Ready … Set …

5 February 2018 – And, already, the occasional “Go!” Nature is bursting out from the starting gate, here in Vancouver.

“The witch-hazels are in bloom,” says the ticket-taker, as we enter VanDusen Botanical Garden. “All over the place.”

Indeed they are.

Tawny golden tassels everywhere we look, taking pride of place even though we are in the Rhododendron Walk. Not a spectacular tree, once the leaves take over, but, oh, just look at those blooms.

So loveable. Perhaps because they are such an early harbinger of spring?

The rhodos are not going to take a back seat much longer. All around, big, healthy shrubs, laden with fat buds.

That lot, still closed. Others, much closer to open. This Rhododendron Ririei (Great Bell), for example:

And the smallest species we happen to notice, the Rhododendron ledebourii, in full bloom.

These last two examples are native to Russia’s Altai Mountains and to Mongolia respectively. That may explain their jump-start in Nature’s great spring race.

Then there are sights that have nothing to do with spring. They are just part of what makes Vancouver such a visually striking Rain City.

Moss on bare branches …

and Hart’s Tongue fern gleaming by a mossy rock, in the Fern Dell.

We pass the Maze, guarded from on high by its huge Monkey Puzzle tree …

and a great gnarl of tree boll in a copse.

Finally, as we cross the little zigzag bridge over Livingstone Lake, another mossy tree branch, this one hanging green-angled over its black reflection in the lake below.

Then it’s a peaceful downhill walk to Max’s Deli & Bakery at Oak St. & West 16th Avenue.

Where I have …

oh, go ahead, take a wild guess …

Of course.

Humans, Birds, Food

We already knew, didn’t we, not to feed wild birds? Or we are at least now willing to take the BC SPCA warning seriously?

I was sufficiently taken by that message on the Granville Island ferry dock to include it in my previous post.

What it doesn’t point out is that — along with protecting the birds from our food — we must sometimes protect our food from the birds.

Presumably the Vancouver Art Gallery café grew tired of patrons stomping back inside, muttering rude things about feathered thieves.



Leave a comment


  1. Blane Hogue

     /  5 February 2018

    Looking at these pictures from Calgary where it is minus 23 and a ton of snow, it’s hard to believe we are in the same country!

    • I’m as amazed as you are — this is my first Vcr winter, so the contrast with Toronto (let alone my own Calgary days) is still fresh

  2. so wonderful smiles from very fresh and white etown….oh i’m loving the green Penny ~ joy…no birds to be feed ok…good to know…i give ours some water…smiles ~ hedy

    • I’m sure even the SPCA approves of water for birds, and also they’re warning us against feeding birds that gather at human public gathering points, e.g. ferry docks — not sure they’d object to bird feeders… I also in Toronto put out water in a heated bowl in winter for the birds

  3. Lovely pics and you’re a woman after my own heart as we say . A nice coffee and cake after a walk is usually compulsory isn’t it??! Anita

  4. Now you have me longing for Spring! Alas, no signs of it here yet, and a snow/rain mix on the way for tomorrow again. I can’t wait to start seeing some color on my walks again.

    • Perhaps in a year or two I shall become more blasé about this mild winter weather with its early spring. Or perhaps (and I hope) I shall always be delighted anew…

  5. The blooming rhodie is amazing, but I suppose your explanation of its “provenance” is the reason. Witch hazel is blooming like crazy here, too, and I was almost knocked over by the heavy scent of one variety at a local botanical garden. Did you notice much scent?

  6. Mary C

     /  12 February 2018

    A little bit envious of your spring-like weather! Lots of snow and slush here…. And I bet that you aren’t missing it!


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