The Royal Botanical Gardens at Hamilton are a series of individual gardens, rose garden, spring garden, arboretum, and rock garden, some set in the natural woodlands of Hendrie Park and all in woodlands along the sides of small lakes and a creek valley.
Each garden, however, is also individually spaced along a few kilometres or so of road -- Plains Road for the most part, on the border between Hamilton and the city of Burlington.
The Arboretum is farther west, off the Old Guelph Road. A shuttle bus, free with your admission (about $12 for Adults, $10 for Seniors), runs every 45 mins during opening hours so you don't need to drive between the gardens, though you can if you wish.
The Main Building, the RBG Centre, is at 680 Plains Road west, on the south side of the road. Entrance to the rose gardens, native flowers, Children's Garden, forest walk and garden, and the other gardens in Hendrie Park, is by a tunnel as they are all on the north side of Plains Road.
The Mediterranean garden is indoors (this is Canada after all) at the Main Building and comes complete with pool and very Oriental Koi. One of the things I learned in this section is just how many of our foods came originally from the Mediterranean.
It makes sense. It's where we Europeans grew up, so to speak, but I hadn't realized the extent.
Situated amid the Centennial Rose Garden and the Climbing Plants, is the tea house serving lunches, snacks and light meals -- and tea, of course. The prices are reasonable and the service prompt. One of the beauties of botanical gardens is they are rarely so busy that the staff can't cope.
Near the rose gardens are the Helen M. Kippax Gardens of Canadian wildflowers and leading from this section is the woodland trail to the woodland gardens and the Hendrie Valley Sanctuary. You can also walk to the Laking (spring) Gardens, about 1.5 km away.
In the ornamental pools that lie between the Tunnel and the Teahouse, are many beautiful varieties of waterlily. These white and red lilies are among the them, see our RBG photos or our RBG Images pages for more examples.
Also in this part of the Royal Botanical Gardens, are the Scented, Medicinal, and Medieval Gardens -- all providing examples of plants that their names suggest. For me, scents win out over medicines and the Middle Ages every time.
The Laking Gardens are about 1 km west of the main building but still on Plains Rd. Here the RBG has its Iris and Peony Collections so it pays to go when those flowers are in bloom. More about the gardens and its other attractions can be found on our page -- Laking Gardens.
The Royal Botanical Gardens also features a Wollemi Pine (you can see a baby one at this link) -- 'the tree that time forgot'.
It's a tree that was thought to be extinct, its pollen is ubiquitous (which means it's everywhere) in the fossil record but not seen today, but was found recently by Australian researchers in a remote valley in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
Another kilometre west of the Royal Botanical Gardens main building, where Plains Rd merges into York Boulevard, is the Rock Garden. Here you'll find spring bulbs, flowering cherry and summer annuals in great blocks of color.
This too is quite seasonal, best visiting months are May and July to early September.
The Arboretum has flowering trees, hedges and avenues of shrubs and trees, and a great show of Lilacs. This means that visiting the Arboretum can be a year-round affair, from snow and ice glistening on the boughs in winter, to the new green and flowers of spring, through the flowers and shade of summer to the colors of Fall.
If you enjoy gardens and nature, you may also enjoy our Algonquin Park page.
To find more about the Royal Botanical Gardens, call them at 905.527.1158 or visit their website at www.rbg.ca
And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:
Tours To Explore
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