Photo Nancy Wong: VanDusen Azaleas
Photo Raymond Chan: VanDusen Canadian Heritage Pond
VanDusen Botanical Garden
A city energized by cultural diversity, Vancouver is one of my favorite destinations. I prefer to stay at The Metropolitan, a small hotel downtown that employs feng shui principles, emerging in elegant ikebana by Hollis Ho. These asymmetrical floral arrangements act as subtle counterpoints to animate the hotel rooms, lobby and Diva restaurant.
VanDusen Botanical Garden, a hilly 55-acre setting, can be approached by the No. 17 city bus. Boasting a collection of contemporary sculpture, an Elizabethan maze, and year-round blooms, VanDusen was recently invigorated by a new entry area. The Phylllis Bentall Garden, with paved terrace, pool, and mixed borders, invites you to explore VanDusen's springtime displays of magnolias. Eye-catching swathes of narcissi advance to a pathway replete with rhododendrons and scented azaleas. And from late May through early June, cascading golden panicles tumble from archways over the Laburnum Walk, juxtaposed by ground-covering bluebells and alliums.
Month by month the landscape turns heads as Himalayan blue poppies progress to a sea of wildflowers blanketing meadows followed by fiery fall color. Seasonal stars include alliances of heathers, hollies and hellebores. To contemplate VanDusen's charms, ramble along to the Cypress Pond, Heron Lake, or the restored Korean Pavilion, intricately carved with floral patterning in burnished tones.