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Home > Visitors > The Parliament Building and Gardens > The Parliament Gardens

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Many species of trees, shrubs and plants representative of the wide variety of flora native to Québec can be observed when walking around the gardens surrounding the Parliament Building.

You can also become familiar with the in-ground and raised garden beds of edible plants created through the collaborative efforts of Université Laval and Les Urbainculteurs. The plants represent some of the crops typically grown in Québec and are meant to promote urban agriculture, an increasingly popular practice around the world.

To get more information about our thematic gardens, listen to audio podcasts, watch video clips on gardening tips, and much more, go to our Parliament gardens interactive page

Enjoy your walk! 

 

 

A Short History of the Parliament Gardens

In 1986 the National Assembly mandated specialists from Université Laval to develop and maintain the grounds surrounding the Parliament Building. Since then, every year students get an opportunity to hone their skills in ornamental horticulture under the supervision of an agronomist.

Both annual and perennial plants adorn the Parliament Building grounds. The display of annual plants starts in May, while the perennial plants put on a show every year.

Blue Flag Iris

Blue flag iris
Blue flag iris

One of the special perennials found on the parliament grounds is the blue flag iris. This plant, which derives its name from Greek mythology and is symbolic of a rainbow, became the floral emblem of Québec in 1999. It blooms in early June and its flowers last for about three weeks. The blue flag iris is found mainly in marshes because it does well in wet land areas.

The blue flag iris is not to be confused with the white lily, which is the fleur-de-lis symbol on the Québec flag. The white lily is not the provincial flower of Québec because it is not native to the province.

 

Woodland Garden

The creation of the woodland garden was part of a more extensive development plan for the parliament grounds undertaken by the Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec in partnership with the National Assembly of Québec and the city of Québec. The silviculture work begun in 2002 was, to a certain extent, the continuation of a design for a wooded area featuring various species of trees native to Québec originally envisioned by the architect of the Parliament Building, Eugène-Étienne Taché.

Yellow Birch

Yellow birch
Yellow birch

Québec’s forests are very important to Quebecers. In 1993, the Government of Québec chose the yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton) as the provincial tree.

In addition to being one of Québec’s finest hardwoods, the yellow birch (commonly called "merisier" in Québec) is noteworthy for its variety of uses and its commercial value. Right from the time the first settlers arrived to share this land with the Amerindians, the yellow birch has been important to Quebecers, as they learned to use it to make furniture and other useful everyday objects... and also to admire its beautiful foliage every fall.

 

Trees on the Parliament Grounds

The names of the different species of trees on the National Assembly’s woodland garden are given below:

  • White Elm (Ulmus Americana)
  • Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Crab Apple (Malus)
  • Ash (Fraxinus)
  • Maple (Acer)
  • Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton)

 

Abuzz with Bees

For some years now, the National Assembly has taken part in the "urban honey" project by installing beehives atop the Jean-Antoine-Panet Building. The bees forage the flowers in and around the Parliament Gardens. The fact that pesticides and insecticides are not used in cities is an asset for urban beehives. In the 2017 honey season, the Rucher Turlu apiary plans two honey harvests, one in summer and another in fall. The National Assembly beehives were installed on the rooftop in mid-May and their inhabitants are already hard at work…busy as bees!