To reiterate, I visited Montreal in the winter (well, technically it was the fall but the temperature was below freezing!). A trip to the Botanic Gardens may not have been the brightest of ideas, but we had to use up our time at the Olympic Park before we could catch the Metro home (and again, to reiterate, there were limited services on the Metro due to a strike).
We entered at the entrance closest to the Insectarium and made a visit there first (see separate entry on the Insectarium). After, we wandered around the park and as expected, in November, most trees have lost their leaves, and flowering plants aren't exactly looking their best either. We managed to find the Chinese garden which would have looked great in any weather, what with its pagodas and lake.
We had been walking around outside now for some time and needed some warmth. We hustled to the main exhibition greenhouses close to the main entrance. Ah, that was much better...lush greenery, full of life, and blissfully warm! This was divided into 10 parts and were laid out in a row and the entire lot could be traversed in a circular manner.
These 10 sections were:
The Arid Regiosn Conservatory full of cacti and succulents
The Begonias and Gesneriads Conservatory with lots of these brightly coloured flowers
The Economic Tropical Plants Conservatory, the one I consider most interesting, as I love to see how coffee and chocolate grow!
The Ferns Conservatory - yup, full of ferns and with an impressive water feature at the end
The Garden of Weedlessness a Chinese/Japanese themed exhibition with many bonsai plants
Hacienda, again, many cacti and succulents but this time with a Mexican theme. Oh, we had fun posing our Mexican friend next to a Mexican cactus!
The Main Exhibition Greenhouse
The Molson Hospitality Greenhouse, was next to the entrance and had many simple explanations of how plants lived
The Orchids and Aroids Conservatory - lots of gorgeous orchids and other plants now used as houseplants around the world
The Tropical Rainforests Conservatory - boy, was this one humid!
The greenhouses were impressive and I felt that just seeing these would have made the entrance fee worthwhile. We were unable to see the rest of the gardens by then as we had lingered for a long time in the greenhouses and it was time to go.
Overall, we must have seen only 1/5 of the entire botanic garden, but it was impressive. I would not mind returning again to see the rest of it...but in the spring!