Mother’s Day Traditions

Royal Botanical Gardens Lilacs

When you live two hours away from your mom, and Toronto is in between the two of you, you don’t get together maybe as often as you might like. We don’t do Sunday Dinners together, and we can’t do Mother’s Day together unless she comes here for the weekend or we go there for the whole day or weekend. 

However, since life is life and it doesn’t always work for us to be together on Mother’s Day, we’ve started our own tradition: visiting the Lilac Dell at Royal Botanical Gardens Arboretum. 

Royal Botanical Gardens Lilac Festival in Hamilton - The Lilac Dell

Lilacs have a special place in our hearts and memories – in our under-developed neighbourhood when I was growing up, the centre of the city blocks around us were filled with gorgeous lilac bushes. We’d walk down the street together with our scissors, and ten minutes later we’d be marching back up the street, our arms laden with fragrant cuttings. There’s something lose to perfection about falling asleep at night with a bouquet of fresh lilacs on your bedside table. 

 The RBG Arboretum is home to the 2nd largest lilac collection in the world (the largest is located in Russia), though they lead in the most diverse collection, and it just happens to be a 5 minute drive away from my house. It’s one of my favourite places in the Hamilton area in the spring! (I talk a lot more about it over here.) 

Royal Botanical Gardens Mother's Day Tradition

In this life when it sometimes feels hard to schedule everything in (or remember to schedule things!), I love things like this. “Mom, the lilacs are about to bloom! When are you coming for your visit this month?” 

My mom is in town this week, and despite the fact that the lilacs are just barely starting to come out of hiding because of the cold spring, we spent an absolutely beautiful afternoon together picnicking and hiking and spotting wildlife. (In case you’re interested, the final count was, as follows: 1 squirrel, 2 butterflies, 2 deer, at least 30 chipmunks, 8 Chickadees, 8 Oriels, 2 Cardinals, 1 Blue Jay, 1 Red Breasted Grosbeak, 1 Gila Woodpecker, 3 Robins, 2 Mallard Ducks + 8 ducklings, 2 Swans, and 2 deer. That’s not bad for an hour of walking within a 10 minute drive from the heart of downtown Hamilton!)

I would like to wrap up this piece with a profound or clever bit, but I’m wiped out from our adventures and all the fresh air today. Til next time!

The following two tabs change content below.

Jenn vanOosten

I live in Hamilton, Ontario, and love my city. I'm a Netflixer, choral music geek, bookworm, inventor of recipes (I take Artistic Licence on EVERYTHING that I make), wife of one, mother of two, and owner of a neurotic Schnauzer. I respect people who respect others. I love good food that's well done, but my favourite lunch is KD & hotdogs. With ketchup. I'm addicted to Clearance Shopping. I will ALWAYS get the product that I want at the price that I want, eventually.


  1. What a fantastic idea! SEcond largest lilac collection in the world? Very cool.

  2. Lilacs are my favourite. They smell amazing and look so pretty, but I think the biggest reason is that they remind me of my mama. I miss her, and each Spring I get a rush of memories when the lilacs start to bloom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>