Spread across 75 hectares (185 acres), Montréal's Botanical Garden is a fragrant oasis 12 months a year. Ten large conservatory greenhouses each have a theme: orchids, begonias and African violets, ferns, flora from the rainforest. Outdoors, spring is when things really kick in: lilacs in May, lilies in June, and roses from mid-June to the first frost. The Chinese Garden, a joint project of Montréal and Shanghai, evokes the 14th- to 17th-century era of the Ming Dynasty and was built according to the Chinese landscape principles of yin and yang. It incorporates pavilions, inner courtyards, ponds, and myriad plants indigenous to China. The serene Japanese Garden fills 6 hectares (15 acres) and includes a cultural pavilion with an art gallery, a tearoom where ancient tea ceremonies are performed, a stunning bonsai collection, and a Zen garden. A small train runs through the gardens from mid-May to October and is worth the small fee charged to ride it. The grounds are also home to the Insectarium, displaying some of the world's most beautiful and sinister insects. Birders should bring along binoculars on summer visits to spot some of the more than 190 species that have been spotted here. An extensive website provides great details on everything.
- © Frommer's 2013