Chapel, and Berry Tract.
We visited Laking Gardens of the Royal Botanical Garden on a very hot weekend of August. We sweated and got scortched in the sun, but the beauty of Irisis, Peonies and other perennials was such that we forgot all about any hardship.
Different types of flowers are grown in ideal home front and backyard formations for education of garden lovers.
An interesting feature was on the far side of the garden. A nesting place had been arranged for turtles to climb up on the hill from the forests down below and lay their eggs.
Not only will you find manicured rose gardens and the largest lilac collection in the world here, but there are also some 1000 hectares of wooded ravines and marshes crisscrossed with walking paths. It is located very close to downtown Hamilton at the border with Burlington. It's a wonderful place for a stroll and for photography.
Even in the winter, you can visit the greenhouses where various flower shows are exhibited.
Hendrie Valley -The slopes of Hendrie Valley are comprised of mixed deciduous forest. Its sheltered, southerly exposure provides a reasonably warm, dry microclimate, creating a unique habitat that is home to several rare and uncommon plants and animals including many Carolinian species. A 50-hectare marsh lies in Hendrie Valley where the lower portion of Grindstone Creek flows.
Rock Chapel- a 72-hectare nature sanctuary located along the Niagara Escarpment, is part of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This south-facing forested habitat features Borer’s Falls and the escarpment valley. Here is one of the best places for birdwatching, especially for uncommon birds.
Berry Track -Berry Tract lies to the east of Rock Chapel and is also part of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It is more than 30 hectres of rolling hills with scrubs, small trees and grasses.
As you can see, there is a lot to see at the Royal Botanical Gardens, so plan your time wisely and enjoy the blessings of mother nature.
Flowers in Bloom:
January to May - Spring-flowering bulbs, Mediterranean plants, orchids, cacti, Clematis, spring wildflowers, flowering cherry trees, lilac, flowering crabapples, cherries and magnolias, rhododendrons, synoptic hedge collection, native trees
June to July - lilac, Roses, clematis, spring wildflowers, annual flowers, tree and herbaceous peonies, hostas, perennial beds, ornamental grasses and monocots, heritage plants, boxwood, azaleas
August to September - chrysanthemums, Hostas, perennial beds, ornamental grasses and monocots, Roses, Medicinal Plant Garden, annual flowers, herbs, Perennial Border Gardens
September to December - Poinsettias and holiday plants, indoor tropical plants, Fall colours, dahilias
There are also 30 km of walking trails, & more information can be requested from the RBG centre.
Laking Garden - The iris collection is simply my favourite, for in June & July, the Iris blooms & the whole garden is filled with an airy feeling. There are over 600 varieties of iris, including some that have won awards. The oramental grasses garden will most certainly enlighten you with new garden ideas, for these low maintenance & high yield plants will add an unique flair to your garden. The Barbara Laking Memorial Heritage Garden is a historic garden that features plants that were commonly grown in the early 20th century and historic tools that gardeners used. It is dedicated to Barbara Tarver Laking (1915-1986), of England, who dedicated a large par of her life to beautifying RBG.
Arboretum - Featured are the Katie Osborne Lilac Garden, the magnolia collection, the maze, the weeping tree collection, the avenue of trees and Canada's native plants. The Lilac Gardens is home to the largest lilac collection in the world. It also is the home of the International Registration Authority for new lilac cultivars, and a site for their display and evaluation. The lilac garden was made possible by a generous memorial donation by the family of Hamilton lilac enthusiast Katie Osborne. The maze is designed with white cedars, forming four concentric circles with a variety of colours and textures. Like all mazes, it is a lot of fun!
Cootes Paradise - Located at the West End of Hamilton harbour, this 840 hectre wildlife sanctuary contains a 250 ha wetland filled with wild animals and interesting flora. Spencer Creek, Borer’s Creek and Chedoke Creek, Westdale Creek, Long Valley Brook, Hickory Brook and Highland Creek all drain into the marsh & into Lake Ontario. This sanctuary a vital link to other conservation areas in the region including Spencer Gorge, Iroquois Heights and Borer’s Fall’s/Rock Chapel—part of the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It is one of Ontario's most important waterfowl staging habitats & the largest nursery habitat for fish in the region.
Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens. RBG - right in the vicinity of Hamilton - features many gardens, sanctuaries and trails providing long hours of refreshment for the visitors. Spring blooms, summer is hot :) , autumn is full of colours. What else do you need?
Anyways, there are only six botanical gardens on the world marked 'royal', that makes this one even more unique!
If you love nature, be sure to stop at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). All the blooms are breath- taking. Relaxing, great for pictures and be sure to bring binoculars for those who love birdwatching!!
2,700 acres of gardens, forests, wetlands, wildlife and trails
ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS ~ Plane cool! Nice way to spend a day walking around ... gat a coffee, sit down and enjoy... In the summer time, lots of wedding parties come down here after the ceremony to take pictures (as you can see in the background!!!) and it would be best to avoid coming down here on Saturday afternoons - unless you like to play the stranger in all the pictures, which can be fun as well....:)))))))))