A Burst of Spring: Vancouver’s Botanical Garden

It’s spring in Vancouver, and what a glorious thing that can be!

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If the sun is shining while you’re in town, it’s well worth making a trip to the VanDusen Botanical Garden. This garden isn’t very old as botanical gardens go — it was founded in 1975 on the site of an old golf course — but it’s grown up beautifully in just over forty years. And the rhododendrons are currently out in all of their resplendent glory!

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These stunning blooms come in colors across the rainbow.

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Nearly every shady path is lined with these tall, flowering shrubs.

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Sometimes it feels like you’re walking by a wall of flowers.

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This is a serious collection — the VanDusen Botanical Garden boasts nearly 1,000 varieties of rhodies.

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I even came across a “dormouse” rhododendron, which I’d never seen before:

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But the garden isn’t just about flowers (though I’ll get back to those shortly) — it also has a sculpture collection (that top one is called “The Throne of Nezahualcoyotl”)…

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… multiple ponds and lakes …

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… a rock garden …

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… and a hedge maze!

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Here I am trying to make my way through (it was actually a bit challenging):

The garden also has a Korean pavilion …

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… and a small Japanese garden:

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And there are geese — plenty of them …

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… complete with eggs …

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… and a mother with her goslings tucked warm under her wing:

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There are stunning trees, including giant redwoods …

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… and a host of others:

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There are also beautiful ferns everywhere, which grown happily and easily in Vancouver’s rainy climate.

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But for me, the showstoppers were always the flowers, from the wood anemones …

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… to the spectacular-smelling daphne …

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… to the tree peonies …

… to the lilacs …

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… to the tulips …

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… to the irises …

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… to the epimedium …

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… to the tens of wonderful flowers whose names I could not find or failed to record:

More unusual plants included this buttercup winterhazel …

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… and the giant rhubarb:

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Oh, and then there’s this guy — I really liked this guy:

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You can see all sorts of things: a fern garden, a heather garden, a vegetable garden, a fragrance garden, even a Sino-Himalayan garden. This really is a stunning location — you could walk along the paths for hours …

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… or just lie down beneath the flowers!

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If you want to visit the VanDusen Botantical Garden, know that it’s a schlep from downtown Vancouver if you don’t have a car. Getting there by public transport may take a bit of work (the bus is your best bet). But on a glorious blue sky day, it’ll be worth it!

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