Thursday, November 18, 2010

VanDusen Botanical Garden, Part 2

Picking up just mere footsteps from where were ended Part 1 yesterday...we are back at the VanDusen and enjoying a close up of the color on Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac.Mahonia gracilipes, another Mahonia must have to add to my lust list.
The Stone Garden.
And the shortest Ginger blooms I’ve ever seen!
Entering the Fern Dell there were Birds Nest Ferns…
Maidenhair Ferns…
And even more fabulous Tree Ferns.
Evidently their Fern Dell is home to over 40 different kinds of ferns, or so said the sign.

I think this strange shape is a baby Chilean Pine, Monkey Puzzle tree or Araucaria araucana.
Here is a full grown one in the distance as we round the side of the maze.
And at the center of their maze is another. We did walk the maze, even in broad daylight I was a little spooked. One too many times of watching The Shining I suppose. We did make it to the Monkey Puzzle in the center after a few wrong turns and back-tracking.
Do you notice anything a little odd about the trunk of this Paulownia tomentosa? Oh like the fact that it HAS EYES!
Isn’t it the freakiest thing?
The smell of these Strawberry Begonias was amazing (correction - perhaps actually Begonia grandis? Thanks Ryan!).
The smell near the Himalayan Pines was also pretty strong. We finally identified it as the resin dripping from the cones.
I couldn’t get a great close up but it was remarkable how covered they were.
And they had 2 distinctly different looking cones. Odd eh? (or maybe it’s just odd to a tree ignorant person like me).
Look! There are agaves lurking in that crazy planting!
White Nicotiana and Castor Beans.
And then we happened upon the Big Dig. The Banana’s and Canna’s being pulled for wintering over elsewhere.
This giant Banana had not yet been pulled, I wonder if it stays in place? Probably not.
They must be planning to pull the Sago too?
Are these beauties Cordylines or Yuccas? And why don't I know? I should.
Guess these Agave americana variegata are also being removed.
And no doubt the Agave americana will follow. This moving things is a lot of work! (wait, what am I saying? I do this too only without a staff!)
Maybe this next site will be commonplace to some of you. To us it was nothing short of jaw-dropping. A black squirrel!
Squirrels are brown/grey not black! We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. They were pretty fast movers so this blurry action shot was the best I could manage. Evidently this is a not a separate species but a sub-group of the common grey squirrel and the opposite of albinism, at least that’s what my brief internet research told me.
It’s just about closing time and that means leaving the VanDusen Gardens…my parting images are this wicked vine growing around (hugging) the wooden upright.And a stately Agave americana v. medio picta 'Alba' in a fancy urn. That’s a nice image to close with. Next time you find yourself in Vancouver BC you really should stop by the VanDusen, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


  1. that crazy planting with agave is awesome! I love it! what a fun garden. if I ever get up there, i will definitely check it out!

  2. You've never seen a black squirrel? They're all over the place here. There is even one part of town with a population which is black with brown tails!
    Re the pine cones, the two types are fully mature cones (the ones with the scales spread wide to let the seed drop out) and immature cones (the tight, greenish ones.) Most pines take several years to mature an individual cone, and mature cones can hang on for a while after shedding their seeds, so overlapping development stages isn't that uncommon.

  3. Nice post...I love visiting Botanical Gardens...if only my partner shared that interest ;-) I love can't really beat them for fall color...and I love their twisting, gnarled branches. I have always wanted a tree fern...I don't know what it is exactly, perhaps my childhood obsession with dinosaurs and the fact that every dinosaur picture ever has them romping about amidst a forest of tree ferns!

  4. That mahonia looks like it's tied up with string! When can I add that to my lust list on ;-)

    I don't think that's strawberry begonia, or if it is it's the second plant with that common name. Saxifraga stolonifera is what I think of as Strawberry Begonia. That plant is Begonia grandis I believe. I have some fresh bulbils from a friend if you want some.

  5. Well, I must say I don't ever recall seeing a Bells of Ireland/Agave combo ..

  6. Gina, isn't it? I had to do a double take as I wasn't sure I really saw the agaves tucked in there.

    Greensparrow, really!? Nope, never. My husband is from Nebraska and he'd never seen one either. How did I not know that about the cones? You really are full of the sciencey answers.

    Scott, good point about the tree ferns and the dinosaurs. Oh and my neighbor planted a Sumac a few months ago, I am very excited about that because I'll get to enjoy it's beautiful color!

    Ryan, ah....good question! (working on that). You may be right about the strawberry begonia as I took that name from a sign and may have unfortunately got the wrong one. The plant you mention (Saxifraga stolonifera) is certainly more attractive! (and thank you for the offer but I think I'll pass, I'm in an anti plant acquisition mood, it happens every year when the first frost is anticipated).

    ks, that's my mission here at the danger garden...busting the new trends wide open!

  7. I know that this is in a warmer part of the country, but many of these plants are decidedly un-Canadian. Not what you think of.

  8. Daniel PereiraNovember 23, 2010

    Agaves give an amazing atmosphere to the place, i have lots of them here but most from my homeland brazil. Maybe I could send you some ;)

  9. Your cordyline lookalikes are known here (in Europe) as Yucca elephantipes, though I've seen pics of Yuccas under that name in the US that look rather different.

    It's grown commonly as a houseplant but can survive outside in milder areas.


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