THE ROSE GARDEN AT THE MONTREAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
AWARD OF GARDEN EXCELLENCE. There are many wonderful Rose Gardens around the world, but some are truly exceptional from a historical, educational and/or visual point of view. Beginning in 1995, The World Federation of Rose Society’s has recognised the best of these outstanding rose gardens with its Award Of Excellence. Below is just one of many gardens around the world, plus the date that they received the Award Of Excellence. THE ROSE GARDEN AT THE MONTREAL BOTANICAL GARDEN Awarded in 2003 Montreal Botanical Gardens 4101 rue Sherbrooke Est Montreal Quebec Canada H1X 2B2 Web Site www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/en/jardin_virtuel/jardins/roseraie.htm The thing that strikes you most about the Montreal Botanical Garden is the sheer size of the place, it is huge. The site covers around 75 hectares, which is roughly the size of 168 football fields. It is located in Olympic Park which was the site of the 1976 Olympics and is one of the largest Botanical Gardens in the world. The Garden was the brainchild of Brother Marie-Victorin and was built back in the 1930s when Quebec was in the grip of one of the worst recessions in history. Thousands of people were out of work at the time so the then Mayor took them off the dole queue and paid them to build the Garden. Brother Marie-Victorin was assisted in building his dream by the renowned horticulturist and botanist Henry Teuscher . Their dedication and hard work was also supported by an army of botanists and helpers who brought the Garden to life. The Garden has grown over the years and now contains over 22,000 species of plants, a massive arboretum, 10 greenhouses, and around 30 different themed gardens including the magnificent Rose Garden. The Rose Garden was added and opened 1976 and became one of the first rose gardens outside Europe to be given the prestigious ‘Award Of Garden Excellence’ The Rose Garden is now the home to nearly 10,000 roses which include over 1000 varieties from around the world. The garden differs from traditional rose gardens and is laid out in a very informal way. Visitors approach the garden along winding paths, which meander between superb shrubs and trees and a number of attractive ponds and fountains, which give the garden a large country park feel. Now and again you come across arches and pergolas which are covered in stunning ramblers or climbing roses. There are over 100 rose beds throughout the garden laid out in about 2.5 hectares. The massive array of roses include nearly 160 varieties of wild roses, around 500 shrub roses which include special varieties developed by Agricultural Canada to suit the harsh winter conditions. Over 200 non hardy species of Hybrid Teas and Floribundas. The whole setting is quite stunning, and with so many perfumed roses on display the air is filled with exquisite fragrances. An interesting addition in the winter is the arrival of huge thermal blankets which are placed over the rose beds containing the frost tender roses which are not happy in the harsh winter conditions. The garden also houses two works of art. The entrance to the garden is guarded by a magnificent bronze statue entitled “The Lion” which was presented by the City of Lyon to Montreal in 1992. The second statue is another bronze entitled “The First Jewels” which is a statue of a young girl holding a necklace in her hands. The original necklace was stolen long ago but the artists husband supplied a photo which allowed the City to replace it. The artist was the late Romanian born Alice Winant who was a concentration camp survivor. Her husband gave the statue to the City Of Montreal as a gift. A truly remarkable place and well worth a visit taking in the whole project, not just the Rose Garden. For more information and opening times, please see their web site.