Exploring the Flora, Fauna and Gardens of Canada’s West Coast

Totem Poles at Stanley Park. Janna Schreier

Totem Poles at Stanley Park, Vancouver

Well, hello from Canada! I have definitely been very indulged; we’ve seen some incredible gardens here. We’ve also seen some amazing fauna, from bears and racoons to deer and squirrels.

I thought I’d just quickly share a few photos; I’ll write more about my favourite gardens when I am home. Here are my highlights so far:

1. University of British Columbia Botanical Garden

Native garden at the University of British Columbia Botanic Gardens. Janna Schreier

The native garden at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden

It’s always great to see a native garden in a new country. Ferns and conifers dominated; lots of deep greens and interesting textures.

Day lilies, ferns and Rogersia. Janna Schreier

Hemerocallis, Rodgersia and ferns at the UBC Botanical Garden

The UBC gardens also had plenty of non-native plantings. I loved this combination of Hemerocallis flowers, generous Rodgersia leaves and divided ferns. It reminded me of the look I am aiming to create in my shady front garden, albeit in much drier, poorer soil (hence no Rodgersia!).

Persicaria, Hydrangea and ferns. Janna Schreier

Persicaria, Hydrangea and ferns at the UBC Botanical Garden

And I adore Persicaria, here teamed with limed Hydrangea and more ferns.

2. Nitobe Japanese Garden, Vancouver

Mossy carpet at Nitobe Japanese Garden. Janna Schreier

Mossy carpet and beautiful light at Nitobe Japanese Garden

This Japanese garden was the best example of its type I have ever seen. The whole atmosphere was incredibly special and the attention to detail amazing. I’ll cover this garden in much more detail when I am back.

Nitobe Japanese Garden, Vancouver. Janna Schreier

The lake at Nitobe Japanese Garden

3. VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

Van Dusen Garden, Vancouver. Janna Schreier

Fountain at VanDusen Botanical Garden

The VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver was one of the best public gardens I have ever seen. It had a huge variety of plantings, from Korean to Southern Hemisphere and everything in between. It was beautifully curated, wonderfully maintained and had some pockets of magic that really took your breath away. I’ll cover this one in a separate post, too.

Limes and burgundies at Van Dusen Garden. Janna Schreier

Lime and burgundy planting at VanDusen Botanical Garden


4. Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver. Janna Schreier

Conifers, mountains and the ocean from Grouse Mountain, British Columbia

Not really a garden, but certainly interesting flora and fauna. The very small garden had obviously been planted up in the last month or so, but it was the natural beauty that really caught my interest.

Ecowalk on Grouse Mountain. Janna Schreier

Ecowalk on Grouse Mountain

Meadow-like open areas between stands of conifers; such a strong sense of place.

Wildflowers on Grouse Mountain. Janna Schreier

Wildflowers on Grouse Mountain

I loved the wildflowers popping up here and there.

Grizzly Bears in British Columbia. Janna Schreier

Grizzly bears at Grouse Mountain

Admittedly, these bears were not quite so wild, but still pretty cute. We’re not sure if we’d love to see them in the wild or if we’re plain petrified of the idea; although after seeing their teeth and claws it is perhaps more of the latter.

5. Government House Garden, Victoria

Government House Gardens, Victoria. Janna Schreier

Hot herbaceous border at Government House

The gardens at Government House were absolutely outstanding. The light wasn’t wonderful, but the plantings were. It was clear that both a very talented artist and horticulturist had been involved in the design: the colours were as skilled as I have ever seen and it was clear that expert plant knowledge had been applied.

Pastel yellows and mauves at Governmnent House, Victoria. Janna Schreier

Pastel yellows and mauves in the herb garden at Government House, Victoria

l found it very interesting that these virtually deserted, free to enter gardens near the city centre were far superior, in my view, to the world renowned, one million visitors per annum, $31 entry fee Butchart Gardens, some 25 kilometres from the city. There was just no comparison, in my mind. I could happily visit Government House every day of the year, if I lived nearby, and still never be bored of its gardens. I’ll be writing this garden up separately, too.

Butchart Gardens Sunken Garden. Janna Schreier

I loved the trees at Butchart Gardens, but on the whole, the plantings weren’t really to my taste

That’s it for now; I’m looking forward to sharing more of my adventures later on…

Monarda on the Roof Terrace of the Vancouver Club. Janna Schreier

Monarda on the Roof Terrace of the Vancouver Club, where we stayed

14 thoughts on “Exploring the Flora, Fauna and Gardens of Canada’s West Coast

  1. Louise Dutton says:

    Look forward to hearing more about the gardens that impressed you. You sure do get to see some wonderful gardens. Can’t wait to have more time to myself to enjoy exploring! Enjoy your trip and stay safe.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thanks, Louise, I am very lucky. I do hope you get a chance to explore more gardens soon; I find it so inspiring. I haven’t forgotten your list by the way; I now have an idea of how to show all my favourite gardens in one place, just need to find a moment to do it…

  2. Barbara says:

    Wow, I am soooo jealous. You sure have lots of writing ahead of you. I am looking forward to reading. Thanks for sharing.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thanks, Barbara. Gosh, I’ve seen so many beautiful places here. I hope you get to all these places one day, too! In the meantime I promise to share more photos very soon; thanks for reading!

  3. Sally Stobo says:

    Thanks for sharing these gardens and meadow pictures- I loved the immaculate moss Japanese garden and Government house – absolutely wonderful! Looking forward to the next instalment! Safe travels, Sally

    • jannaschreier says:

      You’d have loved Government House, Sally. So many different plants, even some Australian natives. And that Japanese garden was amazing; we’ve seen another one since, which was much bigger but nowhere near as good. It was so special. In fact it had a similar atmosphere to your fernery!

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thank you, Jessica. It’s so fun exploring new places. And as you say, good to see that mauve and orange is appreciated worldwide! You’ll love some of the other planting combinations at Government House too; gosh, they were good!

  4. Town and Country Gardener says:

    Hi Janna,
    Thanks for the sunshine and flowers. It’s a bit brisk here in Melbourne at the moment. I like the diversity of gardens you visited and the range of photos. Such inspiration. Looking forward to reading more about them when you return. Cheers, Matt

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thanks, Matt. It’s been 29ºC today and I have to say, it is lovely to have a little spell of warmth in the middle of winter. The cheery flowers don’t go a miss, either! I have loved visiting all the gardens and I find you always take something away from each of them, whatever their style.

  5. Catherine says:

    I’m glad to find out about the beautiful Government House gardens. Every time I see photos of what others have called the wonderful garden at Butchart, I feel slightly nauseous. Even in a photograph, its ‘feast for the eyes’ gives me terrible indigestion. But then, if you’re not snow bound in dazzling white for months at a time, you might have a different appreciation of colour. Maybe after a white-out like that, a Canadian’s body needs a colour assault? Maybe it’s another essential part of recovering from seasonal affective disorder?

    • jannaschreier says:

      Great minds think alike! Those were exactly my thoughts on the bedding colour. Government House, VanDusen and Nitobe gardens were all outstanding though; really, really good. I need to get writing them up…

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