About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ABC Wednesday - V is for VanDusen Gardens

ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt place. Pop over to see other participants' entries for today's letter "V" ...
Within a stone’s throw of downtown Vancouver lies the former Shaughnessy Golf course (once used by the city’s elite), now transformed into a world-class botanical garden. The majestic evergreens throughout the site pre-date the garden, and the gardens have evolved around them. Paved pathways lead to wonderful plant groups including hollies (the largest collection in Canada), bamboos, magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas which, in late spring, attracts visitors from all over. You’ll find various theme gardens within Van Dusen’s 55-acres, including large formal and informal perennial borders, a children’s garden, rose and lakeside gardens. Its newest addition, the Canadian Heritage Garden, features many plants that were once used to clothe, feed and house the first natives to inhabit this area.

Van Dusen also has one of North America’s three Elizabethan Hedge Mazes - you may want to bring bread crumbs to find your way out - and its rolling lawns often play host to events such as the British Antique Car Show. The restaurant’s a destination eatery in and of itself. (from here)

The VanDusen Botanical Gardens is a paradise of delight for those who enjoy strolling through gardens. On May 30, my sisters and I took our mother's best friend Lucy for lunch at the Shaugnessy Restaurant there. My mother and Lucy grew up together, remaining best friends until Mom passed away in 2002. Lucy has had a tough life, always working while raising her only daughter by herself after she divorced her first husband. She was a woman well ahead of her time and would not suffer fools gladly. She eventually remarried but is now widowed and her only daughter will have nothing to do with her. For my sisters and me, Lucy is a connection to our mother and we happily keep in touch with her, taking her for birthday lunches and having her for dinner at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other occasions. She is always elegantly dressed and coiffed and can teach anyone Emily Post's rules of etiquette. She plays bridge on a regular basis and has a mind like a steel trap. What a wonderful woman she is, and I hope we will have the honour and privilege of being there for her for many years to come.

Since we all love the restaurant at VanDusen Gardens and it's a central location for us , we got together for Lucy's 89th birthday. We didn't go through the gardens that day, but I did take a few photos when we were leaving. I know a lot of people are amazed when I say we have palm trees here in Vancouver, but it's true. They are of a hardy variety, but still... The following are at the entrance to the gardens.























Here is a shot of the entrance to the gardens and a closeup of the totem pole that's on the right.



























And this "Princess Tree," which is native to China, was in full bloom the day we were there and gracefully draped the entrance on the left.

Van Dusen Gardens hosts an annual garden show every June and I have attended a few times, especially to see friends who participate. In May, when I was there recently, the rhododendrons were in full bloom and I saw many colours and varieties surrounding the parking area just on the outside of the gardens. Every December, the garden hosts its Festival of Lights which is absolutely incredible. I remember walking around one bitter cold winter evening and stopping to get some roasted chestnuts. With Christmas music softly enhancing the evening air, we strolled through the entire garden taking in the sights with awe. For an idea of what it's like, click here to see a youtube presentation of the 2007 festival. It's well worth a look, especially from halfway through to the end where you'll see part of the light and music show.

The VanDusen Botanical Gardens is a place to visit over and over again, at least four times a year to see it in its seasonal glory. If I have visitors this summer and/or in the fall, I'll definitely take them for a walk through some of the garden's 55 acres.
If you're interested, read yesterday's post on Campbell Valley Regional Park for another example for the letter V. It's a verdant valley so it also fits with the letter of the day.

46 comments:

Petunia said...

Looks like a lovely place to visit:)
Love your post. Lots of great information and beautiful photos!

Petunia's ABC

Berit said...

Beautiful like always!!!!

ellen b said...

Oh so many places to visit when I finally re-settle in Seattle. Lovely V post and Lucy looks so charming. have a vonderful veek!!

reader Wil said...

The story about Lucy is a very beautiful one though very sad that her daughter left her. It's good she has you! The gardens look very fine.

Katney said...

It is lovely!

Kjerstis Hjørne said...

Nice V-post.

Thank you for visiting mine.

imac said...

This looks an amazing place to visit. All because your post has great photos and a very well writtten information.

Texas Travelers said...

WOW.
Great story and photos.
Nicely done.

Our Victim is verifible,
as well as the other V.

Come Visit,
Troy and Martha

andrée said...

What a beautiful post. I love all of the information but Lucy and your family's connection to her has profoundly struck me. Bless you for being there and cherishing her. Your mother, I'm sure, is so terribly proud of all of you.

granmal said...

Wow, a beautiful post. Happy Birthday to Lucy, who looks wonderful! Maybe I should start playing bridge!

Josie said...

Gosh, Lucy looks so elegant. I love VanDusen Gardens. I once had a membership there, and I took botantical painting.

Did you and I go for dinner there once?

It's absolutely gorgeous there in the summertime, isn't it?

leslie said...

