I was attending a master gardener meeting last week at VanDusen Botanical Gardens and had to take a stroll through the gardens. I wanted to see how many signs of spring I could find. The park was packed with people as admission was free on the Family day holiday. I certainly saw lots of colour in the garden. The yellow blooms of winter aconite shared space with purple crocuses. Winter aconite or Eranthis is from the buttercup family and you can see the resemblance to buttercups in its flower. I must remember to plant some aconite in the fall.
The Helleborus were in full bloom in all different colours. You have to get down to the ground to enjoy the blooms on these plants as their flowers tend to nod. I love how perfect the stamens and anthers on this flower are. It’s the little details that make this plant a great addition to the winter garden.
These Hellebores were just beginning to open. There is a bit of freckling on the petals.
Seeing Rhododendrons in bloom surprised me. Most of them bloom in May here with a few having earlier bloom times. This Rhododendron stood at least ten feet high and was covered in pink flowers.
Rhododendron ledebourii is a small shrub covered in bright magenta flowers. Upon research I read this plant is one of the hardiest of the Rhododendrons. If a winter is mild enough it will bloom as early as Christmas.
I love seeing Primula in bloom. What I have noticed about Primula blooming amongst leaf mulch is the leaves look wonderful. Are the slugs not out and about yet or are the leaves keeping them away?
I walked through the perennial gardens but there is little growth yet. What struck me was how lovely this Bergenia was. I love the dark leaves of Bergenia Eroica. I will have to return in the spring to see the bright pink flowers against this incredible foliage.
Crocuses are mass planted in a bed of roses making this looks so natural.
Upon a closer look I spot a single clump of Narcissus in bloom.
The tree and shrub collection at VanDusen is extensive. This Garrya elliptica or silk tassel bush is in full bloom this week. Long tassels of cream coloured flowers cover this large shrub.
Here is a photo of its full size. I would say it’s about twelve feet high and would be a beautiful plant for the small garden. There are a lot of spring blooms everywhere in the lower mainland of BC. Our milder winter has plants emerging a bit earlier than normal. Its looking like an early spring is near.