David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden

1185 York Boulevard, Hamilton ON

We are proud to present the rejuvenated David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, our new garden, respecting our iconic treasure’s heritage, look and feel while celebrating the beginning of a new era with a beautiful, modern renovation.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please Note: Rock Garden will be temporarily closed Thursday November 1, reopening November 2.

Parking: Parking is available in the lot across York Boulevard. Parking is included in your General Admission cost.

Tours: Drop-in tours of Rock Garden are available seasonally. Click here for a schedule of all tours and activiies happening at RBG. To inquire about personal group tours, visit rbg.ca/grouptours.


Collections and Areas of Interest

visitor centre perched on edge of the Rock Garden bowl

Visitor Centre

Peak Interest: all year

The garden finally has an award-winning, state-of-the art facility to welcome its visitors. The centre operates as the new main entrance and houses a fully operational restaurant and conference facility that accommodates up to 130 people for weddings, corporate and private functions. The centre also features a look-out deck and patio that provides guests with an optimal view of the garden’s lower bowl.

rocky waterfall

Waterfall

Peak interest: May to October

A visitor-favourite, this small waterfall transitions from the upper to lower bowl, surrounded by limestone, evergreens, and perennial plants. Find it hidden in the South-East corner of the garden.

small bridge over winding water feature

Water Features

Peak interest: May to October

Always a popular feature of the garden’s lower bowl, water features have been enhanced to create synergy with surrounding vegetation, meandering throughout the garden landscape and captivating the senses. In the summer months, lotus flowers grow within the winding waters.

purple grassy perennials

Year-Round Perennial Display

Peak interest: all year

The garden, designed by Janet Rosenberg & Studio Inc., uses bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses, chosen as much for their structure and texture as they are for their flower colour. This sustainable design style has environmental benefits, requiring less replanting and soil disturbance.

conifer needles

Conifer Display

Peak interest: all year

Look around you — conifers dominate the Rock Garden landscape with sculptural form, interesting textures, needle and bark colour, and resinous scent. The species and varieties you see here are a spectacular collection from around the world, varying from huge pines to dwarf spruce and ancient “living fossils.”

water feature in stone courtyard

Dalglish Family Foundation Courtyard

Peak interest: all year

Just outside the visitor centre, this elegant space serves as both a welcoming point for guests making their way outdoors and a venue for social occasions and gatherings. Alpine plants representing true rock garden vegetation grow from beautiful stone walls, and gentle waterfalls create an ideal atmosphere for cocktail receptions and special events. It is also home to Flora Hominis, the latest sculpture at this garden.


About the Rejuvenated Garden

The David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden embraces environmentally friendly trends in garden design and management while respecting the integrity of its heritage setting. It incorporates principles of sustainability in its plant selection and layout including pollinator-friendly plants, species native to Ontario, and a palette of drought-tolerant perennials that provides broad sweeps of changing colour and texture through the seasons.

Inspired by the work of Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf, the garden evokes the idea of natural settings using ornamental species that grow together harmoniously. Visit it at different times of day and different times of year — you’ll always find something new! Read More

Royal Botanical Gardens’ mission is to dedicate our expertise in horticulture, conservation, science and education – together with our unique gardens, facilities and natural lands – to inspire and nurture society’s commitment to the environment. Like other public gardens around the world, we are embracing the changes needed to respond to the challenges of climate change.

The new Rock Garden reflects this forward-facing approach. It is truly a garden for the 21st century, one that embraces sustainable trends in garden design and management while respecting the integrity of its heritage setting. It incorporates a best practices approach to plant selection, design and management, including pollinator-friendly plants, species native to Ontario, and a broad representation of drought-tolerant perennials that provide wide sweeps of colour and texture through the seasons.

The new Rock Garden allows RBG to do more with less – less water, less upheaval of the soil, and less humanpower, plant waste and carbon emissions spent on seasonal change-outs of over 150,000 bulbs and annuals. It also allows us to do more, with new infrastructure that allows people to experience this much-loved garden in a new way with new events, year-round, day and night. And, it provides ideas and inspiration for gardeners to take home and incorporate into their own gardens, at a time when everyone’s garden can play a role in helping to make our communities more sustainable.


  

exterior of rock garden centre

Rock Garden Café

Situated at the historic David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, RBG’s newest restaurant features an eclectic, brunch-style menu that boasts fresh, locally sourced ingredients, many picked straight from our gardens! Learn More

 

closeup of bronze statue, face formed from plant life

The McQuesten Project

To celebrate the revitalized Rock Garden and Canada’s 150th anniversary, Royal Botanical Gardens issued its first permanent sculpture commission in decades. Learn More

 

outdoor business event outside Rock Garden visitor centre

Host Your Event

With function space and catering available for up to 500 people, RBG is your natural choice for conferences, special events and weddings. Learn More