Garden Blog

April 2016 in the Garden

Like last year, we’re well on the way to one of the warmest springs in recent memory. A number of plants flowered two to three weeks early and many familiar April-blooming plants long since put out their flowers (how about those magnolias and cherries?). But again like last year, there are plenty of plants sitting tight, waiting to flower as they normally would—or at least within only a week or two of their usual time. On this list of conservative bloomers are many in the genus Rhododendron, a group of plants that numbers around four hundred and fifty species varieties and cultivars in the Garden.

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Expedition to Northern Vietnam

Since the 1970s, the living plants collections of the David C. Lam Asian Garden have grown through the botanical fieldwork of an international network of explorers. My predecessor, Peter Wharton, participated in over 15 expeditions throughout Asia. I h

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Celebrating the apple

There was a day not so long ago that you weren’t able to find Pink Lady or Ambrosia apples in your average grocery store in Vancouver. If you couldn’t make your way to Granville Island, or trek to a grower in the Valley, you only had the pick of very few apples available in grocery stores. UBC Botanical Garden’s Apple Festival helped change that.

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Founding of the Friends of the Garden

Today, there are approximately 150 active members of the FOGs. They play a critical role in as ambassadors to the garden, fundraising and generating new membership for the Garden through their organizing efforts behind key Garden events such as the Apple Festival, the operation of the Shop in the Garden, and much more. Learn more about their history.

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How the Garden began

In 1916, the closure of the Office of the Provincial Botanist led to the relocation of thousands of plants and shrubs. John Davidson, BC’s first provincial botanist and director of the Garden, Mary Jane Gruchy, I. Van der Bom, and James A. Wattie hauled thousands of plants and shrubs on a 40-kilometre trip from the original Essondale location of the botanical garden in a truck on rough roads to UBC’s Point Grey campus. At the time, the Point Grey campus only had three buildings, with classes taking place in the Fairview neighbourhood where Vancouver General Hospital now stands. From his office on Pender Street in Vancouver, Davidson began his work.

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The living legacy of Peter Wharton

Walk down almost any path in UBC Botanical Garden’s Asian Garden and you’re experiencing the living legacy of Peter Wharton. As you explore the signature garden named for David C. Lam , you may find yourself thinking about how natural it feels, as if the maples and rhododendrons have always grown there together. That was Wharton’s intention.

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Searching for strawberries

In the mid 1980s and in partnership with Agriculture Canada (today called Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), UBC Botanical Garden explored British Columbia helping to make comprehensive collections of Fragaria chiloensis (the beach strawberry) for breeding work. The resulting germplasm (genetic resources) was, and continues to be, used to develop new cultivars of strawberries with pathogen resistance for industry.

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Collecting native plants with Al Rose

Al Rose was the first curator-horticulturalist of the Native Garden and a prolific collector of BC’s native plants. Between 1975 and 1979, Rose collected approximately 1000 specimens per year for the British Columbia Native Garden in order to establish the collections.

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Early Spring in the Botanical Garden

March, you say? You’d be excused if you thought this was April. Very much in the same vein as 2015, spring has come exceptionally early to the southwest coast. Barring a sudden cold snap, March is on track to be a spectacular month for flowers and early growth in the Botanical Garden. Perhaps most famously, the Garden has significant collections of magnolias and rhododendrons, both groups well-budded and promising to put on a magnificent show this year.

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