Yesterday, I travelled 7.5 kilometres north of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls to a piece of heaven just off the Niagara Parkway. I’m referring too the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens at 2565 Niagara Parkway that were established in 1936. It was easy for me to spend 3 hours walking the 40 hectares (99 acres) of beautifully maintained gardens that included perennials, azaleas, rhododendrons, herb and vegetable gardens, dozens of mature trees and their world-famous rose garden now featuring 2,400 roses. When I looked closely I could see most of these plants had little plaques that gave both it’s common name as well as the botanical name. There was even a section identifying poison plants!
In one part of the garden you’ll find a gazebo perfect for an outdoor wedding. Parks officials tell me there is about 6 weddings each week during the warmer months at this location. In addition to weddings, plenty of wedding photographers show up usually on the weekends to do wedding photography. They are particularly fond on a small bridge that crosses over a gentle waterway near the bac of the garden.
This botanical garden is also home to the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. This school was also founded in 1936.It was originally called the Niagara Parks Commission Training School for Apprentice Gardeners and re-named with the current name in 1959.The school bills itself as an alternative to post secondary training for horticulture by providing students with a 36 consecutive month program combining practical and academic studies.
Admission to the school requires applicants have prior horticulture experience plus an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The school accepts a maximum of twelve students per year. Graduates receive a diploma in Horticultural Studies.
The grounds of the gardens are maintained by a small group of dedicated staff and students.
Admission to the grounds is free but there is a $5.00 parking fee.
You will also find here the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory which I will write about in a separate blog.