At the beginning of summer when nature flourishes, the gardens unfold for the happiness of all. Intoxicating scents, dazzling colors and taste experiences, the magic operates to exalt your senses in the heart of these eight parks punctuated with activities and events. Change of scenery guaranteed for a day, 2 hours 30 minutes at most from Montreal.
Founded in Saint-Hyacinthe 28 years ago by three horticultural teachers (Daniel André Séguin, Wilfrid Meloche and Milan B. Havlin), the Daniel A. Séguin garden is above all an educational space intended for students of the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire du Québec (ITAQ), which is just across the street.
“The goal of the three professors was to provide students with a life-size laboratory, especially those studying landscaping,” explains Nancy Rossi, the site’s general manager. Today, in addition to this educational aspect, the space has, on the one hand, a tourist vocation and, on the other hand, a cultural and artistic vocation.
This garden, where you can discover exceptional plants, forms a set of 24 themes spread over 4.5 hectares, the centerpiece of which is the French garden. It is mainly characterized by symmetrical flowerbeds carefully planted with flowers by ITAQ students.
Along the promenade, a Japanese garden with a small pond and a tea house is revealed; a Mediterranean garden planted, among other things, with succulents in a desert area and a pergola reminiscent of Greek temples. Medieval Gardens, First Nations, Love, Future… the visit is diversified and children are not left out, since a space where they can play freely is reserved for them.
“Each year, we have a partnership with a foundation, an association or a museum to deploy the cultural and artistic component”, continues Ms. Rossi. In particular, you can see the exhibition Devenir comme l’arbre, bringing together a few artists. This event inspired by a work by multidisciplinary artist Jordi Bonet is ongoing until September 4 in the eco-responsible horticultural pavilion.
The other artistic novelty, the result of a collaboration with Pépite
The jewel of Gatineau Park, the Mackenzie-King Estate belonged to the 10th Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King, in the 1900s. This great romantic created three spaces representing remains from reclaimed stones. “We have a French garden, an English garden and a rock garden. There are also birdbaths and sundials everywhere, because Mr. Mackenzie King was very fond of them,” says Catherine Bouchard, Heritage Resources Program Officer. During the walk, the visit of two chalets will immerse you in another era and you will have the opportunity to play croquet and badminton. On July 1, the music group Sons of Scotland will come to honor the Scottish origins of the founder to the sound of the bagpipes.
The Moore Garden was designed by William Dyson Moore in 1944 on the grounds of an abandoned farm along the Mascouche River. This pioneer in ecological horticulture then imagined a permaculture garden, where nature does its work. “We don’t use any pesticides and no watering, because as the garden is on a downward slope, it’s the rainwater that takes care of the plants,” explains Emmanuelle Boutin, administrator of the Dyson Moore Foundation. Each plant is positioned in a strategic place, which creates a harmonious cycle between animals and native plants. This relaxing place of observation where various events and workshops are organized, such as the introduction to sculpture for all ages on August 11, has just inaugurated an exhibition of around fifty sculptural works created by around thirty artists.
In the heart of the old village of Verchères, a beautiful Victorian built in 1890 is nestled in a historic plant setting, where lilies are in the spotlight. Dozens of varieties of this symbolic flower of the kingdom of France line this steep garden composed of 23 themes. Among these: the aromatic entrance, the Victorian swing, the large pool, the aviary, the stained glass window, the gardener’s shed or the contemplative stopover set the tone for this visit imbued with poetry. In addition to lilies with their spectacular flowering and characteristic fragrance, the place is inhabited by perennials, including roses and many other species of plants.
It is on the mountainside, in the pretty Laurentian village of Val-David, that the Clef des Champs herbalist opens its garden of medicinal plants from July 15 to August 20. You will find more than 150 certified organic species while strolling on these terraced gardens which offer an exceptional panorama. Health advice and discussions on the principles of herbalism are on the agenda, as well as several workshops that will allow you to learn more about these plants and their benefits. Herbalist speakers will also share their knowledge between July 29 and August 16. Reservations required.
If you live in Montreal, this destination is the most remote of our eight gardens, but it’s worth the trip! Located in Kingsey Falls, Marie-Victorin Park is renowned for its 13 giant permanent mosaic cultures, its tropical greenhouse and its fairy gardens enhanced with water features. Starting July 1st, you can experience a surprising interactive event called Awesome! All smart! which deals with the different types of intelligence, including those of plants. The garden paths will be embellished with a touching photo exhibition featuring the favorite native species of the famous botanist Brother Marie-Victorin. Other events are planned, including a bonsai exhibition on July 15 and 16, where more than 70 venerable specimens will be displayed. Good to know: the first Sundays of the month are free!
We often forget to take advantage of the beautiful sites near us and this may be your case if you live in or near Montreal. Visited by people from all over the world, the Montreal Botanical Garden is one of our jewels where it is good to walk and which offers colorful events, activities and exhibitions all year round. It includes 10 exhibition greenhouses and brings together plants from most regions of the world. The space is large, so the most vulnerable will be happy to take a minitrain tour for free during the summer season. Tasty plant biodiversity on the plate, anti-waste challenge on food waste and intimate concerts in a bucolic setting are on the agenda from July 9.
A vast urban park of more than 50 hectares, the Center de la nature de Laval brings together in one place horticultural gardens connected by a network of paths embellished, among other things, with footbridges and ponds where everything is conducive to contemplation. The tropical greenhouse, where exotic plants, fish and birds flourish, will transport you for a few moments to other climates. Both educational and fun, the farm where you can see, for example, chickens, goats, pigs and horses will certainly appeal to the youngest. Water sports enthusiasts can practice kayaking, canoeing or rabaska on the large lake. There are many activities and entertainment and several festive events are scheduled throughout the summer.