By Zanna Linskaia
If you want to see a paradise, go to VanDusen botanical garden as we did with a group of Burquest seniors. “Spring is a time of blossom, specially in May” - explained us a lovely guide volunteer Lily. It’s Rhodo time at VanDusen with a large colorful collection of 1,000 different varieties of rhodos. Some can be found blooming virtually year round, as well as collections of Sorbus , Fraxinus and Magnolia . Spectucular views from a Heather garden, a "black" garden, a seasonal "Laburnum Walk" a majestic stand of Sequoiadendron giganteum , a cypress pond, a heritage vegetable garden , and the large sino-Himalayan garden which covers about eight acres by itself with green grots and tunnels are unforgettable. More than 7,500 plant varieties grow in themed displays, ranging from a Canadian heritage garden and a Japanese garden to a formal rose garden. Wildlife species, including blue herons, ducks, and turtles, live inside VaDusen. We took pictures of heron who proudly stood on the stone demonstrating his beauty before flying away.
VanDusen botanical garden was opened in 1975 in the heart of Vancouver with a generous donation of 1 million dollar by local lumberman and philanthropist Whitford Julian VanDusen. Earlier, In 1970, the Vancouver Foundation, the British Columbia provincial government, and the city of Vancouver signed an agreement to provide the funding to develop a public garden on part of the old Shaughnessy Golf Course. The Botanical Garden
was opened to the public and remains jointly managed by the Vancouver Park Board and the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association.
The Garden covers 55 acres and in addition to displays of plants from all over the world, there is an extensive collection of native British Columbia plants. We have been droved by small mobile cart throughout the spectacular rolling landscape of three levels and observed special features in the garden include carved totem poles , a small Japanese garden and large stone sculptures.
All these unique designs have been made by R. Roy Forster who was recognized with the Order of Canada on April 14, 1999, for his work in designing the gardens and their plant collections. In appreciation for Forster's contribution to the design of the garden and landscape work the Cypress Pond was renamed the Roy Forster Pond.
Later, in 2011 the Garden's Visitor Centre was opened. This modern designed structure includes a gift garden shop, a specialized botanical library, a restaurant and a coffee shop. The building project was constructed under the direction of famous Cornelia Oberlander landscape architect and got already international recognition.
Not only plants, smell of flowers and nature with different features had amazed us, but also volunteers who have a 45-year history in the garden.
Believe it or not, VanDusen has 900 volunteers: trained volunteer guides interpret the plant collection and the history of the garden to visitors on foot and in motorized golf carts. Besides guiding tours, volunteers collect seeds of annuals and perennials prepare them in packages for sale in the garden shop and on the Internet, working at information desk, etc.
We watched beautiful wedding ceremony in the garden , made photo sessions and ended our adventure at VanDusen coffee shop.
June will be another time of roses blossom and another fragrance paradise...