Friday, March 15, 2024

VanDusen Botanical Garden

On Wednesday I heard a story mentioning the day—March 13th—was the 4-year anniversary of COVID-19 declared as a national emergency and lockdowns going into effect. That brought a flood of emotions, but something else sounded familiar about March 13th. Then it hit me! Wednesday was the 15th anniversary of my first danger garden post back in 2009! My blog is 15 years old! Crazy. Today's post is my 3,673rd, wow. Thanks for making this fun and staying with me all these years! 

Now back to our regular programing:

Sunday morning of the Study Weekend event in Vancouver BC I skipped the lectures and took off for VanDusen Botanical Garden

It was a beautiful late June morning and I hadn't been to VanDusen since 2010. It seemed criminal to sit indoors, although I later heard that I missed a really inspiring talk.

After a quick pass thru the gift shop I emerged from the visitors center and stopped to admire these low planters. What an interesting planting scheme.

The first one planted exclusively with agaves...

Yes, mangaves are now considered agaves—and that's just the tip of the iceberg as far as the agave family tree and how it all fits together.

The second full of colorful begonias.

And the third showing off the very different looks of the senecios.

Well done!

Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Pendula' (weeping Douglas fir)

Looking across to a peninsula that is home to the Southern Hemisphere gardens...

Before crossing over to the peninsula there was a seasonal planting that included several fine agaves.

Happy gunnera backed by monkey puzzle trees, Araucaria araucana.

Close-up of the Araucaria araucana's spiky branches.

Acaena inermis 'Purpurea' and something that I swear was signed as Veronica lyallii, which it's obviously not if you look up that name.

Wollemia nobilis with mounds of Muehlenbeckia complexa (maidenhair vine), that I wanted to call wire vine but is not. Wire vine is Muehlenbeckia axillaris. 

A lovely leucadendron, I wonder if they lift it over the winter or just leave it to see what happens? (cause there's no way that's hardy there).


There were may groups of people posing for photos here, all dressed up in their Sunday best. This shot was taken just before 10am, I imagine the crowds get much thicker as the day goes on.

In case you forgot where you were...

Okay, time for some ferns and other shady characters.

And a waterfall with something very rare in the pond. Can you spot it?

Ah yes, the rare floating plastic water bottle! (or really not so rare, ugh)

Arisaema ringens foliage...

...and flower.

Arisaema tortuosum

Close up

Blechnum penna-marina (aka Austroblechnum penna-marina)

Dryopteris cycadina, shaggy shield fern

Dryopteris sieboldii

Polystichum setiferum 'Dahlem'

Dicksonia antarctica

Dead tree ferns as edging?

There was a pyrrosia! Sad as it was.

And ostrich ferns, Matteuccia struthiopteris. I love them so much, but they don't love my garden (too dry).

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. For me gardening is such a solitary activity. Danger Garden has given me a feeling of community a feeling that I’m not so all alone in my sometimes all consuming and compulsive obsession! Thank you for the inspiration, enjoyment, knowledge, and encouragement your many years of blogging have given me. We are all so lucky to have you. Here’s to another 15 years!

    1. Thank you for the very thoughtful comment.

  2. Happy 15th birthday to your amazing blog!

    Very well done Loree.

  3. I thought that Arisaema flower looked familiar! I have a close relative of them: Pinellia tripartita (aka "Green Dragon"). It's a wonderful plant that never fails to come back bigger and better year after year.

    1. Ah, I've never heard of Pinellia tripartita... I do love green blooms.

  4. Congratulations on your 15th anniversary, Loree! You (and Pam) inspired me to start a garden blog 11+ years ago. I'm happy you've continued with it and I very much hope you'll continue. In my view, IG still doesn't come close to offering the same value as a source for information, inspiration and reference purposes. IG is a snack but blog posts are a meal.

    Van Dusen is the kind of botanical garden I wish I had close by (despite the odd plastic bottle and mislabeled plant or 2). That collection of 3 containers featuring different genera was a brilliant touch - attractive and educational at the same time!

    1. Thanks Kris, and I am so glad you are still blogging! I agree about IG vs. blogs. I love them both, and hope the long form never goes away.

  5. Looks like you visited at just about the most perfect time! I loved this garden the one time I visited.

    Congratulations on turning 15. That's a massive achievement. You were a big inspiration for me starting my own blog, and you continue to be.

    1. It was a perfect day to visit! I went back and read your first post: "I'm not a master gardener or anything, just a middle-aged guy with new-found enthusiasm for gardening, and especially bamboo and succulents." I'd say you quickly mastered the gardening thing!

  6. Happy 15 Loree! So thankful you do what you do. My garden is not a copy of yours, but I’ve learned and borrowed ideas from you for about 10 years.
    Jim N Tabor

    1. Thanks Jim. I might just have to beg a visit to see your garden someday.

  7. Wow. 15 years of blogging. It's a massive dedication on your part.
    When you looked back at early posts you'd probably recognize the evolution of your gardening self, the knowledge and experience you've accumulated.
    I appreciate your sense of style and learn to love Pyrrosia from you.

    1. There's definitely been an evolution, and I've gained a lot of experience, I don't know about knowledge however ;). Thank you for being such a faithful commentor. Knowing there are people out there reading really is an important part of blogging.

  8. Happy 15th! Any thoughts on how your blog or your focus might have changed over the years? Your taste in plants has definitely changed over time, so that has been pretty cool to watch.

    1. Interesting question. My blog definitely features a lot more garden visits than I ever thought it would. My small garden only provides so much fodder after all. I know I used to do a lot more nursery visits too, those have kind of fallen by the wayside. As my garden has become more established I've also focused much more on small "creative" projects. Which beings me to my current state of angst, as the bones of the garden are suffering from what winter dealt it...

    2. Yes, that will definitely make a good theme, how to rebuild structure in the garden after an unexpected change or loss. Between the neighbor removing the laurel and the cold temps, you have a lot to deal with.

  9. Well, that was inspiring, too. :)


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