Review: Montreal Botanical Garden

“Nothing short of spectacular.”

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OK, so I am quoting myself. But that is the only way that I can describe this beautiful botanical collection. While most of us do not think of botanical gardens as museums, according to the American Association of Museums they really are. I decided to include, as a result of my visit to this garden, more reviews about botanical gardens. I found, after visiting the Montreal Botanical Garden, that a botanical garden can be as educational and as fun as a conventional brick-and-mortar museum.

Rose Garden

The day that I was there was sunny and warm, so I had a chance to see the garden at its best. I began in The Rose Garden. It covers six hectares (about 15 acres), and it has more than 10,000 rose bushes showcasing more than 900 species and cultivars (a rose variety produced in cultivation by selective breeding). The roses (my favorite of all flowers) are planted in more than one hundred beds, and I spent nearly an hour enjoying and photographing the different types of roses. The rose beds alone are worth the visit.

Chinese Garden

Next I strode through two Asian style gardens. The first was the Chinese Dream Lake Garden, a garden design based on a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) tradition that was popular in the home gardens of the Yangtze River region during that historical period. Covering 2.5 hectares (6 acres) the garden appears constructed according to specific artistic and symbolic concepts. Seven unique pavilions in the Dream Lake Garden were built using common construction methods of the day, and they also represent several architectural styles common during the era. Take your time strolling through these structures while paying particular attention to how each is made and to its unique layout and purpose.

Japanese Garden

The second Asian garden is the Japanese Pavilion, a blend of gardens and a building reminiscent of an actual Japanese home. The Pavilion has numerous rooms (including a tea room and an art gallery) that reflect Japanese culture and lifestyle. The building is situated within an array of gardens that include bonsai, tea, and Zen gardens. Also nearby is a beautifully landscaped and manicured pond that contains a few koi, an ornamental variety of carp.


As far as the gardens go, I have only given you a sample of what this collection has to offer. You can spend hours at this place viewing the well-designed, well-landscaped botanical collections that make up the Montreal Botanical Garden. But there is more: on the grounds of the garden is the Insectarium, a museum about insects. Here you will see insect collections from around the world. They include displays of live and dead insects, as well as informational displays about many types of insects from bees to ants to butterflies. Give yourself a good hour to spend here, as there is much to see and to learn.

The Montreal Botanical Garden and the Insectarium are located on 75 hectares (approximately 185 acres) of land located near Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. From the stadium’s tower, the Insectarium appears to be in the shape of an insect. Allow plenty of time for your visit. Walking the grounds alone can take up to two hours. Add the greenhouses and the Insectarium to your visit and this could easily become a day trip.

About Bloice Davison

Bloice C. Davison, III blogs, travels occasionally, and takes pictures. He has experience in the telecommunications, banking, retailing and outside sales businesses. He is a former fly-fishing guide and fly-fishing instructor for the Orvis Company. He served as an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the United States Air Force. A 1988 graduate of Virginia Tech, he also has a BS in statistics from the Metropolitan State College of Denver.


  1. As you wrote, I’ve never considered a botanical garden to be a museum, but I will now. You’ve described this one in delightful detail that makes me want to spend time there. Last year I was in the Wellington Botanic Garden in New Zealand, a charming 25-hectare garden established in 1868. Not only is the Lady Norwood Rose Garden there spectacular, but the Begonia House displays an incredibile collection of orchids and water lilies with amazing color.

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