As I’m walking on this path in the Montreal Botanical Gardens, I hear the beating of Native drums in the distance. I reach another fork in the way and pick the route in the direction of those drums. I don’t know where I am on the vast map. I don’t know which path I’m on. There are dense trees and shrubs around, and all that is guiding me is the sound of those drums. Just when I think I’m going to reach the source of these drums, they stop, and I’m standing in front of the most spectacular pond filled with tiny floating pink flowers.
I sit here for a few minutes on an ideally located bench. The drums led me here. I have no idea where I am in this vast garden, and I don’t know where to go next. I get up to walk away from the pond and find the path to the next garden display, but the drums start again. Like spirits are guiding me to my next Botanical Surprise.
I walk the path towards the drums, and they get louder and louder. I walk toward the enclosed area where the drums are being played, and a security guard jumps in front of me. “This is a private event.” Not the surprise I was hoping for.
Before the beating of the drums distracted me I was on a direct journey through some of the Botanical Gardens main exhibits.
This building is an attraction all on its own. I’m not particularly fond of bugs and insects so I passed on this one. I also skipped the little insect snack bar outside the Insectarium. Maybe next time I’ll be braver.
I passed beautiful sculptures walking in from the main entrance, and stopped to admire the many fountains on my path.
Japanese Garden and House
The paths were straightforward in this part of the gardens, and I followed along on the map until I reached the Japanese Garden. Inside the house was a beautiful display of Kimonos and Japanese handwritten scrolls. Then I took a peaceful walk through the Bonsai garden. I didn’t know there were so many species of Bonsai let alone a pink flowered one!
Outside the Japanese Garden house, there was another beautiful pond filled with big Japanese fish. A tranquil spot where just the sound of rushing water from a nearby waterfall was heard.
After walking through this quiet area in the gardens, I got distracted by the drums and now was not sure where I was on the Botanical map. So I kept walking until I reached a fork in the path. Go left or go right?
First Nations Garden
I had to make a decision, and I’m looking at the map and I know where I want to go on it I want to see the Chinese Garden, it should be right next to the First Nations garden, so I go left thinking this is the direction to take. I end up in front of another beautiful water feature, and I look for a sign trying to figure out where I am on the map.
Go left or go right? Another difficult decision. Each time I decide I start to wonder what am I missing on the other path going in the other direction. I’m looking for the main road that runs around the gardens, but the way I’m on becomes a dense forest.
Heroes of the Forest Trail
I see a treehouse, and I realize that I’ve walked my way to the upper part of the Botanical Gardens, the forest and tree displays. I decide to pick one of the coloured trails and search for the Frederick Back Tree House which is at the topmost point of the Montreal Botanical Gardens. I’m not entirely sure where I am, and I’m not concerned. I’m enjoying the solitude of walking the path, taking photos and meeting some new friends along the way.
Federic back Tree Pavillion
Before I know it, the forest path leads me to the house I was hunting. A great place to stop and refill my water bottle and take a bathroom break.
I’m back on track! I follow more paths through the amazing forest to get back to the gardens and displays.
At this point, I have had enough forest hiking, and I’m ready to see the beautiful flower gardens. I follow the map carefully this time and choose the right paths whenever I hit another fork. Finally, I arrived at the Chinese Gardens.
The paths along the water of the Chinese Garden were filled with colourful flowers and lanterns. At night this display is a spectacular light show which can be seen during the Gardens of Light (September through November).
Update 2018: Currently, the Chinese Garden is undergoing a renovation, and the newly designed Chinese Garden should open fully in August of 2018.
The remainder of my walk was just filled with colourful garden after colourful garden. These exhibitions included shrubs, toxic plants and Perennials to name only a few.
What I wish was that I had all day to spend in the gardens. There were so many little places to sit and write or read a book. Small private areas with no one around.
Just when I thought I reached the end of the Montreal Botanical Gardens, I find myself walking into the greenhouses! There was only not enough time to appreciate it all on this one quick visit. As I walked into the heat and warmth of the greenhouse immediately struck me. I was surrounded with flowers, bushes and trees.
Lunch at the Garden Restaurant
All this walking can build up an appetite. The Garden Restaurant is located at the Montreal Botanical Gardens entrance and is not a bad place to stop for a light bite to eat. The cafeteria-style restaurant serves delicious and healthy foods.
I grabbed a sandwich and salad combo and treated myself to a cookie for dessert. There are two patios at this restaurant with lots of shade and surrounded by more greenery.
It was indeed a picture perfect day at the Montreal Botanical Garden. The sun was shining the sky was blue with fluffy clouds, an ideal time to be outdoors and enjoy the many gardens, exhibits and hiking trails. The gardens will be a must-see for me the next time I revisit Montreal!
Have you been to Montreal’s Botanical Garden? Do you have other Botanical Garden Visits you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below I’d love to hear your stories!
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- Escape to New Worlds in the Biodome Montreal
- Inside Montreal’s Biosphere and a Walk in Parc Jean-Drapeau
- Getting Lost in Montreal Botanical Gardens
- Old Montreal Inspires Photography Excursion
- Hotel Review: Zero 1 Hotel Montreal: Funky, Awesome, Great Location
- Books That Inspire Travel: 300 Reasons to Love Montreal