Following Fall

2 October 2020 – Fall leads the way, and I follow.

Past a spray of gleaming leaves (magnolia is my guess) that guide me onto a path leading to the VanDusen Botanical Garden …

under the gleaming overhead ribs that guide me into the Visitor Centre …

and, tickets displayed to the masked attendant behind plexiglass, on through the Centre and out into the Garden with my friend.

We pause long enough to enjoy the mum dancing with her toddler by Livingstone Lake …

and then head into some woodland pathways, where we giggle at the white Doll’s Eyes (Baneberry, Actaea pachypoda) …

who are suitably shocked at the sight of all these Naked Ladies (Amaryllis belladona) stretched out in dishevelled languor.

“Red Maple” says the handy label on a tree next to Cypress Pond, and a tiny little red leaf obligingly displays itself on a mossy branch.

Decades of flaming fall colour in Ontario & Quebec leave me only mildly impressed by the foliage here — but I am wowed every time by the moss!

Also by the footbridge across Cypress Pond …

and, this time around, by the seasonal contrast of yellowing lily pads among the green.

A Bald Cypress at the far end of the bridge flaunts both its needles and its knees, the former due to fall off any day now but the latter there in delightful permanence.

I dance around for a bit over by Heron Lake, lining up a glimpse of fountain spray through the autumnal foliage …

but soon move on, to stand enchanted by the sight of yet more tree branches draped in moss.

We are both enchanted by what we see next: a profusion of this startling yellow flower (no identifying label, sorry), with numerous multi-hued, iridescent buds about to take their own turn centre-stage.

The Garden is also host to the annual Artists for Conservation Festival at the moment, so we pass some tents with relevant displays, like this one explaining a breeding program for the highly endangered Northern Spotted Owl. Squint hard enough & you’ll make out the owl on that female volunteer’s left wrist.

“Look like giant rose hips,” says my friend, eyeing this shrub as we head back along Livingstone Lake, and they do, don’t they?

Turns out to be Medlar (Mespilus germanica), not rose — a fall fruit that is ripe “when it turns to mush,” says the delightfully named Gardenista website. Also known, adds the website, as “cul-de-chien,” and if that doesn’t set you sniggering, it’s time to wish you spoke French.

Eastern Redbud leaves do their stained-glass-window impersonation when viewed against the sun …

and a helpful sign near the artists’ display tent teaches us yet another way to measure two metres of social distance.

Goodness, the things you learn. Two metres = 20 Ulysses butterflies = 1 Bald Eagle’s wingspan = 1 cougar, nose to tail tip. Also = six feet, but how boring is that?

One latte & much conversation later, I’m primed for a meandering walk home. It leads me through the neighbourhood where I saw all those swings a while back, but this time around, it yields a teddy bear.

Made of stone, but wearing his heart on his sleeve.

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13 Comments

  1. Excellent photos and charming commentary. I am indeed shocked by the baby’s eyes naked ladies (ツ)

    Reply
  2. Oh I loved this walk, thank you, have never seen white Doll’s Eyes before 😮 and I love moss, great pics 👌

    Reply
  3. Virginia Thomas

     /  2 October 2020

    Lovely photos Penny. Nice to follow along with your walks.

    Reply
  4. I love your photos. What a autumn walk. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Nancy Loviska

     /  3 October 2020

    Nice walk today! I specially love the eastern redbud photo. I pulled out my trusty Sunset Western garden book and found that the Naked Lady is actually a fall blooming crocus (C. kotschyanus?) Naked Lady has a much longer and stronger stem–I have a volunteer in my front planting area right now putting out some crazy looking seed pods.

    Reply
  6. What a pleasant stroll for an almost-autumn day. I smiled at the easter fall color versus northwest moss remark – I hear ya! And Nancy’s right – I hope there wasn’t a wrong label in that bed. But that happens. The gorgeous yellow flower is likely a dahlia. There’s a hybrid called ‘Mystic Illusion’ that looks like that – how do you like that for a name? 😉 The Medlar is interesting – that’s what’s so fun about botanical gardens (besides just the raw sensory experience). You always learn things. I’ve heard of that fruit but know nothing about it. I like your lily pads and Redbud leaves, and oh, that ribbed ceiling, that’s so cool! 😉

    Reply
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