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Blooms and Blossoms in Niagara

© By Hans Tammemagi
  Butterfly Conservatory Late April finds me hiking the Bruce Trail. The trees are still stark stick silhouettes against the blue sky, but a fresh smell hangs in the air, announcing that the earth is fertile and ready to give birth. Small green shoots poke out though the dull monochrome of dead leaves and barren bushes. Here and there delicate white and green patches of trilliums are contrasted against the barren hillside. A jack-in-the-pulpit rises at the base of a tree, small and delicate against the ponderous trunk. These are the signs that spring has arrived in Niagara and another life cycle has started.
     A delightful way to enjoy nature's rebirth is to travel along the Niagara Parkway. Niagara-on-the-Lake is ablaze with floral displays. Lush gardens adorn stately historic homes and colourful flower pots hang from lamp posts. Venturing southward, the Parkway is a continuous cornucopia of flowers and blossoms. A special place for a picnic is Queenston Heights where tulips sparkle under the towering statue of Sir Isaac Brock. Next is the world-famous Floral Clock composed of over 16,000 plants.
     At the Botanical Gardens, over 2,000 plant varieties are displayed in 100 acres of manicured gardens. Also on the grounds is the Butterfly Conservatory, which features 2,000 exotic butterflies.
     At Niagara Falls, the thundering cascades compete with the blooms and blossoms of the adjacent Queen Victoria Park and Oakes Garden Theatre. Every spring over 500,000 daffodils, tulips and a sprawling rock garden form a graceful tableau against the rising mist and tumbling water.

Floral Clock  Gazebo at the Botanical Gardens  Morningstar Mill  Niagara Blossoms  Niagara Cherry Blossoms

     A few steps past the Falls is the Greenhouse, where a special display of hydrangeas, delphiniums, and foxgloves celebrates the arrival of spring. Leading up to the Greenhouse, my favourite spring spot consists of an avenue of magnolia trees, whose massive pinkish white petals are the Rolls Royce's of blossoms. I love to strut like a monarch along the lane, a canopy of pink overhead and my shoes immersed in the thick carpet of petals.
     Along the back roads below the escarpment, every orchard celebrates a giant wedding with the cherry, apple and peach trees marching down the aisle festooned in their most dazzling white and pink finery. Sunlight glints from the blossoms, the smell of fertile earth is everywhere and birds chirp happily.
     Who cannot rejoice when the cycle of life starts afresh in Niagara?

Niagara Falls Green House  Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory 1  Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory 2  NOTL Daffodil Garden of Hope  NOTL daffodils

Hans Tammemagi has written two travel books: Exploring Niagara - The Complete Guide to Niagara Falls & Vicinity and Exploring the Hill - A Guide to Canada's Parliament Past & Present. He is the environment columnist for the Vancouver Sun.

Photo Credits
Niagara Tourism
Niagara Parks Commission
Mike Keenan

If you go
This Destination
as seen on
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Accommodation and general information: www.tourismniagara.com ;   www.infoniagara.com
Niagara Parkway and the Blossom Festival: www.niagaraparks.com
Conservation areas: www.conservation-niagara.on.ca
Niagara Branch of the Bruce Trail Association: http://www.niagarabrucetrail.org
Tourism Niagara: www.tourismniagara.com
Wineries: www.winesofontario.org
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Bruce_Peninsula




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