Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Closer Look at VanDusen

I promised a closer look at some of the great specimen plants at the VanDusen Botanical garden.

Most of the plants were well-labeled, but I didn't see a label here, it might have been hidden under the big leaves. It looks like an aroid of some kind, could it possibly be a jack in the pulpit? It was huge if it was.

Loved this large clump of Japanese forest grass, looking like water flowing down the slope.

The variegated leaves on this Astrantia overshadowed the flowers, but they did have a delicate beauty, when you looked close.

I was surprised to see a brug flowering already.

There was a metal gazebo with this pretty honeysuckle planted at all four corners, climbing to the top. This was the only flower open.

This clump of Darmera was the size of our queen-size bed!

I loved how there was a row of tall perennials at the back of this bed -- Delphiniums, then some kind of Thalictrum, and then behind that a couple of Veronicastrum, with their flowers looking like they were dancing.

I need to find this blue Veronicastrum for my own garden.

Most hardy Geraniums are short, either clumpers or trailers. But this one was tall.

And wet.

The tag said this was Bowles' Golden Sedge, but I didn't think its flowers looked like this.

Aren't these two enormous clumps of Bear's Breeches stunning? If you know how big red hot poker gets (the red and yellow flower in front), then that gives you some idea of how big these clumps are. (Edit: Grace mentioned she thought these might be artichokes, but today I saw a cardoon plant for the first time, and I'm thinking that is what these are. The cardoon was enormous!)

And this gorgeous dark Ligularia. I love it planted with that caramely Heuchera, and behind it the sprays of delicate blue Columbine.

A Voodoo Lily getting ready to flower

I don't know what this conifer was, but it certainly made me realize I need some in my own garden

Two Monkey Puzzle trees, planted close together, one big and full, and the other smaller.

One of several ginormous Gunneras

Love the waffled leaves!

A very large stand of Petasites. I've grown this in the past, and I know it doesn't take long for one plant to  become this many!

This combo of Petasites with Brunnera worked for me -- same shape leaves, but smaller and variegated.

A small stand of Meconopsis poppies

 I was quite impressed with this large clump of flowering Rodgersia

For more information about the VanDusen Botanical Garden, click here.


  1. The meconopsis has me swooning, I am determined to successfully grow them at some point! I think the dark ligularia is absolutely stunning, thanks for the tour. :)

  2. Your photographs are outstanding, Alison!! This has been such a treat being able to stoop down low with you to see all this beauty "up close" ! Again, your knowledge of plants is impressive :) I can quite see why you walked back to the car with a huge grin on your face when you rejoined your patient husband! It's patently obvious you had a marvellous time losing yourself in this magnificent garden! Thank you so much for sharing it with us, too :)

  3. Wow! I believe the Geranium is 'Patricia.' It gets quite big and mingles well. Could those be artichoke plants rather than Bear's Breeches? I love the Dictamnus growing next to the Voodoo Lily. And that stand of Rodgersia is outstanding! Great post. Thank you for sharing.

  4. What a place that must be. I could explore there all day. Thanks for the tour and thanks for taking a walk with me. I always think of your pond when I see my sweet grass. I think it would be a great addition.

  5. I love these closeups of what you saw in the garden. I'm a little scared of how big Darmera is there, it'll be bigger than my whole pond if it grows that well. I have that same Astrania and so far it's just leaves, hopefully I'll get a flower or two.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.