Library & Archives


Multimedia Collections

The UBC Botanical Garden holds an extensive multimedia collection, including:

  • circa 20,000 slides of plants and landscapes (cultivated and natural)
  • over 2,500 slides, negatives and prints documenting the development of UBC Botanical Garden and its programs
  • dozens of audio and video recordings about UBC Botanical Garden and its collections

Access to the Multimedia Collections

Physical access to the multimedia collection is by appointment. Please send an email to to make arrangements.


The UBC Botanical Garden Archives holds the institutional records of UBC Botanical Garden (UBCBG) and its volunteer supporting organization the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs), as well as some personal records of select botanical researchers and former Garden staff. The Archives’ holdings consist of:

  • Textual Records – including those of:

    1. UBC Botanical Garden – including records relating to:
      1. UBCBG Administration
      2. Development of the gardens, including Nitobe Memorial Garden
      3. UBC Plant Introduction Scheme of the Botanical Garden (PISBG)
      4. The Davidson Club and Davidsonia publication
      5. The Henry M. Eddie Plant Development Foundation
    2. Botanical researchers and UBCBG staff, such as:
      1. John Davidson
      2. Roy L. Taylor
      3. Bruce MacDonald
      4. John Wesley Neill
      5. Gerald Straley
    3. The Friends of the Garden, containing material such as:
      1. Annual reports
      2. Bylaws
      3. Executive and general meeting minutes
    4. Regional botanists and botanical educators, such as:
      1. Vladimir Krajina
      2. Bela Sivak
  • Photographic Images

    • over 2,500 negatives, slides and photographic prints documenting the development of the botanical garden, as well as UBCBG staff, programs, activities and events. The majority of photographic materials date from the early 1970s to present.
  • Architectural Plans

    • mostly relating to UBGBG gardens and buildings and generally dating from the 1955 to present. Holdings include a hand-coloured plan of one of the campus’ earliest gardens from 1916, and the initial plans of Nitobe Memorial Garden drawn by Japanese landscape architect Professor K. Mori in the late 1950s.
  • Non-Archival Materials

    • including books, ephemera, technical bulletins, periodicals,and other publications issued by UBCBG. Other materials include artefacts, such as a scale model of the Nitobe Memorial Garden Tea House and the seed collection of early BC botanist and garden founder John Davidson.

Finding Aids

Although much of the UBCBG Archives’ holdings have yet to be properly described, some descriptive documents such as finding aids, databases and basic inventory lists have been prepared to explain the holdings and help researchers locate relevant materials. The following finding aids and inventory lists are accessible upon approved request:

  • UBCBG Textual Records (inventory list, prepared 2010)
  • FOGs Fonds (finding aid, 2009)
  • NMG Archives (inventory list, 2003)
  • UBCBG Photographic Materials (database, 2010)
  • Architectural Plans and Oversize (database, 2010)

For information about archival materials that are not available online or have not been described yet, or for more detailed information on holdings, please contact

Nitobe Physical Archive


The Nitobe Memorial Garden archive of materials is located in the Campbell Building reading room at UBC Botanical Garden. Researchers wishing to access the archive are encouraged to call the main office of UBC Botanical Garden at 604.822.3928 to schedule an appropriate time.


A – Photographs and Drawings

  • A-1 30 enlarged and mounted photos of Nitobe Memorial Garden history taken from originals at UBC Library Archives (Main Library) and used at May 1994 re-opening
  • A-2 5 sketches of the garden after 1993 renovations (mounted)
  • A-3 6 original photographs of lanterns 1, 2, and 3, and views of the garden. Undated, circa 1960
  • A-4 5 original photographs of visitors to the 30th anniversary celebrations, May 1990
  • A-5 1 enlarged reproduction of photo of a lantern
  • A-6 11 original photographs of Nitobe Memorial Gardens lanterns with locations and descriptions. Dated November 1977
  • A-7 1 postcard of Nitobe Memorial Lantern. Undated
  • A-8 121 slides, various scenes and dates
  • A-9 2 videos (VHS) “The Nitobe Garden” 1984, approx. 17 minutes
  • A-10 12 original, large photographs of fish released in Nitobe Memorial garden pond
  • A-11 1 video (BETA) “The Nitobe Garden” 1984
  • A-12 Framed photograph of Dr. Nitobe
  • A-13 20 original black & white photos and negatives, undated. (circa 1960?)
  • A-14 Photo of Nitobe lantern in original setting and letter
  • A-15 40 mounted photos and captions, used in May 1984 exhibition

