Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day in Mississauga a Walk in the Gardens

Spring has definitely sprung in Mississauga, and down on the lake in Port Credit, there's a riot of blooms, especially at Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens on Lakeshore Road West. The rhododendrons and azaleas are coming into peak bloom, and a magnet for visitors from the Greater Toronto Area. This is a great place for a Mother's Day walk. Just look for the sign below, and the Gardens sign beside it.

Sign at Godfreys Lane and Lakeshore Road West Port Credit Mississauga Ontario.
New Welcome to Port Credit Sign
 This is the new sign that's seen from the west when you drive east along Lakeshore Road from Clarkson (Southdown Road). If you are coming from the west, this means you've missed the Gardens. Turn around and head back to the light. Look for the Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens sign on the south side at the lights at Shawnmarr, and turn right.

 From Mississauga Road, drive west two lights on west on Lakeshore Road West and look for the bright new sign (see bottom photo). Look for the left turn lane at Shawnmarr Road into the parking lot.  If the lot is full, there is free on-street parking on Shawnmarr. There is also a Missy transit bus stop here for No. 23 bus that runs every 15-20 minutes every day.

PJM rhododendron mauve flowers at Brueckner Gardens Mississauga, Ontario.
Mauve Rhododendrons at Brueckner in Port Credit
 There are several dozen rhododendron beds throughout the Gardens, so take your time and walk the trails to see them all. Early blooming rhodos and azaleas have bloomed and gone, but there are many more to come over the next few weeks.

Pink Japanese Cherry trees in full bloom at Mississauga public garden in Port Credit.
Japanese Cherry Trees in Full Bloom
 From the parking lot main entrance, walk due south past the Kennedy Memorial Plaque amid a bed of tulips to the main trail. You cannot miss the Japanese Cherry trees in full bloom. The trail continues up the hill towards a lookout over Lake Ontario. The hill walk is a bit steep, but take your time. There are several  benches at the top, down the trail and at the Lookout.

Rhododendrons in bloom on Mother's Day  framed by Japanese Cherry trees Port Credit Mississauga Ontario
Japanese Cherries at Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens
 The Japanese Cherries in full bloom almost overshadow the showpiece rhododendrons and azaleas. In this photo, the split rail fence separates the heritage Brueckner Rhododendrons from the walking trail. There is a gate into the rhodo beds, and visitors can wander among the plants and take photos. Note that the Gardens may be booked for wedding party photos especially on weekends, and that dogs are NOT allowed in the rhododendron beds at any time.

Foot Bridge to East Garden Flower Beds
 Stand at the Japanese Cherries, turn your back on the rhododendron beds, and look across the meadow and rose gardens to the far trail. That trail along a creek has three foot bridges to access the East Garden and more rhododendron beds, so be sure to have a look.

Apple blossoms white blooms Mississauga Ontario (port Credit)
Apple Blossoms for Mother's Day in Mississauga
 Be sure to look up, above the rose garden, the walking trails and the bridges. There are many fruit trees in bloom for Mother's Day: Apples, pears, crabapples, cherries. These trees are a legacy of the former farm; the seating area garden just east of the parking lot marks the site of the first Interim Place shelter for women.

White apple blossoms against a deep blue sky in Port Credit Mississauga Ontario.
Apple Blossom Time in Mississauga Ontario
Close up of the white blossoms against a blue sky: The clear sunny warm weather forecast for Mother's Day this weekend is great for the blooming fruit trees and shrubs. One good rainstorm could put an end to this great spring show.  Roses and peonies won't be in bloom for about three to four weeks, so plan to return in early June to get the best show.

Pink mauve flowers come out before the leaves on native Ontario redbud trees, shown here in full bloom May 2012
Redbud Trees at Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens
 As you enter the Gardens at the parking lot, you cannot miss the native redbud trees in full mauve-pink bloom. The flowers don't last long, and this week may be the peak show.  There are new plantings of small redbud trees to the south west of the parking lot. Look too for lilac trees in bloom in the East Garden, south side near Godfreys Lane.

Early blooming tiny blue wildflowers at Brueckner Gardens line the Waterfront Trail along Tecumseh Creek.
Blue wildflower in bloom Mississauga Ontario
 I was told the name of these tiny blue wildflowers and promptly forgot it! I will repost as soon as I can, with the correct name. Look for these low growers along the west bank of the creek, south of the footbridge closest to Lakeshore Road, just behind the building with the restrooms.

Closer look at tiny blue wildflowers
Here's a closer look at these tiny flowers that carpet the creek bank. There are similar flowers nearby, more pink/ mauve than these and larger: those flowers are the perennial geraniums, and make a very fine show in their own right. The Credit Valley Conservation Authority oversees the planting along the naturalized area along the waterways, and wildflowers such as these can be seen along the banks and other woodland areas.

New sign marks Port Credit boundary - the side facing east shows Leaving message.
Leaving Port Credit new sign Godfreys Lane at Lakeshore Road West
Leaving Port Credit sign view at Godfreys Lane that is seen when arriving from Port Credit (east). Annuals are scheduled to be planted in this and other beds over several day following the May long weekend.

For more information, including a map, see Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens. Note that this is Mississauga's only designated public garden, and not a park. There are several parks in the area, however, such as Saddington and Memorial Park east of here and close to the Port Credit Lighthouse at the Credit River, and Jack Darling Park and Richards Memorial Park a few kilometers west from here.

There's no shortage of places to eat in Port Credit or Clarkson, but Mother's Day usually means they are fully booked. Some don't take reservations, though, so check around. There are several coffee shops in Port Credit (Tim Hortons in the gas station at Mississauga Road and Lakeshore, and at Hurontario and Lakeshore (north east corner, it's new). There's a Starbucks across from the lighthouse and a Second Cup at No Frills.

Another nice spot to stop and sit on the rocks along Lake Ontario is at the foot/ end of Godfreys Lane. Turn on this narrow little road just east of the Port Credit sign, and drive slowly and carefully down the lane, past the south east entrance to Rhododendron Gardens. Continue up the hill  to a tiny parking area. Look west for three large tree stumps that have been carved with The Sirens. There's another bench overlooking Cranberry Cove and the Gardens beach area. Walk south from the parking area to the large rocks with views along the lakeshore.

What a great way to mark Mother's Day! Hope you can make it.