UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research
Last weekend, my wife and I paid a visit to the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research (at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver). Despite having lived in Vancouver a combined 35 years it was the first visit for both of us. We were very fortunate because one of the volunteers, Dana, took us for a private tour as no one else was there for a tour when we arrived. He spent several hours with us, taking us first on the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, which is a series of bridges and platforms in the trees. It’s a bit wobbly, but fun at the same time. Also, you get an interesting view from up there that you don’t often see. The canopy system is hung from the trees but is done in such a way that it doesn’t harm the tree, it’s rather amazing actually and the only one of its kind in Canada.
There are a lot of vines in the garden, from all over the world.
It’s not all plants and flowers.
Though there are a lot of beautiful flowers as well.
They also have a big garden with all kinds of edible things.
Including the most interesting way to grow fruit. These trees are trained to grow at an angle and only have branches in one plane. Because of the angle, the tree bears fruit much sooner than they would otherwise. Also, they are very easy to pick being no more than six feet high, some only a foot with branches parallel to the ground. I wish I remember what this growing style was, if you know please leave a message in the comments below.
UPDATE: The technique of training trees in this manner is called Espalier (thanks to Wendy Cutler!).
In one section, they have plants from all of the continents including a lot of desert varieties. Apparently there are fire ants too, though I didn’t see any.
There is also a section of the garden dedicated to plants used in the medical field. This sundial is in the middle, accurate though doesn’t adjust well for daylight savings time :)
We found this interesting bee hive, which was a temporary art installation. The solar panels provide energy to open and close it daily.
Finally, there is a fantastic water fountain the garden located in the amphitheatre. It was designed by William Pye who installs these amazing water sculptures all over the world. I’ll have to go back to get more photographs.