Montreal Botanical Garden

Quebec, Canada

This is an amazing garden with its collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, some thirty thematic gardens.  I wandered through for over 7 hours and still didn’t see it all.  On a cool, sunny September day the garden was full of color, texture and surprises.

When I read of the thirty thematic gardens I admit I had a skeptical response.  How is it possible to divide gardens into so many subcategories?  I was wrong.  The slab stone vertical crevice  garden was unique, attractive and unlike anything I had ever seen.  It was also something I could see would be helpful to many mountain cabin garden owners.

The garden signage explains “This garden imitates cliffs with stratified rock faces upthrust by movements in the earth’s crust.  The deep cracks ensure excellent drainage and keep the soil temperature and moisture constant for the alpine plants’ roots.  The east-west orientation of the rocks and the uneven surfaces create pockets of shade and keep the plants as cool as possible.”

So faced with rocky ground and a passion for gardening this turns the rocks into a focal point while providing nooks and crannies for interesting, low maintenance plants.

A variety of alpine plants from North America, Europe and Asia are included.  Plants in shades of green, gray and red with textures of moss, grasses, leaves and succulents were growing in between the slabs of rock.  It is a large space perhaps as much as 60 x 80 feet.  An individual trying to recreate even a small version of this garden style could quickly be faced with not having enough rock!

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