Garden Photo of the Day

GPOD on the Road: University of BC Botanical Garden

Exploring a beautiful public garden

close up of hydrangea with pink flowers

We’ve visited Susan Esche’s home garden before (A Garden Wedding, the Flowers, and the Deer), but today she’s taking us along to visit a public garden in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I was able to tour the beautiful University of British Columbia Botanical Garden in Vancouver in early September. The garden contains a woodland garden, a vegetable garden, a “physics” garden of medicinal plants, and an alpine garden. It is located adjacent to the campus and is open to the public.

large tree trunk in front of a hydrangeaThe Pacific Northwest is home to huge, beautiful trees. Here you can get a glimpse of a hydrangea tucked into the lush greenery and behind this massive trunk.

close up of hydrangea with pink flowersI think the hydrangea is Hydrangea aspera (Zones 7–9).

close up of pink hydrangea flowerThe large blooms on the outside of the flower head are sterile, producing no seeds; they just serve as advertising to pollinators. The center is made up of hundreds of tiny fertile flowers that will produce the actual pollen and, eventually, seeds.

ferns and other evergreen plantsNative sword ferns (Polystichum munitum, Zones 6–9) thrive in the deep shade of the woodland garden. These evergreen ferns are an iconic part of the native woodlands along the western coast of North America.

close up of yellow bell-shaped flowersKirengeshoma koreana (Zones 5–8) has bold foliage all summer, but it really shines in late summer and fall when these beautiful, waxy yellow flowers emerge.

large fern growing at base of treesThese trees have grown on the decomposing stump of another tree. Another bold sword fern shines in the front.

vegetable garden with long raised bedsThe vegetable garden shows how a garden can be both edible and beautiful. Colorful stems of Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris, usually grown as an annual) echo the bright, edible flowers of nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus, Zones 9–11 or as an annual).

We’ll return with more photos of this garden tomorrow!


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  1. User avater
    simplesue 10/30/2023

    I love the woodland garden, and your interesting photo of the tree that took root in an old stump with the often I've seen seedlings start like that but never grow this big!

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