Cherry Blossoms and Magnolias at RBG

We found a profusion of magnolia blooms at the RBG Arboretum today.

Bugs on magnoliasMagnolias at RBG ArboretumRBG Arboretum Cherry Blossoms and Magnolias

The cherry blossoms weren’t at their peak by the time we came. Someone mentioned that with all the wind and rain they didn’t last as long this year.

Cherry blossoms at the RBG Arboretum

There were also three different colors of Eastern Redbud blooming. It is considered a native species because of one recorded observation on the south end of Pelee Island in 1892 by the Canadian botanist John Macoun. The species name, canadensis, is the Latin form of Canadian.

Redbud trees blooming at the RBG Arboretum

The Starburst magnolias are definitely our new favorites. This species was introduced to the United States in 1862 by Dr. George Robert Hall. It comes from the Ise Bay area of central Honshū, Japan’s largest island. It has a much more delicate flower that some of the other larger, showy, pink blooms.

Starburst Magnolia

There are also two lovely sycamore trees that have huge branches dipping down and touching the ground. This American sycamore is from the 1940’s when the arboretum was opened.

There is a sycamore tree in Windsor that is 225 years old, with branches that are 120 years old. It has been recognized as an Ontario Heritage Tree. Some sycamores have been known to live 500-600 years.

Forests Ontario has an interactive map where you can search Heritage Trees all over Ontario.

The Royal Botanical Gardens Rock Garden

We weren’t really sure what to expect when we went to the Rock Garden today. We knew that it had been made in an abandoned quarry and it reminded me of a book I read when I was a teenager. It was a mystery, I think, and there was a house or estate built in a similar abandoned quarry – maybe an Agatha Christie or something like that. If anyone remembers please leave a comment.

Royal Botanical Garden's Rock Garden, Hamilton

Anyhow, this no longer abandoned quarry is lovely and surprising and has the most delightful little paths leading you to secret places. We found some children hiding in a “cave”, their mother said it was their favorite spot in the garden.

RBG Rock Garden

There was no water yet in the waterfalls or river.  I’m sure it will be splendid when it gets going.

Pink Flowering Almond
Pink Flowering Almond

Double BloodrootNarcissus at the RBG Rock GardenDouble NarcissusMagnolia

European Beech

There are also the most incredible European Beeches near the parking lot.  They are old, and wrinkly, and remind me of elephant legs, and they’re beautiful.

European Beech at the RBG Rock Garden European Beech at the Rock Garden RBG European Beech closeup European Beech bark

Cherry Blossoms

The cherry trees were also blooming but it wasn’t the best light to capture them.

Cherry blossoms Cherry blossoms at the RBG Rock Garden

First Hike Through the Cherry Hill Gate

Through the Cherry HIll Gate opens the Hendrie Valley Trail system. Everything is still overwintering but there are plenty of birds, squirrels and chipmunks around. Make sure you bring some seed because they will come and eat from your hand. Unfortunately we didn’t have any.

Grindstone Marsh Trail Trumpeter swan, Grindstone Marsh Trail Boardwalk along the North Valley Trail, Hendrie Valley Park Grindstone Creek, Hendrie Valley Trails Hendrie Valley Trails

We did find some signs of spring in a patch of early snowdrops.


We also wandered though the RBG grounds and found the Bloodroot Sculpture. It’s part of the larger Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection

Bloodroot Sculpture

The Hendrie Park Gates  – surrounding the South end of the Scented Garden – were constructed in recognition of the Hendrie family, who previously owned the lands on which the garden now sits. The fountain isn’t yet in working order but it’s still a lovely spot.

Hendrie Gates

Hiking at Felker’s Falls

Bruce Trail sign

Another waterfall we’ve explored along the Bruce trail is Felker’s Falls.

Felker's Falls, Hamilton Felker's Falls

The Peter Street Trail is a wheelchair accessible loop trail which winds through the conservation area.  It was named after Peter Street who had a rare congenital bone disease that caused him to suffer numerous bone fractures when he was a boy and led to him having to use a wheelchair.  He died at the age of 46 in 1984.

Espace Felix Leclerc Walking Trail

On Orleans Island, 15 minutes east of Quebec City, there is a lovely walking trail from Espace Felix Leclerc down towards the river.

It commemorates the life of songwriter, poet and playwright Felix Leclerc.

The trail may not be for everyone because there are some steeper parts.

You begin in a field, basically, where they are starting an arboretum. After this sunny stretch you reach the shade of the escarpment. The path here is steep taking you down to another plateau.  This plateau is partly in sunny field and then enters the old growth forest. Many trees are marked to help you learn more about the local flora. There is still another terrace down before you get to the St Lawrence but the path ends before that. You can continue, but, the paths quickly ends in swamp.

Hikes around Binbrook

Even thought its cold out there are still some lovely hikes around Binbrook area. We went again to our favorite spot in behind Southbrook Drive.  The amount of footprints, both person, and dog, indicate that many other people enjoy this trail too.

Wild grape vine

The ice crystals in the creek were gorgeous. So incredible the shapes that they make!

Ice formations in the creek

There was also some lovely lichen on the tree branches.

Apothecia – commonly disc or saucer shaped fruiting bodies of some lichen


Nature Hikes around Binbrook

We’ve found some lovely hikes around Binbrook. In behind Southbrook Drive you almost feel like you’re in the bush, instead of 5 minutes from a subdivision.

The bushes are full of chickadees and cardinals, a bird we never got up north.

We found half of an abandoned boat nestled in the grass at the bottom of a hill. It seems like a crazy spot, but we’ve heard this area gets some intense flooding.

The creek here is definitely overflowing its banks.