Garden Blog

February in the Garden

Posted: January 30, 2015

Some people feel that February is a good time for a vacation, given the unreliability of Vancouver's winter weather. Still, our shortest month actually has enormous potential when it comes to flowers and it's always worth a trip to the Garden to see what's in bloom. Of course in a particularly mild winter all kinds of spring flowers will emerge as early as February, but as already suggested, such moderate weather can never be depended upon.

January in the Garden

Posted: January 8, 2015

One of the joys of the Botanical Garden in January is the unexpected fragrance of winter flowers. (Another is the picturesque, muffling beauty of a snowfall, but such events are notoriously difficult to predict.) We are certainly assured of mild temperatures in January, and the earliest of all winter flowering shrubs coaxed into bloom by these conditions is the aptly named winter sweet.

Recap: Asian Garden Curator's trip to Vietnam

Posted: January 6, 2015

During the first three weeks of November, Andy Hill, our Asian Garden curator joined colleagues on a botanical expedition to northwest Vietnam. The goal was to study and collect specimens of the region’s spectacular flora… and the results surpassed their best hopes!

December in the Garden

Posted: December 9, 2014

No one should be surprised by cold weather in December. The general absence of extreme temperatures in Vancouver often lulls us into of a false sense that we are living in a benign climate. But the plants in our gardens, both the survivors and the ones that die are indicators of just how cold it can get here. Although it might seem counterintuitive, some garden plants are better off being exposed to the full force of winter's wind and cold.

Sorting it Out at Apple Fest 2014

Posted: November 18, 2014

This October, was my first Apple Festival working at UBC Botanical Garden. I had attended in the past but like other festival go-ers I had no real concept of what is involved in planning the large festival which attracts between 12 – 19,000 people over a single weekend every year. In the past, I had been involved with zero waste initiatives and research but had never actually run a zero waste event. This is my story of our first attempt at a Zero Waste Apple Festival - what it took, how we did it and what we learned.

November in the Garden - flowers

Posted: November 6, 2014

November is a time when garden plants often descend into subtlety. Without frost and dry weather, the spectacular foliage displays begin to diminish. There are some exceptions. The sweet gums (Liquidambar species), many deciduous viburnums and a few Chinese maples can continue to increase in intensity even through the foulest weather. Acer oliverianum (Oliver's maple) with its brilliant pumpkin orange November foliage, comes to mind. These few late-colouring plants aside, we generally think of colourful berries for autumn interest. Still, there are a number of plants that normally flower in November and these are worth considering a visit around.

Apple Festival has remaining apples for sale

Posted: October 19, 2014

Apple update: October 21 at 6 p.m. - we have now stopped selling apples. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the festival this year. This is the Garden's biggest fundraiser of the year and the funds are much needed for our research, conservation, education and public outreach work. Thank you!

October in the Garden

Posted: October 9, 2014

While this year's autumn colours will no doubt be worth admiring, because of the hot, dry summer, most leaves are exhibiting sign of stress, and the show may be somewhat abbreviated. The focus this year should be on fruit, since this will clearly be a banner year.  Everything from crabapples, cotoneasters and quinces to sapphire berries (sadly, already picked clean by birds), sparkleberries and sumac bobs are incredibly abundant this year.

Walk in the Woods - National Forest Week

Posted: September 18, 2014

Where are the flowers?

Posted: September 5, 2014

One of the most frequently asked questions at the Botanical Garden is "where are the flowers?" This is not a silly question, given that most public and large commercial gardens are designed with floral display as a primary objective. In many cases, it may not be obvious to the visitor what she/he is actually looking at in a botanical garden compared with a typical display garden. However, because the Botanical Garden is primarily a research and teaching collection, it is difficult to justify the high cost of extensive flower beds.


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