Vancouver 2001

 

This summer we decided to travel to Vancouver and visit some of the gardens that we haven't seen in a few years or never have seen at all. Too often I forget just how beautiful our gardens in Canada are - you know - it's because they are here, and we all want to go somewhere else.
We packed our car and headed out very early July 26th, so that we would be in Vancouver by evening. It was a wonderful drive through the mountains into the interior of BC and then into Vancouver. Arrived at Grouse Mountain where friends of ours lived and had invited us to spend the time at their place, while they were on holidays. We had few rules, the major one being to look after Tigger, the cat!
Enjoyed the time away, puttering in Robyn’s garden and out visiting the local area, North Vancouver and surrounding gardens. We were all the way through from North Van to Deep Cove while there. Visited friends higher up on the mountain that had built their home with the most commanding view of the Lions Gate Bridge and most of downtown ... what a view!!
We visited Park & Tilford Gardens which I had never seen before ... what a surprise garden this was...it is sponsored by the merchants of the Park & Tilford Shopping Centre. This unique ownership makes it a rare privately owned non-profit display garden. It is a beautiful garden, quite enclosed with and run by a very enthusiastic and dedicated team.
Next was the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Gardens ... we arrived about 9:30 in the morning as our house was just up the hill from there (on the way to the Grouse Mountain Skyride) ... good thing too, as this place gets busy early!. It's a busy place with lots of things to do with the children ... we just wanted to get some pictures of the bridge - I even walked out on it) and then get some shots of Elizabeth's Garden.
After our friends from Hamilton arrived, we set out to UBC Botanical Garden. On the off chance that David might be there, I asked, and sure enough, he came bounding out of his office to meet us and take us on a bit of a tour...what a treat! We ran into some of the volunteers picking up dried seed while there and of course checked out the giftshop ... a wonderful giftshop!
On to Queen Elizabeth Park and the Bloedel Conservatory ... it had been years since I was here and was surprised at the amount of land this park has ... then at the top of it, the conservatory. Brimming with tropical plants and birds, it was a taste of the tropics indeed. Tom even became friends with a Rosie, a 16 year old African Grey Parrot, who was enamored with his shoelaces!
Took a drive after this out to Thomas Hobbs, Southlands Nursery. Could not believe the plants there. So many ferns and tropicals and the nursery has one of the nicest layouts I have seen.
Did the Granville Island thing as well. The guys took off into a model train and model ships and fishing ... and Wendy and I spent out time wondering where they were going to meet us ... we never did decide on this. We spent out time wandering through the market and finally did meet up with them...
We visited Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden as well - this was a first time visit and I was stunned ... what a magnificent garden this is. It is the first authentic, full-scale garden built outside China and is a must see! 
We also did the Robson street thing, and that is where we had our car broken in to. The day was great up until we arrived back at the car, but the worst was yet to come because we had to go to the police station and let me just say that this was in an unsavory part of town ... I can still see Wendy and Gord hunched down in the back seat of the car with her umbrella with it's pointed end at the ready!!
Soon it was time for us to leave and when we got to Chilliwack, we just had to stop at Minter Gardens ... I am in love with this garden ... it is so romantic and peaceful. Met Brian Minter just inside the gates and he was kind enough to offer us lunch before we headed to the Shuswaps. Do make the time if you have never seen this garden before ... it is worth it!
We met our friends Mike and Ronnie just out of Sorrento, and was the weather every nice ... a much needed change from the rain in Vancouver - and they said August was the driest month!! Mike and Ronnie have a 38' motor home and it is their home during the summer months here in Canada. Then they live on a 38' sail boat during the winter months. What a nice couple of days we spent. After the first day, they decided to move to Cedar Springs Resort, which was right on the water, and we spent time just walking in the water and along the beach ... very relaxing. Then we headed home ... life continues and with that the hope of traveling Vancouver Island next year!
Many thanks to all of our dear friends who put us up and put up with us on this holiday ... we sure did appreciate your love and hospitality. Thanks much to Wendy and Gord for coming from Hamilton to join us - I am sure they will not forget the trip!

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