Category Archives for "Garden News"

‘Snow Tower’ Plants Bloom at Bloedel

By UBC Botanical Garden | Garden News

'Snow Tower

These rarely seen ‘Snow Tower’ plants won’t last long, so come quickly to see them!

April 19, 2019 – At over 3 meters tall, these 5 plants would be hard to miss, but they are not native to Canada; rather they come from the Canary Islands, and the western end of the mediterranean. The Bloedel Conservatory grew them from seed, and while spectacularly in height and colour, they are expected to flower only for the next two weeks.

“We expect this exotically beautiful tall plant will cause a lot of excitement among plant lovers,”

Vancouver Park Board Chair, Stuart Mackinnon

So, if you are serious about plants, hurry down to the Conservatory, because this snowy display is truly not-to-be-missed.

And if you do this weekend, consider taking in VanDusen Garden’s Eggciting Easter Hop!

For more detail information about this botanical display, read the City of Vancouver’s post: Spectacular flowering ‘Snow-Tower’ plant now at Bloedel Conservatory

Tulip Photo Contest

By UBC Botanical Garden | Garden News

Tulip Photo Contest - BC Tulip Trail

Enter our Spring 2019 Photo Contest

Tulip Photo Contest Alert:  Gardens are meant to be experienced, walked through, studied, revelled in, and shared; tulips even more so. To help spread the tulip cheer, we think a photo contest is just the thing to get people tip toeing through British Columbia’s gardens, parks and tulip festivals along BC’s tulip trail.

The first tulips to bloom in Canada every year can be found in British Columbia. In fact from Vancouver Island to the mainland, through the Fraser Valley and to the Okanagan, a veritable tulip trail exists from early March through May, every spring.

To Enter

Follow Gardens BC on Twitter or Gardens BC on Instagram or Gardens BC on Facebook, upload your favourite BC tulip photo, taken this year or in previous years, caption it and tag it with: #exploreBCgardens AND #BCTulipTrail. That’s all you need to do to be entered to win one of three fabulous prizes from our signature gardens.

The photo contest runs from Monday, April 15 to Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Winners will be randomly drawn and announced at 9:00 PM the day the tulip photo contest closes. Contest is open to BC, AB and WA  residents only. Read the full photo contest details are below.

Photo Contest Rules

  • No purchase necessary
  • There are three garden related prizes to be awarded to three randomly chosen winners
  • Our Tulip Photo Contest is open to BC, AB, and WA residents aged 18 or older
  • Chances of winning are dependent on the number of entries received
  • Deadline for entries is May 15, 2019 (6:00 PM PST).
  • Staff and employees of Gardens British Columbia or their members are not eligible to win
  • Multiple entries are allowed but each photo must be separate, distinct, and owned by the poster

Gardens and Festivals to visit and take tulip photos this spring on British Columbia’s Tulip Trail

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Chilliwack Tulip Festival 2019 – Open

By UBC Botanical Garden | Garden News , Vancouver Coast and Mountains

Chilliwack Tulip Festival 2019 open - mean image

Bloom Update April 14, 2019

The Chilliwack Tulip Festival opened April 10th, 2019. See current bloom updates below.

Daffodils are in season! They are currently 75% bloom and look amazing!
Hyacinths in full bloom! They are expected to be in full bloom until April 16th.

Tulip Fields are closing in on 50% now. All colours are starting to show and one purple variety is almost in full bloom.

Display Gardens are in half bloom, and will be in full bloom with lots of colours and some new surprises by April 16th!

Have you been? A floral showcase of over 25 acres of working tulip fields surrounded by beautiful mountain views and rustic farms in Chilliwack, BC.

See the full Chilliwack Tulip Festival 2019 event listing for more details.

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Things To Do in Chinatown: A Moon Festival Itinerary

By UBC Botanical Garden | Garden News

Chinatown Millennium Gate on Pender Street

A Moon Festival Itinerary – Things To Do at the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival presents a wonderful opportunity for family fun. Gardens BC has put together a list of ‘things to do’ to assist in making your choice. The actual festival date is September 24; most of the events take place on the previous week-end, September 21 and September 22. If you are lucky, you may be able to fit two events into your fun schedule.

If you are in Vancouver/Lower Mainland, there are several choices. 


