We visited the Montréal Botanical Gardens at night in order to see the “Jardins de Lumière” or Gardens of Light. The gardens are lit up at dusk, inviting visitors of all ages to stroll along the paths. While the multicoloured lanterns have a new story to tell this year, nature is decked out in surprising glowing hues. 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.
Most people who do not live in a desert environment consider cactus to be an unattractive species. Nothing could be farther from the truth, cactus are a beautiful species, similar to euphorbia in Africa. Euphorbia can be found all over the world. The forms range from annual plants laying on the ground, to well developed tall trees. In deserts in Madagascar and southern Africa, convergent evolution has led to cactus-like forms where the plants occupy the same ecological niche as cacti do in deserts of North America and South America. The genus is primarily found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and the Americas, but also in temperate zones worldwide. The 1,500 to 1,800 species of cacti mostly fall into one of two groups of “core cacti”: opuntias (subfamily Opuntioideae) and “cactoids” (subfamily Cactoideae). Most members of these two groups are easily recognizable as cacti. They have fleshy succulent stems that are major organs of photosynthesis. They have absent, small, or transient leaves. They have flowers with ovaries that lie below the sepals and petals, often deeply sunken into a fleshy receptacle (the part of the stem from which the flower parts grow). All cacti have areoles highly specialized short shoots with extremely short internodes that produce spines, normal shoots, and flowers. In Las Vegas we have one of the best cactus gardens in the world at the Ethel M Botanic Garden.
We had some free time on our recent trip to Los Angeles to visit family and we decided to reacquaint ourselves with the art and gardens of the Huntington. In 1913 Henry Huntington purchased a property of more than 500 acres that was then known as the “San Marino Ranch”, and went on to purchase other large tracts of land in the Pasadena and Los Angeles areas of Los Angeles County for urban and suburban development. The Huntington was founded in 1919 by Henry Huntington, a businessman who built a financial empire that included railroad companies, utilities, and real estate holdings in Southern California. Huntington was also a man of vision with a special interest in books, art, and gardens. During his lifetime, he amassed the core of one of the best research libraries in the world, established a lovely art collection, and created an array of botanical gardens with plants from a geographic range spanning the globe. These three distinct facets of The Huntington are linked by a commitment to research, education, and beauty. For qualified scholars, The Huntington is one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States in its fields of specialization. The Botanical Gardens are an ever-changing exhibition of color and a constant delight. Covering 120 acres, more than a dozen specialized gardens are arranged within a park-like landscape of rolling lawns. While the art collection is known for the Gainsborough “Blue Boy” there are many hidden gems in the collection.