Several years ago I was fortunate to land in the West End of downtown Vancouver BC. My apartment is fairly spacious and I have a small view of the ocean which is heavenly - but it lacks a balcony on which to grow plants. This living in a big city is a new thing for me - I’ve always been a small-town gal with a picket-fence kind of mentality. I loved growing things. In fact if you had told me ten years ago I would be living in the heart of a big city I would have laughed and denied such a thing could be.
But here I was, having tested the waters in two other areas of the city and discovered an amazing thing about this Big City: It consisted of many small, wonderful community villages, as is common to all successful cities. As I settled in and began to explore my new village I discovered another amazing thing: Without contemplating or appreciating it, I now only had to step out my door to the biggest back yard anyone could imagine. And this back yard is maintained by a whole slew of gardeners just for me... or so it sometimes seems.
When I began this blog I was planning on writing only about the gardens of our famous Stanley Park, which is a mere couple of blocks from my door. At just over 1000 acres, Stanley Park is a wonderful garden indeed. On any given day one can meander through the glossy big-leaved unpretentious rhodo garden beside the pitch ‘n putt, past the natural gardens of Lost Lagoon made famous by Pauline Johnson an early Canadian First Nations poet, and on through the spectacularly manicured perennial beds and Rose Garden. From there one can continue on to pet the grande Mounted Police horses housed within the Park they patrol, peruse the garden of artwork in the painter’s corner, sit in solitude on a bench and read or branch out to any of the many other lawns and gardens throughout the Park.
The above is the short gist of the longer post I had outlined, the descriptive one where I waxed eloquent about the Park without all the hyperlinks. But it was a beautiful late-autumn sunny day here and I decided to take a break for a long walk and lunch with my daughter in the village of Yaletown. I began striding up the wide sidewalk of paving stones of my own leafy street, with its front gardens manicured by a continual variety of individual landscapers, past mini-gardens spilling out of roundabouts and through some sharp-pebbled paths of a neighbourhood park. After a great outdoor lunch shaded by ornamental trees, we headed for the water. It was the kind of sparkling blue ocean day when awareness just came naturally and as we strolled the long inlet sea wall pathway and appreciated the flowers, trees, lawns, water features and bushes along the way it occurred to me that Vancouver itself is one big garden.
I could not possibly list all the myriad of parks and gardens, nor the walkways, but I can tell you I have visited many of both and each one brings a new and unique, lovingly tended garden or two to admire.
This was affirmed by the palm trees and flower beds framing the laughing figure statues in the corner display at English Bay just short of the historic ivy-covered Sylvia Hotel where we turned up for the few steps to home. If this had been evening chances are we would have seen a skunk or two or a mama racoon and her brood strolling across the ambient-lighted boulevard and disappearing into a flower bed. Seems even the critters enjoy Vancouver’s gardens.
Causes Sharon Tillotson Supports
Leukemia Research Foundation of Canada
Kidney Foundation of Canada