Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Reimagined former quarry becomes garden hotspot in city center




Just a short stroll from my home near Vancouver's center is a marvelous sunken garden. It lies within Queen Elizabeth Park, and it's a huge draw for plant and nature lovers. Join me on my walk!


















We're fortunate in Vancouver to have nature so close at hand. We may choose to hike in the mountains in the morning and play at seaside in the afternoon. Queen Elizabeth Park is a magnet in Spring for tourists and locals alike. The reason it draws so many is its two attractions: the quarry garden I'll show you, and its magnificent conservatory filled with tropical plants and birds. Any time of year is a treat to view the quarry garden. First, I view the deep depression from one of several lookouts. Feast your eyes on the diversity within.

The overlook view gives a splendid first impression

Before taking a path either left or right to walk down and enter the space, there are some wonderful bedding displays capped with the freshest new reds and greens of Japanese maples.


 Briefly I chatted with these Lebanese folks coming to see a plaque dedicated to their countrypeople, together with a Cedrus libani, Cedar of Lebanon. It's a popular tree, planted all around Vancouver, often reaching enormous sizes.






The garden is a popular venue for wedding photos. Here is a newly minted bride happily posing.

And on the left, a soft looking Cryptomeria japonica, Japanese Cedar





Only the beech trees remain unleafed, still in pointed bud at mid-Spring. Foreground planting of Fritillaria imperialis 'Maxima Lutea' (yellow Crown Imperial) easily draws the visitor's eye, with its clean green background.


In the background above stands the tropical conservatory. It is undergoing a $2 million refit of it plexiglass roof, remaining open throughout the process.




A couple of handsome bamboos overhang one of the entrance paths.
The taller is Phyllostachys bambusoides, Japanese Timber bamboo.
The second, smaller one is P. nigra. Both are running species, and
will create a small grove over time, backed by the quarry wall.


 


A stream slowly meanders through the quarry. Various marginal plants are on show, but none so curious, so .. prehistoric, so befitting this site as Chilean rhubarb, Gunnnera manicata. It isn't rhubarb, but is in a plant family all its own. Its massive, rough textured leaves create their own gravity!



Having walked a slow circuit, I found a sign reading, "Small quarry", this way.
I had no idea! To finish, here is a glimpse of a simple open hillside facing north. The lawn is backed by a lovely rhododendron wood. It seems that I chose my quarry stroll on a good day, in late April, with so much in bloom.


A taste of why I love Vancouver in the Spring!

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