Here’s when to visit to capture the most eye-popping floral photos of tulips, peonies, cherry blossoms and more.

Drink it all in uptown at the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG). Whether you crave a romantic weekend getaway (cue selfies under a lilac bush) or are down for light hiking in Toronto, the TBG has you covered with nearly four acres of lush, photo-worthy landscapes. 

Here’s what to snap, and when.

Peak bloom for cherry blossoms: late April

Take the time to enjoy and experience hanami, the Japanese springtime activity of admiring the cherry blossoms. 

Bring a thermos of ocha (tea) and bask in the sunlight filtered between gentle pink petals. This spring ephemeral blooms for two weeks at most and is very sensitive to weather conditions. Mark your calendar for late April. 

While hundreds will flock to High Park yearly to visit their extensive trail of mature sakura trees, those looking for a quieter hanami experience may find what they seek at the TBG instead. 

Peak bloom for tulips: May

Tulips are a staple flower in early spring photos, bouquets and gardens. This short-blooming plant has been beloved since the Ottoman Empire (its bulbs were once more valuable than gold!). 

Soak in the tulip’s rich cultural history and beauty throughout early spring (May until early June, depending on the type). The TBG hosts a wide array of tulips, creating a diverse display of forms and colours. Visit more than once to admire each. 

Peak bloom for peonies: May to early June

Big as tea saucers, with petals soft as silk and colours pulled straight from a watercolour painting—that’s what the Paeonia genus is known for. Once they bloom, you’ll see these large blossoms taking over social media platforms and gardening hubs, and it’s no surprise why. 

These gorgeous, playfully bouncy flowers can rival roses in beauty and scent, and they attract flocks of admirers yearly to the gardens they inhabit.

The TBG’s unique fern-leaf peonies bloom first in May. Plan a return visit around the itoh and herbaceous peonies blooming in early June.

Peak bloom for roses: late May to early October

For centuries, the rose has been captured in paintings and poems. It is one of the most admired and extensively cultivated plant genera in the world. 

While cultivars can bloom from late May into early fall, most roses are at their peak in the first few weeks of June. They are a perfect attraction for romantic weekend visits.

Check out the modest collection of roses the TBG has on display, and stop by the gift shop for books, gloves, pruners and other tools to help your own garden grow. 

Peak bloom for irises: early June

Irises are revered globally for their elegance and subtle fragrance. They are one of the flowers with the greatest range of colours available, including true blue, the rarest colour in the plant kingdom. 

Few flowering species measure up to the intensity of the blue iris. See these radiant beauties in early June, but beware that they fade quickly, with peak bloom lasting under two weeks.

Don’t miss them! Keep an eye on TBG’s Instagram for bloom updates.

Peak bloom for lilacs: June

Blooming in the same month as peonies, roses and irises, lilacs go the extra mile to spoil June visitors to the TBG with their panicles of dreamy flowers and mist of intoxicating fragrance.

Bathe in the flowering lilacs’ shades of violet and mauve and breathe in their gently perfumed air. This flower is not one to miss, so see it in early June and revisit for some extra lilac time.

Peak bloom for a pollinator paradise: early July to mid-September

Mid- to late summer is a paradise of warm sunshine, singing birds and busy pollinator insects. Watch as schools of butterflies, moths and bees fly between patches of colourful rudbeckia, echinacea, liatris, butterfly bush and more. 

There is much to see during this time. Plan to stroll through the garden as you explore the different flora and fauna in action at the TBG.

This season of pollinator activity and successional floral blooms lasts from July into mid-September.

Peak fall colours: mid-September to late October

As the heat tapers and summer blooms fade, patches of bright purple asters will begin to appear. Fall is a fantastic time to visit the TBG because it’s also when the leaves begin to change. 

While bright, starry asters dot the ground, stand back and watch as the tree canopies above transition from shades of green to blazing yellows, oranges and reds.

See the most brilliant time of this mesmerizing display from late September into late October. 

Also see: Where to See Fall Colours in Toronto

Peak snow and evergreens: December to March

While parts of the garden go to sleep for the season, the TBG remains open for intrepid winter visitors. Now’s the time to enjoy a structural view of the garden. 

The snowy winter landscape is the perfect time to bird watch, look for animal tracks with the kids and admire evergreen trees like pine, spruce, cedar and fir.

Catch the very earliest blooms as they start peeking through the thawing ground throughout March, including snow drops, crocuses, hellebores and early iris species. 

Also see: 6 Fun Outdoor Winter Activities You Must Try in Toronto Right Now 

Things to do near the Toronto Botanical Garden

For more garden exploring, check out the adjacent Edwards Gardens or the Wilket Creek Recreational Trail, just a stone’s throw from the TBG.

If you’re feeling peckish after your visit, try local faves like Congee Queen for casual Chinese or The Good Son for a seasonal locavore menu and cocktails.