Sunday, July 28, 2013
JC had a Groupon for the Canopy Walk at the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research that was about to expire. So, without the dogs in tow, we hopped in the Jetta and headed west. If we arrived early (they open at 10:00) we figured that we could get in and do the canopy walk before any crowds arrived and lineups formed.
We followed the route provided by our iPad and iPhone devices which got us to the UBC campus without any problems. There was a triathlon being run that day resulting in road closures including the one indicated on the map. After a little angst and a quick check of the Garden’s website we found the parking lot and geared up.
The first thing that we noticed was a group of Bald Eagles, 1 or 2 adults and at least 4 immature birds, flying around, chasing each other and doing acrobatics. I assume that it was part of the learning process for the younger birds.
We watched them for a while, while I tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to get some pictures of the fast flying birds.
After perhaps 10 minutes, we paid our entry fee and headed into the Garden.
Our first destination would be the Canopy Walk which was towards the southeast end of the Gardens.
Along the way there was lots of interesting plants to look at.
The Eagle Tree
We also passed the Eagle Tree, a 600 year old tree that the bald eagles liked to perch in. It was occupied most of the time that we were there but only by adult birds. Perhaps it should have been call the ‘boss eagle’ tree.
The Canopy Walk
The full name is the Greenheart Canopy Walkway and it provides the opportunity to see close up a west coast forest canopy ecosystem.
While it claims to be the only one of its kind in Canada, there is a another canopy walk that we have tried at Whistler. The Whistler canopy walk is more extensive and higher off the ground but it is more expensive and only available as a tour, since it requires a short bus ride to the start.
The Garden’s tree walk can be self-guided or part of an hourly tour. We chose to go with the self-guided tour.
A Glacial Erratic
At the exit from the canopy walk is a large rock that was picked up and dropped off by the glaciers 18,000 years earlier.
Flowers and Bees and Butterflies
We headed back to explore parts of the Garden that we had whizzed by on our way to the tree-walk. Seeing some bright flowers, bees and butterflies I decided to try out ‘macro’ mode on my camera with some nice results.
Through the Tunnel to the Other Side
We discovered a whole lot more garden on the other side of the road accessible through a tunnel. There were in fact several different garden themes. The first area we went through was a marshy area full of cattails that was part of the Carolinian Forest area.
Across the Great Lawn was the Alpine Garden where I got some good pictures of a sparrow and a Spotted Towhee hiding in a flowering bush (one of my favourite birds to photograph). It may have been the large stainless steel bird-bath that was attracting them to this part of the Garden.
B.C. Native Garden
The B.C. Native Garden had several sub-areas including a small wetland with a dabbling duck and duckling pair.
The Food Garden is a living demonstration of varieties and techniques for home gardening. More than 100 varieties of carefully trained fruit trees line the outer paths. Fruits and vegetables harvested by the Friends of the Garden are donated to local charities.
Wildflowers and the Physics Garden
Enclosed by a traditional yew hedge, the design of this small garden is based on a 16th century Dutch engraving. The 12 concentric beds encircling a sundial showcase traditional medicinal plants from medieval Europe.
Around the Garden Pavilion and the Physics Garden were lots of colourful flowers including giant thistles and lots of wildflowers.
The physics garden was our last stop after which we headed back to the parking lot, hopped in the Jetta and headed home.
A day that started as an effort to get some value out of a coupon before it expired had turned into a very enjoyable visit the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research.
We saw a few interesting birds as well resulting in a few good pictures.
We will definitely consider the Garden as a place to bring visitors when they come to visit us.
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