Woodsy pathways through the David C. Lam Asian garden at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden in Vancouver, BC

The UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC is one of the west coast’s best-kept horticultural secrets. If you’re hungry to learn about unusual plants from all corners of the world, you’ll be fully occupied, marveling and scribbling down notes from the well-labeled collection. If you would just like to stroll down forested paths listening to towhees and kinglets, admire hummingbirds sipping nectar from bright flowers in the alpine garden, or check out the creative techniques used to grow veggies and fruit in the food garden, you too will be happy.

The garden is comprised of two main sections: on one side of the freeway, you enter the front gate and stroll through the David C. Lam Asian Garden. The Asian garden includes nearly 20 planted acres of unusual plants living in an understory of second-growth Doug fir and red cedar forest, with paths dedicated to various important plant explorers.

See the slideshow (above) for images of some of the unusual plants seen in the garden just last week… and tune in soon for an exploration of the other side: a physic garden of medicinal herbs, a wonderful vegetable garden showcasing vegetables and fruit and the best ways to grow them, one of the largest alpine gardens in North America organized by world region (with lots of fantastic southern hemisphere plants), a BC rainforest garden, and some big, bouffy perennial beds.