I celebrated my 30th birthday this past Tuesday. Yep, I’ve done it. There’s no going back. I’m now officially old. This works okay for me. I’ve been old for a long time.
Honestly, three of my biggest interests in no particular order are: Gardening, Old Stuff (antiques, architecture, you name it!) and Politics.
See. I’ve been old for some time. Finally, finally! my age has caught up!
So when asked what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday, and with the realization that getting to Ottawa & back all on Tuesday just to watch Question Period from the gallery, just wasn’t really feasible (sigh) I turned to one of my other favorite things. A walk in the garden. VanDusen specifically.
When I was there early this spring for the VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Annual Plant Sale I didn’t get much of a chance to poke around the gardens. Mostly because by that point I had a van loaded with plants. It was a warm muggy day. I feared having trays full of wilting plants by the time I got home. I couldn’t stay long. I promised myself I’d come back further into spring, and bring the kids.
It’s such a beautiful place.
The weather worked in our favor. Tuesday was the only full sunny and warm day we have had this week. Looking out my window now, it’s rainy, dreary & cold. Nothing like my birthday, where we were reminded that summer is coming!
The kids enjoyed poking around the main lakes. We found turtles basking in the sun, and the koy found us. Hoping for a snack I’m sure. Better luck next time fisheys!
Over at the Rose Gardens, we found lots of roses already in bloom, although by the looks of it a week or two more and the garden will be a perfusion of petals.
It’s enough to make me want to go rose shopping! I’ll resist.For now.
One of my favorite spots in this garden is their herb garden right off the Shaughnessy Restaurant. I love their use of space, and the beauty of the herbs. Who needs flowers when the spices and herbs look this good?
We wandered up towards the great lawns. Saw an interesting art exhibit. Honestly we couldn’t stay at it too long. My eldest kept trying to try on the low hanging clothes. Argg!
So instead we poked around the Perennial gardens.
And then found some shade to sit. With a patch of wild flowers growing near by it was the perfect place to stop for a picnic!
We enjoyed our bagged lunch (Go Diego Go style!) and then let the kids run free through the grassy lawn while we watched a hawk circle overhead.Once the kids had exhausted themselves we moved on. Checking out some of the tree’s near the Korean Pavilion.
This pink columnar tree was stunning. It was very thin, and went almost straight up. We searched for the tag, and when we finally found it we were disappointed to find it blank. Does any one have any idea what it could be called?Another flower that got me excited on this trip to the garden was the mass of Himalayan Blue Poppies that they had growing towards the waterfall.
I love this flower, and have only seen it in bloom in person once before. But never in this quantity. It was stunning! My poppy at home has still never flowered. I hear that’s common with the Himalayan poppy. That they take many years before they settle in to flower. It is definitely worth the wait!
From there we found our way to the base of the waterfall. A great spot to rest and enjoy the crashing water. I had an urge to spend half the day in that spot. If only I had my tri pod with me…long exposure, oh yes!
But that’s for another time. Today we had things still to see. So up, up, up we went.Wandered past the Stone Garden we caught an amazing view of the Hedge Maze! The kids were thrilled!
We had some good fun wandering this maze. Three time in total. If the kids had their way, it would have been more 🙂 Here they are pretending to be lost, har!
In the centre of the maze was a beautifully kept Monkey Tree. I love these tree’s they are so funky!
Every bit of them is unique and beautiful!On the other side of the Maze there was a lovely orchard area, and a bunch of bee boxes to encourage those little pollinators! Buzz buzz buzz!
The Vegetable gardens were starting to fill out! It was fun to watch the school kids wandering through here. Listening to their exclamations as they read the tags and poke through the rows. It’s nice to see that so many schools are taking their kids on trips like this. Maybe these kids will go home and bug mom & dad to plant a veggie garden.
Every kid should have one. Big or small, potted, in raised beds or deep in the dirt. We need to get these kids back to growing and cooking their own food!
Despite the slow start to our summer season, their beds were filling in nicely! Their summertime bounty will be massive! Good news for the restaurant !There was a lot we didn’t see. It’s such a large garden. We will have to make it back later in the season. It was a fabulous way to spend the day with the family!
Did I mention kids under 6 are free. With this place you are definitely getting full bang for your buck!
Update: A reader has noted in the comment section that my pink tree was a Toona sinensis. Yay! Mystery solved!
backyardgardener.com has it described as:
Wikipedia (I know. Before you say it, I rolled my eyes too.) also notes that it has edible qualities.
The young leaves of T. sinensis (called 香椿 in Chinese) are extensively used as a vegetable in China; they have an onion-like flavour. The fruit, bark, and roots are used in traditional Chinese medicine for a wide variety of conditions. Plants with red young leaves are considered of better flavour than those where the young leaves are green