As evening falls in the Montreal Botanical Garden from September 6 to November 3, the annual Gardens of Light show reveals all the delight, romance and mystery of a night walk through a pastoral space. The uniquely Montreal exhibition adds another level of adventure within the garden, whether you’re on a date, among friends or with the whole family…
An abundance of light and colour fills the Chinese Garden, where lanterns of all shapes and sizes sit along the paths, nestle among the plants and float among the lily pads in the garden’s large pond. This year, the Magic of Lanterns focuses on the biodiversity of the lush tropical rainforest of Xishuangbanna, highlighting plants and trees of the region by surrounding them with lanterns that depict historical figures, represent regional artifacts, and take the shape of pandas, frogs, butterflies, catfish, and other animals. Learn more about Xishuangbanna on nightly tours beginning at 6:30 p.m., and throughout the evening hear music that emulates the rainforest.
The bright and colourful display in the Chinese Garden contrasts beautifully with the subtle illumination of the Japanese Garden, an exhibition begun only last year as an addition to the 20-year-old Gardens of Light. Quebec design firm Jutras Bathalon Bureau d’étude lumière creates a peaceful pathway though the garden, winding over bridges and past waterfalls and ponds, drawing attention to the unique plants and their surroundings. Stop for a moment along the way to watch an elegantly minimalist sound-and-light show among a stand of tall, thin trees, or sit on a bench to take in the garden’s serenity. Return during the day, September 6-8, for Japan Cultural Days, featuring dance, drums, comedy and food, or visit over an October weekend for noon-hour Guided Tours of the Tea Garden.
Arrive before dusk to see the detail in the incredible Mosaïcultures Internationales exhibition, large-scale artistic horticultural creations, from large-than-life bees and butterflies to giant shepherds and their fluffy green sheep, displayed throughout September. And add a little nature-inspired romance to the rest of the month with the Space for Life Cocktail Time, every Thursday to Saturday evening on the Botanical Garden terrace, complete with food, drink and live music.
Gardens of Light at the Montreal Botanical Garden, September 6-November 3, 2013
Photos by Susan Moss