Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vancouver trip - The Gardens

I've just returned from a trip to Vancouver BC and amongst the wonderful things seen and done, I visited 3 wonderful public gardens. First up was Van Dusen Botanical Garden, a city park that is a real jewel. They had improved it since my visit 4 years ago, planting it out more fully and adding more plant signage for people like me, who take delight in knowing the names of plants.
Next up was Queen Elizabeth Gardens, known as QE Gardens. This park not only is wonderfully planted but tits signature area is the Sunken Garden. It also affords one beautiful views of downtown Vancouver.
Lastly we visited the Lt. Governor's residence in Victoria. Beautifully landscaped, and larger than it first seems, it is a jewel among the many Victoria parks.
Okay here are the photos. I was using my Point and Shoot Coolpix camera so not all the shots came out perfect. It will nonetheless hopefully provide a bit of inspiration for the gardeners in the crowd.

We start with Van Dusen gardens and right inside the entrance is a large pond with a substantial collection of water lilies. These are the hardy types that can deal with our northern winters.

Not sure on the ID of this weeping tree but it had to be 50-60' tall! Beautiful.

Helleborus 'black selection' (that's what the sign says). You don't often see Hellebores with blackish foliage so this was a real treat. 

That huge clump in the distance is Gunnera, sometimes called Dinosaur food. Hard to appreciate from this distance but each leaf is HUGE!

Here's a wider view of the pond, stretching back well inside the park. 

Even outside of the prime spring season when the collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas are in bloom, the bot garden holds lots of appeal due to its foundation plantings. That includes a wonderful collection of Japanese maples. 

Here's another shot of some of the many maples in the garden. Most are mature specimens, some pruned to cascade and others growing upward to fashion a canopy.

Cutleaf staghorn sumac. There was a whole row of this plant, lining a walkway.

There was a lovely waterfall tucked in one corner of the garden. You can't see the top, hidden in shadows, but it falls from maybe 20'. Peaceful and refreshing.

This is another aquatic element, a little creek that is nourishing the Persicaria on the left and what looks to be a western sword fern (or perhaps a Nephrolepsis) on the right. 

There was a sign for this ginger plant but I can't remember now which one it is. It might be an Hedychium or something else. Definitely a ginger. 

This photo came out too much in shadow to really show off the painted colors on this Korean pavilion but here it is nonetheless. 

There were several Japanese statuary pieces throughout the garden. Here's one of them. Lovely. 

Japanese blood grass. This fiery-tipped grass likes moist conditions and is often found growing along ponds and streams. 

Here's another cascading conifer, unidentified. Any ideas? It too was massive and I loved the way the limbs kind of drape. I also like that it weeps from such a low point that the lowest branches brush the ground.

Golden False Acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisea.' A real standout - literally - in a garden with most trees in muted shades of green and grey (except the red maples). 

One of the many recently planted beds that have really filled out the garden. 

Dwarf eastern Hemlock. This dwarf variety stays low and kind of spills. As many of you know, I collect dwarf conifers and have a bed with nothing but these wonderful pint-sized marvels. I don't have this hemlock (or any hemlock for that matter) so I might just have to add one. 

Fountain in the small lake. Lovely.

Hibiscus moscheutus. The flowers are huge on this showy Hibiscus. A showstopper. 

Here are the first of the QE Gardens photos. The first two are taken from the POV of sitting in the restaurant overlooking the city. Incredible views of a beautiful city.

The landscapers used succulents to create some interesting patterns. Above is an overview and below are two of the six turtles that cover a slight slope from left to right.

The feature of the park is its Sunken Garden. What follows are photos of various parts of it. From the upper garden it's a drop of maybe 30-40'. The QE Garden was created from a quarry and the sunken part was presumably the quarry floor. 

This view of the Sunken Garden from above gives a better idea of the elevation drop. 

This stand of Miscanthus grass stands out like a huge mop-top. Lovely!

Another shot of the Sunken Garden. 

And finally we have photos from the Lt. Governor's residence. This first plant I didn't recognize, though its leaves reminded me of a thistle, being sharply serrated.

This fern was making due with very little soil, nestled in a rocky area. 

The English are famous for their Knot Gardens, which are characterized by shaped shrubs of various kinds, grouped together, to produce contrasts of color and form. Sometimes the shrubs were herbs like Rosemary, Thyme and Sage. Here's a version of it. Striking and colorful.

Though most gardens are clustered in circles, this one stretches out to border the pathway. 

Not sure what plant this is but I loved the lacy white flowers. 

Dahlia variety. This striking two tone dahlia really stands out.

There was a little pond down to the left front of the garden. Here it is from the far side. 

Here's another closer shot. 

This garden also featured some striking Japanes maples. 

The standout in the garden was an immense conifer. There was signage but I didn't have pen and paper and didn't think to photograph the sign. My companions seated in front give an idea of the size of the tree but the photo below really shows how huge it is. 

Finally a photo of a lovely Hydrangea. I noticed quite a few hydrangeas in bloom on this trip, which seemed very late. Then again their warm season starts later than our Bay Area season.

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