Thursday, May 2, 2013
More than just Flowers – The Royal Botanical Gardens offer Paradise in our Backyard
My passion for gardening started fairly young and came from my Scottish grandfather who lovingly tended our beds of roses, irises, peonies and perennials. I recall doing a regular tour of our small backyard, marvelling at the fragrant roses, and the brilliant colour of the confetti irises. When I got my own home, putting in gardens was my first priority and I poured over books and catalogues selecting things with little knowledge of their size, bloom time and invasion capacity! I could have benefitted from the knowledge and inspiration from a visit to or taking a course from the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). What a resource we have available in our own backyard!
Now that I am working in tourism I am fortunate to visit the RBG regularly and always come away with a treasure, whether it is something for the garden from the gift shop, a new variety of perennial to plant in my garden or a future event I want to attend. Did you know you can call the gardening information service, which is a help line for your gardening challenges. Where was this 30 years ago when I planted snow in summer and it grew everywhere?!
For gardeners or admirers of beautiful things there is always something in bloom at the RBG. Right now the magnolias are out in the Rock Garden and the forsythia is blooming throughout the gardens. At the main RBG Centre the early tulips and bluebells are startingbloom list which is updated regularly, you can discover what plants are in their full splendor. This week is the annual auxilary plant sale so it is a perfect time to buy something new for your garden or pick up that perfect mother’s day gift (how about brunch at the RBG?). Later in May the Arboretum will be ablaze with a wide variety of lilac species – one of the most extensive in the world. Being a May bride (a few years ago) we picked bunches of lilacs for our reception hall and now whenever I visit the arboretum it takes me back – the scent is intoxicating! As the seasons progress don’t miss the peonies, irises, wisteria, perennials, roses, grasses, hostas, Veggie Village and more. A handy tool for you to download is the visitor guide which highlights the blooms and includes garden maps.
Even if gardening is not your favorite pastime there are many activities that will draw you to the RBG. Hike along the 27 km of trails, and check out the Marshwalk Trail where you can view the Bald Eagles and their eaglets born this March. Visit the Cootes Paradise fishway, pack a picnic and enjoy the natural areas, bird watch, try your hand at painting or photography with subject matter everywhere you look. While visiting, stop in for refreshments at one of the three on-site restaurants. My personal favorite is the Rock Garden Teahouse with its lovely view over the gardens and it will be beautiful this week with all the tulips in bloom.
If you plan to visit often for the blooms, festivals and courses your best value is to become a member of the RBG. This entitles you to free admission, discounts on courses and services, member magazine and enewsletter and much more. I hope someday soon to get in touch with my creative side by taking a watercolour course at the centre.
You can get and stay connected with RBG in a number of ways through, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, or sign-up for their enewsletter.
Enjoy a visit or two to the RBG, bring your friends and family and get inspired by the natural beauty around you.