The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden celebrates Music Under the Moon on Friday evening, September 21 from 5:30 — 9:30pm. In addition to musical performances,enjoy a Music Under the Moon contest where you will vote for the winner, tea tasting, mooncake making and more. Be sure to visit the Chinese Musical Instrument Petting Zoo from 6:30–7:00 pm. Ticketed.

There are numerous restaurants and shops in and near Chinatown for a bite to eat before the event.

Join the Vancouver Learning City at Oakridge for a Chinese Harp Music concert  Friday Sept 21 from 6:00 to 7:00pm. Free


Moon Cake Demonstration: Coquitlam Heritage Centre,  Ages 12+

Learn about the history and traditions of Mid-Autumn Moon festival, how to make ice mooncakes and the how to make baked mooncakes.  Sampling included!  Spaces is limited. 10:30am to 12:00pm. Reservations and ticketed

If you are on Vancouver Island:


 Saanich Moon Lantern Festival 5:00pm -8:00pm.

A family friendly event that welcomes people of all ages and cultures. Enjoy traditional Asian dance and musical performances by community groups; lantern making for children and a sampling of mooncakes and traditional green teas. The event culminates with outdoor lantern installations, an illuminated community lantern procession through the park followed by an outdoor musical performance.   Free.

Light Up the Hills Lantern Festival   7:30 – 9:30pm, Westhills community in Langford.

The festival features illuminated artworks that create an intriguing glowing effect. Participants will stroll along a path passing performances and artworks.  Get ready for the evening by attending one of several lantern-making workshops on different dates.

Event: free.  Lantern-making workshops: registration fee.

Portland Oregon

A major Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is held at the LanSu Chinese Garden in Portland Oregon. If you will be in Portland on Sept 22, be sure to visit; their impressive list of events includes performances, games, tea, crafts, story-telling and more. 

Where to buy mooncakes:

Vancouver /Lower Mainland:

Buy mooncakes in Vancouver.  Most Chinese bakeries features mooncakes in the lead up to the festival. Other mooncake bakeries of note are Saint Germain Bakery with stores through Lower Mainland. If you’re looking for mooncakes with an exciting fusion flair, visit Soirette Bakery for flavours such as Pineapple Marmalade & Kaffir Lime Leaf and Black Sesame & Yuzu

Victoria area 

You’ll find mooncakes at Fairway Markets. It’s also worth a peek in other Chinese bakeries and where Chinese food is sold..

Prince George

If you are wondering if you can buy mooncakes in Prince George. You’re in luck.

If you are unable to visit any of the celebrations, you don’t have to miss out on the stories, legends and traditions of Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The British Council’s Schools Online offers a Mid-Autumn Moon educational kit to do with the family.

Whatever you choose to do for the event, keep your friends and family in your thoughts. Pass this Moon Festival Itinerary to friends and look for updates to it next year. Looking for a different itinerary, try our Single Day Cultural Garden Experience Trip in Vancouver.

Download a pdf of the Moon Festival Itinerary

New 23 Acre Botanical Garden For UNBC

By UBC Botanical Garden | Garden News

University of Northern British Columbia

New Botanical Garden to be the most northerly in Canada.

A new 23 acre botanical garden is being planned for the University of Northern British Columbia with the help of the David Douglas Botanical Garden Society.

“The big dream is to build a full-fledged botanical garden, about 23 acres, to model it after other botanical gardens,” explains Linda Naess, President of the David Douglas Botanical Garden Society. “To have the educational piece of it, the research part of it, a building and events. It’s going to be a big project.”

New Botanical Garden at UNBC conceptual map

Read more about the UNBC botanical garden initiative and watch the video in the original story by CKPG News in Prince George, BC. To see more gardens in British Columbia, view our BC Garden Master Directory.

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival: Moon Gladness

By UBC Botanical Garden | Garden News

Mid Autumn Moon Festival at Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver

Not-To-Be-Missed! Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 中秋节 Zhōngqiū Jié:  Moon Gladness

It happens every year and every year it seems to take us by surprise as we begin the move away from the yang sun and the heat of summer toward the yin moon and the months ruled by the cool and dark of the night sky. We wake up one day and it’s autumn in the garden. “What happened?”

Autumn is kind to gardeners – there is still some warmth and sun, in patches, and the crisp and cool feels invigorating. Gardens are still producing almost more than we can eat and the winter veggies are sprouted, which is rewarding.

