The Heat Is On

VanDusen Botanical Gardens

The gardens here are quite lovely.  (Just don`t compare them to Victoria`s Butchart Gardens.)

It`s hot, but the “natives” are calling it the best weather this season.  Most of the benches in the gardens are in the sun.  The docent said that people are usually fighting over those.

I had been blithely taking photos, not realizing that my camera was set on Night Shot, probably jiggled when I stuck it in my purse.  Dumb dumb dumb.

So I went through the first half of the garden a second time, just for the pictures.   (Needed a Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar and a bottle of water – more expensive than  “pop” – to trudge onward.)

Hadn`t known that water lilies pack up for the day.

There were three pre-teen girls beating the heat by wading in one of the streams below a waterfall.  Was tempted to join them.

I didn’t know that rhododendrons came in so many colors; I thought that their soil pH made them pink or pale blue.

If you have acid soil but prefer to grow a pink hydrangea, you can apply dolomite lime yearly. That “sweetens” the soil, turning it more alkaline, which reduces the plant’s ability to take up aluminum.

To blue up a hydrangea, add aluminum sulfate.  The sulfate turns the soil more acid, making it possible for the shrub to take up the aluminum.

I did not get into the maze.  Remembered the time when I got lost in a maze at Hampton Court and almost missed my boat back to London.

VanDusen Botanical Gardens used to be a golf course.  When you look at the swaths of lawn, you can see the fairways.

In 1910, this site was an isolated acreage of stumps and bush. It was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was leased by the Shaughnessy Golf Club from 1911 until 1960 when the golf club moved to a new location. The railway proposed a subdivision, but was opposed by many citizens. In 1966, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association was formed to assist the Vancouver Park Board with saving the site. This effort was successful and the land was purchased with shared funding from the City of Vancouver, the Government of British Columbia and the Vancouver Foundation with a donation by W. J. VanDusen, after whom the Garden was named.

Development started in 1971 and VanDusen Botanical Garden officially opened to the public on August 30, 1975.

The Japanese maples have great leaves, but from a distance, if they`re yellow, they look dead.

Surprisingly few insescts.

There were a number of sculptures in the garden. Most were stone, but at the Lath House on the Lower Great Lawn were curved wires strung with shirts: Growing Connections, a fabric art installation by Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen.

My favorites were the pitcher plants, but there were so many beautiful flowers, and the gardens, despite the temperature, were a lovely green.  What a pleasant contrast to the desert.

Vancouver Heat Wave

When I arrived here Monday afternoon, it was cool, as I had expected, with a high of 69°.  But it seemed Arizona`s heat was following me.

Tuesday, when we went to a World Cup party (see my next blog), given by a soccer friend of my son`s, it warmed up to 79°.

By Wednesday, the wrong day to go to the Botanical Gardens, the weather hit 91°!  Luckily, I stopped on the way to buy a small tube of sunscreen.  (You can tell by how white everyone is here – well, how white the white people are –  that they rarely see the sun.)  It was so hot, my clothes were soaked.

Thursday my son and I visited the Museum of Anthropology, and the temperature hit 93°! Luckily the museum was air-conditioned, but the bus there and back was not.  None of the buses are.  And only the top windows (6`high) open, so there was no breeze.

Friday, I gave up on jeans and donned shorts and a T-shirt (which I had packed only for bicycling).  But the heat wave was broken, and when I traveled to the Vancouver Aquarium the high only reached 84°, almost cool by Tucson standards.

Saturday we joined more friends at a backyard BBQ and it was positively balmy at 78°. What a lovely time, sitting on a blanket on a lawn eating Japadogs, a Vancouver special (in great demand during the Olympics).  These were served with nori, wasabi mayonnaise, hoisin sauce, grated cheese (!?), and basil (!?)

Today is forecast for 77° for the final World Cup party.

And Monday it`s supposed to be a chilly 70°.  Looking forward to that.

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