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.
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.
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.
The Food Garden at UBC Botanical Garden is thought to be one of Vancouver’s oldest food demonstration gardens. Its design and development in the 1970’s at a central location in the Garden showed foresight into the local food movement and now has the potential to serve as a focus for urban agriculture. Today, Vancouver supports a vibrant food culture that is quickly becoming a global food and sustainability tourism destination. As the Garden moves towards its 100th year, we are developing programs and infrastructure to engage the public in food systems thinking.