Hello, gardening friends! I am spending a few days in beautiful Vancouver BC, Canada and what a post card worthy city it is. It seems as though I can see either the water or the mountains from everywhere I go and from many places–BOTH. I did not even have to go outside my hotel room to encounter my first garden experience. From my room on the nineteenth floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel I have a perfect view of the largest “green roof” in North America. The roof sits atop the Vancouver Convention Center West Building and is home to not only diverse plant life but also over 600 honeybees!
My first port of call was the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. I opted for a city bus ride rather than driving and got to see a lot of Vancouver, from the busy downtown to beautiful homes on large suburban lots. The UBC Botanical Garden is made up of a number of garden areas including the Alpine Garden, BC Native Garden, Carolinian Forest, and the phenomenal Asian Garden. Not to be missed is the Greenheart Canopy Walkway and that is where I started my adventure. As I was a tour group of one I got special attention from my guide, JoAnn. The Canopy Walkway is an aerial trail system which allows you to journey through the upper parts of the forest canopy by navigating 10 suspended walkways or bridges which connect 8 platforms. Most platforms are about 50 feet above the forest floor–one has a secondary spiral staircase leading to a 70 foot high viewing deck. The Greenheart Company specializes in nature based walkways and eco-attractions and has built canopy walkways in Central and South America and Africa. The design and engineering of these canopy walkways does not damage the trees or the delicate surrounding ecosystem as the platforms and walkways are hung from the trees using a cable tension system. No nails or bolts! As I am not great with either heights or motion the tour was not without anxiety for me but we took it slowly and I am so glad I pushed myself. Definitely no ziplines on my bucket list! At each platform JoAnn pointed out trees of note and shared with me how various plant materials were used by the people of the First Nations (Native Americans, only Canadian.) Really an awesome experience.
After communing with those 100 year old trees up close and very personally I returned to the earth to spend the balance of my afternoon wandering through the various gardens in awe of the huge rhododendrons, fields of various ferns and many species of plant life I know only from pictures in books. Although the garden’s inhabitants are well marked often the markers were too far off the paths for me to see so a few of the gorgeous specimens I photographed will probably remain nameless. Here are some highlights–how many can you name?