Montréal, Canada

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Photo by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Initiative: The Phytotechnology Stations at the Montréal Botanical Garden / Space for Life

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City:Montréal
Country:Canada
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With its collection of about 20,000 plant species and cultivars and 30 topical gardens spread out over 75 hectares, the Montréal Botanical Garden is recognized as one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens. The Botanical Garden is part of Space for Life, a group of five institutions that together make up the largest museum complex in Canada.

Widely recognized as a perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of the world of plants, the Botanical Garden is also distinguished by its numerous initiatives in the field of phytotechnology’s, using plants to solve environmental problems like purifying air, water and soil, controlling erosion and run-off, and helping to remediate degraded sites.
 
In recent years, the Montréal Botanical Garden has set up a series of phytotechnology stations to address various environmental issues that exist on its site. The idea is to design installations that simultaneously solve the problems, demonstrate the technology, and educate the public as to the role and functioning of the plants.

The plan is to set up six phytotechnology stations over the next few years, inaugurated one at a time, and completed by 2026.

The first station was inaugurated in 2019. The Botanical Garden took advantage of the renovation of the aquatic garden, which presents a diversity of aquatic plant species, to include two different types of sub-surface constructed wetlands, one with horizontal flow and one with vertical flow. These wetlands ensure the water used in this garden, which circulates in a closed circuit, is of good quality. The innovation not only ensures the removal of phosphorus and nitrogen surpluses and the reduction of suspended solids, but also educates visitors on the role and benefits provided by these green infrastructures.

In 2021, the Garden opened a second phytotechnology station to address a problem related to invasion by undesirable plants.  Among the phytotechnology’s used, a riparian strip involving a great diversity of native plants was established as a buffer. This has the effect of opposing strong competition to invasive plants while acting as an effective biofilter that limits the leaching of nutrients brought by the runoff of rainwater. Floating islands in the form of mattresses woven of plants have also been installed. This original phytotechnology makes it possible to add filtering elements that move on the pond according to the winds. It’s aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also effective in making it more difficult for invasive plants that require sunlight to establish themselves.

Currently, the Montréal Botanical Garden is preparing another phytotechnology station where various plant species will be used to extract or degrade certain contaminants from soil excavated during construction works. This technology is called phytoremediation.  It is an innovative and promising phytotechnology, which has led the Botanical Garden to stretch its know-how and apply this process in the east end of the City of Montréal on four hectares of brownfield contaminated by various pollutants. This constitutes the largest phytoremediation project in Canada.

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