BGCI > Garden
Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario
Canada - Ontario - Burlington
Institution Code: HAM
International Agenda Registration: Y
BGCI Member: Y
Royal Botanical Gardens' historic Rock Garden is planted with thousands of annuals following its spring tulip display.
About the Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario
Royal Botanical Gardens is Canada's largest botanical garden on the basis of its land holdings. It was founded in the 1930s as a combination of cultivated gardens, parks in the City of Hamilton, and protected natural lands. Most of the land area of RBG is located within the city limits of Hamilton, while RBG Centre, with its administrative, research and cultural functions, is located in the west end of neighbouring Burlington.
As directed by its provincial mandate, since 1941 RBG developed in the 1950s and 1960s into a centre of excellence in both horticulture and the management of natural areas. It has extensive educational programs and serves as an outdoor laboratory for scientific research. More than 25,000 children per year participate in formal education programs, many based at the Nature Interpretive Centre in the RBG Arboretum.
RBG's cultivated area is comprised of five cultivated gardens holding 50 different plant collections, display gardens and seasonal exhibitions. These gardens include;
RBG's nature sanctuaries contain one of the most significant and best-studied regional floras in Ontario. Continuing to monitor and conduct field botany in these properties is crucial to managing the institution's natural lands, for interpreting them for the public, and for understanding patterns of plant distribution.
Present research programs include plant systematics and taxonomy, ecological restoration, field botany, wetlands management, species-at-risk management and recovery, and horticultural taxonomy of hybrid lilacs. Most research is centred on the stewardship and restoration of RBG's natural lands, especially wetlands and threatened terrestrial habitats and plant species.
The RBG Herbarium, known internationally as "HAM," supports the institution's research activities and is critical to the generation of its knowledge-based products. HAM is an archive of the last 50 years of floristic exploration of southern Ontario and is also important as an international collection of cultivated plant specimens. In total it comprises 80,000 specimens. It includes approximately 15,000 specimens collected within RBG's own properties and the immediate area, and forms the basis for a published checklist of plants growing within the natural lands.
The RBG Library and Archives have provided research support to both RBG staff and visiting researchers, through extensive serials and monograph collections in horticulture, botany, zoology, garden history and design, landscape architecture and gardening, for nearly 50 years. The Centre for Canadian Historical Horticulture Studies contains one of the largest historical collections of Canadian and international nursery and seed trade catalogues in Canada, as well as the papers of Isabella Preston and other Canadian horticulturists and botanists. The collection also contains a wide variety of ephemera relating to the gardening and horticulture industry in Canada and parts of the United States. The unique focus of these library and archival collections allows RBG to serve as an important centre supporting in-depth research on the development and management of botanical gardens and horticulture trades in North America.