AAA/Diana Beyer
AAA Editor Notes
VanDusen Botanical Garden is at 5251 Oak St. at W. 37th Ave. One benefit of Vancouver's benevolent maritime climate is that it creates a favorable environment for gardening, and the plant collections at VanDusen Botanical Garden offer spectacular proof. The 22-hectare (55-acre) site, once owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and logged at the turn of the 20th century, was nurtured into a garden in the early 1970s in order to prevent the land from being developed for housing.

This is a botanical garden, as much scientifically organized and carefully labeled as it is visually pleasing. Trees, shrubs and perennials dominate the plantings, and there's something beautiful to see regardless of the season. Camellias, cherry trees, azaleas, magnolias and rhododendrons bloom from March through May. The Rose Garden begins flowering in June. Late July and August find flowering summer annuals and perennials at their peak. Japanese maples flaunt crimson fall foliage from September into October. And during the winter months, 140 different kinds of hollies along the Holly Trail are bright with berries. The plants represent some 7,500 species of plants from around the world.

Special gardens include the Perennial Garden, the Canadian Heritage Garden (where there is a lovely Korean Pavilion built from red cedar posts), the peaceful retreat that is the Meditation Garden, and the dark-leaved plants in the intriguing Black Garden. Rocks and water are integral elements as well, and the lakes and ponds are lovely spots to stop and reflect. Kids can puzzle their way around the hedges that form the Elizabethan Maze.

Guided tours are available. Food is available. Time: Allow 1 hour, 30 minutes minimum.

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