E. H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden

The Alpine Garden is organized geographically with separate beds representing the mountains of Asia, Africa, North America, Europe, South America and Australasia, allowing visitors to "travel around the world" looking at plants. Skillful design and placement of rock outcrops simulates montane and alpine habitats. Plants are spaced well-apart to allow maximum sun exposure and air circulation. The abundance and diversity of flowering plants and our cool weather means long seasons of bloom and the presence of many different pollinators. Hummingbirds are year-round visitors to the garden, providing pollination and pest management services, as well as considerable entertainment to visitors.

Seasonal Highlights

At almost any time of the year, the E. H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden provides a bounty of interesting plants and flowers. Even in the depths of winter, there are always plants in flower in the Bulb Frame, and barring deep freezes or heavy snow, late winter bulbs such as snowdrops, cyclamen and various narcissi start to push out of the ground in January or early February. More bulbs, winter heath, hellebores, rhododendrons, barberries, manzanitas and more follow and by April, there are thousands of plants from every continental region in flower.

Summertime is a riot of colour, with various yellow, pink and and orange daisy relatives competing with the darker kniphofias (poker plants), montbretias (crocosmias) and Cape fuchsias in the Africa section. Both here and in the South America section where true fuchsias grow alongside strange heath-like potato relatives with purple tubular flowers and giant red lobelias, hummingbirds feed on the plentiful nectar and make their noisy territorial displays. As summer slides into autumn, colourful leaves and late summer flowers, such as hebes, bush anemones and zauschnerias take centre stage. Later still, ripening pernettya and fuchsia berries mix with autumn crocus, belladonna lilies, nerines and river lilies, making a last colourful push before winter sets in.

Significant Collections

  • North American alpines
  • dwarf conifers
  • Gentiana (gentians)
  • Dianthus (pinks)
  • Thymus (thymes)
  • Veronica (speedwells)
  • Hebe
  • Epilobium (zauschnerias)
  • Asian chrysanthemum


The E. H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden, built on a southwest-facing hillside below Thunderbird Stadium, was constructed using 2,000 tonnes of pyroxene andesite boulders imported from the BC Interior in the early 1970s. Plants in this garden have primarily been derived through botanical garden sources, private collectors, local and international nurseries, and in-house plant and seed collecting expeditions. Many of the plants were donated by the late Dr. Ed Lohbrunner, a Victoria area nurseryman and internationally known plantsman, after whom the garden is named. The UBC Botanical Garden's alpine collections have from the beginning included the widest range of diminutive plants that are possible to grow at UBC, and considerable emphasis has been placed on expanding the hardiness range of species otherwise acknowledged as tender. The garden is is one of North America's largest alpine gardens.

Only the hardiest of the Southern Hemisphere evergreens, Eucalyptus and Hebe, survive the cold and privations of our climate, and the Australasian secion of the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden has excellent collections of both.

The Alpine Garden represents a considerable proportion of the diversity of plants in the Botanical Garden (approximately half the taxa) in about 3% of the total area.

A rare, native moss relative—a plant called a hornwort—grows on the south side of the Alpine Garden Asian section pond. Hornworts are valuable tools in the teaching of evolutionary biology, and plants are collected annually for the UBC Botany Department from this spot.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research
6804 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604.822.3928
Fax: 604.822.2016 Email: garden.info@ubc.ca

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