UBC Botanical Garden Field Trip: On May 18 approximately 30 guides took part in our field trip to UBC Botanical Garden. UBC extended a special rate of $200 (our usual honorarium) rather than their rate of $480 for a group tour. It was to have been 30 minutes in each area. Both Laura Caddy and Ben Stormes gave us an hour in their area.
Carolinian Garden: We learned from Ben that “Carolinian Forest” is a Canadian term, not heard in any other area of Eastern North America. The insert below is from the Government of Canada website. Of course, guides from Ontario are aware, but to some of us westerners the details were new. The article goes to show, once again, the brilliance of Roy Forster’s plantings in VanDusen.
Ontario’s Carolinian Zone (Government of Canada website): Ontario’s Carolinian Zone lies south of an imaginary line between Grand Bend on Lake Huron and Toronto on Lake Ontario. This region enjoys warmer year-round temperatures than any other part of Ontario. The climate supports ecosystems found nowhere else in Canada, along with levels of biological diversity unsurpassed elsewhere in the province.
“Carolinian” is a name coined by early botanists, who observed that hardwood forests in southwestern Ontario share many characteristics with forests as far south as North and South Carolina in the United States. Forests in Ontario’s Carolinian Zone are populated with trees having a strong southern affinity, such as tulip tree (Lireodendron tulipifera), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Kentucky coffee-tree (Gymnocladus dioicus), cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), and pawpaw (Asimina triloba).
It has been estimated that more than 50% of the federally-listed species at risk occur in Ontario’s Carolinian Zone. Throughout this region, pressures from urban expansion, increased industrialization and intensified agricultural practices have caused extensive wildlife habitat destruction. In parts of this zone, over 90% of the original forests are gone. Most of the remaining forests are too small and isolated to accommodate at-risk forest bird species and other species that depend on the specialized habitats found in larger forest tracts.
Alpine Garden: Laura Caddy took us through the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. She explained the plants were grown together in similar natural conditions rather than geographical areas. The cactus plants are grown in a glass house as they like it hot and dry. She said it is very challenging picking shards of glass out of the plants when errant balls from games at Thunderbird Arena crash through the roof. There is also an area of Alpines planted in troughs to protect them from mice, etc. The Alpine area takes up 3% of the garden’s area and holds 40% of the taxa. It is one of the largest alpine gardens in North America.
VanDusen’s gardener who enhanced our Alpine Garden was transferred to Sunset Nursery, so our alpine has now diminished in size. Note – the tufa (a type of limestone) troughs imported from Yorkshire by Roy in 1976 are now lined along the top of the stone wall adjacent to the Bird Garden. Should our guests be interested in alpines suggest a visit to UBC. The tours ended with refreshments in the covered picnic area at the rear of the Food Garden. Laura and Ben were thanked but could not join us as they had to dash off to a meeting. It was a very enjoyable morning.
Submitted by Lyn Anderson, who also took the photos