© Janet Davis
Gardeners looking to attract butterflies to their back yards would be wise to schedule a summer visit to the breathtakingly beautiful Jardin Botanique de Montréal (Montreal Botanical Garden). That way, they’d learn first-hand exactly which perennials, annuals and shrubs will act as butterfly magnets in their own gardens.
The best public gardens are about education, and Montreal gets top marks for letting visitors know the names of the plants. Whatever the display garden – perennials, annuals, vegetables, roses, herbs – everything is clearly labeled so visitors can easily note their favourite plants.
The big butterfly attraction at the MBG from June to September is the Québec Butterfly House. Adjacent to the Insectarium with its 160,000 live and mounted insect specimens, the butterfly house is a delightful stroll garden enclosed by nylon netting and filled with hundreds of hardy and tender butterfly-attracting plants. From June to September, visitors can walk along the path through the colourful plantings to see Question Mark butterflies nectaring on brilliant purple butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii); majestic Monarchs poised on purple coneflowers; flamboyant Swallowtails perched on lantana or liatris; exotic tropical species feeding on ripe fruit rather than flowers; and much, much more.
But the Butterfly House isn’t the only spot at the MBG where butterflies are plentiful. In the gorgeous formal perennial gardens, many beds and borders feature plants that have the types of blossoms particularly sought after by butterflies: pink, purple and yellow daisy flowers bearing central disks filled with tiny (almost invisible) nectar-rich flowers, and native plants such as green-headed coneflower (Rudbeckia nitida), that have evolved along with indigenous butterflies, thus creating a special dependence between plant, for pollination, and insect, for food.
Read all about the Montreal Botanical Garden.
Founded in 1931 by Brother Marie-Victorin and ranked as one of the largest botanical gardens in the world, the Jardin Botanique de Montréal spans 74 hectares and features 30 outdoor display gardens and 10 exhibition greenhouses. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm from November 1 to May 14 and 9 to 6 the rest of the year; closed on Mondays from November 1 through May 14 except for the Christmas season and public holidays. It is located at 4101 Sherbrooke East, near the Biodome, the Olympic Stadium and the Pie-IX Metro stop. Admission fee applies. For more information on hours and fees, phone 514-872-1400 or visit the Montreal Botanical Garden’s website.
Adapted from a story that appeared originally at Chapters Online