Thursday, March 5, 2009

VANCOUVER, VanDusen Botanical Garden

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.


  1. The laburnum over bluebells is beautiful - I'd never seen that combination before, I think our bluebells here may be a little early for it. I want to go!

  2. Alice:
    One of the books I recently found at my favourite used book store is by Roy R Forster who was one of the founding forces of these gardens. I too love the Laburnum with the underplanting of Mertensia. There is something about the juxtaposition that inspires feelings of spring!!! Great post!

  3. Wonder if it's due to British influence, but Vancouver has some pretty nice gardens.

    I was born there, and visit occassionally. Now located near Portland. I find the climates more similar than not.