B – Guestbooks

  • B-1 Guestbook 1960-1992
  • B-2 Guestbook 1989-1992
  • B-3 Guestbook 1991-1992
  • B-4 Guestbook 1994-1999

C – Architectural Plans

  • C-1 Plans from 1959-1960
  • C-2 Plans from 1992-1994

D – Reference Material

  • D-1 Nitobe Gardens and Gardener
  • D-2 Timeline, Biography, History
  • D-3 Philosophic themes including Tea Ceremony
  • D-4 Nitobe Garden maps and descriptions
  • D-5 Books and Articles
  • D-6 Nitobe Archive Project Notes
  • D-7 Dead Files 1974-1990

E – Gate Materials

  • E-1 Guide’s Guides
  • E-2 Handouts, various languages

F – Miscellaneous

  • F-1 Renovations materials
  • F-2 1985 unveiling of Nitobe Crest Lantern
  • F-3 Nitobe Memorial Garden Programmes for various occasions
  • F-4 1994 International Symposium Proceedings
  • F-5 2 copies of Davidsonia Volume 1, Number 2, Summer 1970
  • F-6 Miscellaneous
  • F-7 Original magazine articles pertaining to NMG
  • F-8 Mounted information posters used in 1984 exhibition
  • F-9 Miniature model of Tea House

Nitobe Memorial Garden Audioguide Records

  • G-1 Nitobe audioguide scripts (drafts and final versions of English, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, French, German and Spanish)
  • G-2 Nitobe audioguide interview notes
  • G-3 Nitobe audioguide book notes
  • G-4 Nitobe audioguide miscellaneous notes
  • G-5 Nitobe audioguide planning files
  • G-6 2x TourMate backup CDs for Nitobe audioguide
  • G-7 2x Complete project backup DVDs for Nitobe audioguide


  • Poetry- Haikus
  • News
  • North American Ranking
  • Photos
  • Video

Access to Holdings

The UBCBG Archives is open by appointment on occasional weekdays. To find out more about specific archival materials in our holdings or to book an appointment, please contact

Reading Room (Library)

The UBC Botanical Garden Reading Room (Library) houses a collection of over 3,000 books and selections from over 150 magazine, journal and periodical titles.

The collection consists of monographs, textbooks, manuals and handbooks in a variety of languages. Subjects include:

  • ecology
  • ethnobotany / First Nations studies
  • communication and education in the sciences
  • floras
  • gardening and gardens
  • the history of horticulture and botany
  • Asian gardens
  • native plants of British Columbia
  • plant identification
  • plant monographs
  • plants and gardens in art and photography
  • sustainability and biodiversity

Access to Holdings

Borrowing privileges are available only to UBC Botanical Garden staff, volunteers and Centre for Plant Research-affiliated researchers. Students, non-departmental researchers and the public may not borrow titles, but have access to the collection on-site.

Searching the Collection

Searching the collection is possible from the Libraries website:

  1. Select “Search Collections” from the header bar
  2. Select “Books and Media Catalogue” from the selections at the top
  3. Press the radio button to select “Archives, Bibliographies, Reading Rooms”
  4. Select “UBC Botanical Garden Library” as your location The collection can be searched by author name, title, subject and more.

Rare Book Collections

UBC Botanical Garden’s Rare Book Collections are comprised of antique and rare books and other materials. The purpose of the Rare Book Collections is the preservation and storage of books that are too delicate or too rare to house in the Library with the main collection.

Highlights of the UBC Botanical Garden Rare Book Collections

  • Classics of botany and horticulture, such as a 1756 printing of John Hill’s British Herbal
  • Joseph Dalton Hooker’s Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya, complete with hand-painted illustrations
  • A selection of botanical books printed in British Columbia by local authors, including books by John Davidson and Ernest P. Fewster
  • Deluxe modern reprints of classics of botanical art such as Maria Sibylla Merian’s The Wondrous Transformation of Caterpillars, and Peter Kalm’s Travels into North America
  • A selection of early editions of works by famed naturalists E.H. Wilson and Charles Darwin

Access to Holdings

Rare books at UBC Botanical Garden may not be removed from the library, but are accessible for purposes of research or private viewing. Books can be viewed by appointment only. Please contact UBC Botanical Garden Library and Archives for more information.