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Summer in Montreal: Make it Tropical with our Seasonal Bonsai Display

Ficus religiosa
  • Ficus religiosa
  • Exposition complexe d'accueil du Jardin botanique de Montréal (2009)
  • Dr Tang et sa conjointe lors de la cérémonie du don en 2009
  • Ficus microcarpa
  • Ficus microcarpa "green island"
Summer in Montreal: Make it Tropical with our Seasonal Bonsai Display

The Jardin botanique de Montréal is as exuberant as ever with its vibrant gardens. While our outdoor collections bask in the sun for a few short-lived months, in our greenhouses, our tropical bonsai collection takes center stage for the summer’s end. From August 10th to September 10th our Reception Center will feature seven unique bonsai trees native to different tropical regions throughout the world.

Significant specimens with stories to tell

Our tropical bonsai collection includes species with their native origins ranging from southwest China, to the foothills of the Himalayas to the rainforests of South America. You can expect to see trees from the genera Bougainvillea, Bucida, Chloroleucon and Ficus. One specimen in particular, Ficus religiosa, carries a great degree of cultural and religious significance. Also known as the Bodhi or Bo Tree, Ficus religiosa is sacred in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths as it was under this tree that accounts portray the Buddha attaining enlightenment.

Beginning as a modest group of a few trees, our complete tropical collection now fills an entire greenhouse. This growth was made possible thanks to the generosity of avid bonsaists and donors. Montrealer and Vietnamese Canadian, Dr. Quoc Kiet Tang contributed an important collection of Vietnamese bonsai to the collection in 1999. George LeBolt, of Closter, New Jersey, carried on this tradition by donating approximately 50 specimens from his collection to the garden before his death in February 2010. We invite you to admire these treasured trees rooted in passion and kindness.

Bonsai trees for cultivation indoors

From autumn to late spring, our tropical bonsai are kept in the collection’s designated greenhouse, at a temperature between 20 and 22 °C and under artificial light. Once the same conditions can be assured outside, the trees are brought outdoors to spend the summer thriving in more natural growth conditions. Our trees still follow a rigorous calendar of highly specialized care which includes pruning, pinching, repotting, restructuring and fertilization. With knowledge, technique, the right tools and patience, the art of bonsai can be practiced within an indoor environment.

Our seasonal bonsai display will overlap with the Annual Exhibition of the Société de bonsai et de penjing de Montréal here at le Jardin botanique from August 31st to September 2. This event is open to the public. Enthusiasts and newcomers are all welcome. Details here (in French only).

We recommend that you explore our outdoor exhibition spaces in the Japanese Garden and Frédéric Back Tree Pavillon to discover more bonsai during your visit. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Éric Auger, Specialized horticulturist responsible for our bonsai collection, for collaborating on this blog post.

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