Autumn slides in; the first hint is when the quality of the light seems to change. It always happens as a ‘ooh’ moment. It’s hard to describe what the change is, but the word that always comes to mind is poignant. A whispering harbinger of the season changing. Night changes too; think of autumn’s largest moon, golden, with its ‘faces’ most visible. 

Mid Autumn Moon Festival at Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver at night

Moon-wise, 2018 is an unusual year. There will be 13 full moons, none of which were in February and two of which are blue moons (January and March). In current terms, a blue moon happens when there is a second full moon in a month. They happen once every 2.7 years, which gives a definitive number to the phrase ‘once in a blue moon.’

Full moons are often named to correspond what is happening in the natural world:

Chinese Moon names - moon festival

People around the world celebrate seasons; harvest festivals feature prominently. The second most important Chinese lunar festival, Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 中秋节, falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar, September 24 this year, the night of the full moon. The day has been

Mid Autumn Moon Festival at Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden - moon cakescelebrated in China since the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BCE).  It’s a harvest festival celebrating the abundance of summer and the importance of family. A time to gather; some call it the Festival of Reunion. The event is increasingly celebrated in and by gardens, such as Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (  中山公园 Zhong Shan Gong Yuan) and Portland’s Lansu Garden)

Like all festivals, there are traditions associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival; where you celebrate, what you eat, what stories you tell and how you decorate. The full moon is a metaphor for a family reunion, a never-ending circle. For centuries, a feature of the evening has been gazing at the moon, admiring its beauty, knowing that family and friends not with you were doing the same, the moon connecting everyone.

It’s a family celebration, traditionally at home, but more often now a family gathering in a restaurant.  Each family has its own tradition of what dishes are a ‘must’ for the meal, but everyone includes mooncakes.  

Mooncakes 月饼

Traditional mooncakes have a thin, tender pastry skin enveloping a sweet dense filling, usually red bean or lotus, and may contain one or more whole salted duck egg yolks to symbolize the full moon. They are made in special molds that form the shape and leave an imprint on the top and are eaten in small wedges with tea.  Traditional Moon Cakes

If you are ambitious, try making your own mooncakes, here’s a recipe for traditional lotus seed mooncakes.  Yum.  When googling for the recipe; it was immediately apparent that there are many to choose from. Molds and other things you need can be found on Amazon or in culinary shops. Ming Wo’s in Vancouver, just across the street from Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, comes to mind. One exciting discovery was that mooncake flavours have expanded beyond the traditional into almost every flavour imaginable. Fun.  Here’s a list of 10 favourite mooncakes in China: Five Kernel and Port, Red Bean Paste, Lotus Seed Paste, Snow-Skin, Fruit and Vegetable, Chocolate, Green Tea, Ice Cream, Cream Cheese and Seafood.  Buying is also an option; every Chinese bakery has a selection and they almost always come in great packaging.

Hairy crabs 大闸蟹

Besides mooncakes, another autumn delicacy that dominates Chinese Moon Festival menus is steamed hairy crabs along with a plate of ginger and vinegar. Hairy crabs are also known as Chinese mitten crabs because of their furry claws. They spend most of their lives in fresh water and return to the sea to breed.

Mid Autumn Moon Festival at Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden in downtown Vancouver

Poetry 诗歌

Chinese literature has many well-known Mid-Autumn Moon Festival poems. In earlier days, they were sung/recited and formed part of the evening’s entertainment.  ‘Thoughts in the Silent Night’ by Li Bai is one such poem. He used four lines of five characters to express his homesickness at the Moon (Mid-Autumn) Festival.

Li Bai Poem - MoonsStory-Telling

One of the most famous Mid-Autumn Moon Festival stories, The Legend of Chang er,  is an enduring love story that tells of the characters involved in solving the problem of ten suns in the sky and what happened to them afterward.Mid Autumn Moon Festival at Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden


The Osmanthus is the flower most associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. It’s prized for its sweet-smelling and edible flowers which bloom at festival time.

If you want to celebrate the festival outside your home, there are a number of great options to choose from.  Watch this space in a few days for “where to go’ ideas, including Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden which celebrates their Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday, September 21.

If you enjoyed this article, take a looks at our single day cultural garden trip itinerary within the City of Vancouver.