Yes, Josie, we went for dinner there and it turned out to be the Dine Out weekend - remember we had the BEST 3-course dinner!

Dina said...

Enjoyed walking with you through this post and the previous. So much lovely nature, from palm trees to totem poles and giant ferns. Good that Lucy and you have each other.
Thanks for visiting Jerusalem Hills.

CaBaCuRl said...

Lovely post, Leslie, & thank you for sharing the beautiful story of Lucy...how lucky she is to have friends who care for her so much, & lucky for you, to continue the link with your mum.

naturglede said...

What a beautiful number og pictures. I love it:)

photowannabe said...

The gardens look lovely and they seem like a perfect place to have a restaurant. I like your tribute to your Mother's friend. She appears to be an elegant lady.

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Granny Smith said...

What beautiful photos you have here! The plants are wonderful, but, photographically speaking, I am especially impressed with your portrait of Lucy. She and the photograph are both appear composed.
And maybe I am impressed because I am approaching her age (87 in August) and there are only a view photos of me that make me happy!

Neva said...

What a great post....I am always amazed at the parent/child relationships where they don't talk....what a horrible thing. I am glad that you and your sisters invite Lucy into your lives. I like your "V"s!

Gary said...

Very good 'V' post.

Would love to visit sometime.

Gary
Bodge's Bulletin

Aileni said...

Veritable cornucopia of beauty.

Outhouse Capital of Canada said...

We used to go all round there, QE park and stanley park etc. when we lived in poco, but never went to Van Duesen., now we are in the Okanagan, its not so easy.

mrsnesbitt said...

My mum and dad are no longer around sadly, but i do love the connection with people who knew them well. I can fully empathise with you. What a shame her daughter wont have anything to do with this lady.

ShutterHappyJenn said...

very great place you have! thanks for dropping by my site.

Dragonstar said...

This looks such a lovely place. Thanks for all the information. Vancouver must be wonderful.

me ann my camera said...

The gardens sound very lovely and also how wonderful for you to take your Mom's friend to lunch. I lived in Vancouver many years ago and always loved the variety of vegetation found there that we don't have on the east coast.

Thank you for having visited my butterflies and stone bridge.

babooshka said...

Why Didn't I think of verdant. I live at the back of a nature reserve! Beautiful collection, and very informative.

Judy said...

What an awesome V post and a beautiful place to visit.

Gordon said...

A lovely post of beautiful gardens.

Liz said...

What beautiful gardens they are. And yesterday's post is a delight. It's sooo green!

reader Wil said...

Thanks for visiting!

Yes Leslie, the Viking women were very emancipated and strong. The Vikings claimed to have the first parliament in Europe and they were the first democrates.

Daryl said...

Nice post .. and Lucy is lucky to have you .. as are you to have her!

:-Daryl

Louis la Vache said...

Very good choice for "V"-Wednesday!

Louis had warned you that over at San Francisco Bay Daily Photo, we would have Visions of Hell! He wasn't kidding, was he? (And he didn't even show the most violent of the panels!) Next week, he will have one more, though less brutal, from that series - then he'll move on to happier subjects....

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" here again....

It is sad that Lucy's daughter won't have anything to do with her. "Louis" thinks he would like Lucy and he's glad Lucy has you as a friend.

"Louis" thinks those Visions of Hell! panels may have been done by the Gothic/Tattoo/Piercing crowd he sees hanging out in a skateboard basin fashioned out of concrete waste that had been dumped on Albany Point.

mylittlephotonook said...

I nearly feel I had been in that park now! Thanks for sharing all these beautiful photos.

Kim said...

I love botanical gardens. They are so beautiful and peaceful. I wish I could take Lucy out to lunch, she sounds like a wonderful and interesting person.

RuneE said...

That looks like a veritable paradise for photographers - year in and year out.

Thank you for shearing!

Rose said...

This sounds like a wonderful place to visit! Too bad I don't live closer to take a drive there.
How kind of you to take your mother's good friend out to lunch. I'm sure she appreciates your sisters' and your friendship.

John said...

As usual great shots and informative post.

The vacation photo is taken in Marbella - Spain.

nancygrayce said...

How sas that her daughter won't have anything to do with her. That is just unimaginable to me. Those look like the palmetta palms in Florida.

kRiZ cPEc said...

a nice place to be, thanks for sharing

Powell River Books said...

Vancouver is such a great city with so many different things to offer. We are usually rushing through to get to Powell River, but when we have stopped we have discovered some real treasures. I chose V is for vegetables from my floating garden. I invite you to come see. -- Margy

Alan said...

Looks like a lovely garden. Nice valley, too.

Louis la Vache said...

Remember this ABC Wednesday post, Leslie? "Louis" should have re-posted it on "V"-Wednesday for "Viagra"! :-)

leslie said...

Oh my gawd! That's hilarious, Louis! You are SO right! ROTFLOL

kml said...

Looks to be a great way to spend an afternoon!