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Get your flower fix at Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden

Please only travel when and where it’s safe, and follow all local guidelines. Also double-check what's open before your trip.

Can you smell it? Spring is in the air!

And Vancouver, British Columbia, is blooming right now with flowers.

(Jump to “What’s Blooming When?” below for the year-round bloom calendar.)

VanDusen Botanical Gardens

Daffodils and purple crocuses popped up in February.

March saw cherry trees bursting with pink and white blossoms.

Vancouver is pretty in pink when cherry blossoms bloom in March!
Vancouver is pretty in pink when cherry blossoms bloom in March!

Soon, tulips will show off their blood-red beauty.

And bluebells and colorful rhodos and azaleas will make you stop, look and smile – and feel that warm sense of joy knowing that summer is around the corner.

We love to see azaleas and rhodos bursting with color in spring!
We love to see azaleas and rhodos bursting with color in spring!

Because sometimes, when events in the world or at home get us down, we need to hang on to the bright and hopeful things, no matter how small.

Like… How good it feels to throw off winter’s shackles!

If you love beautiful gardens, then to really get your flower fix, visit VanDusen Botanical Garden, one of the prettiest and best gardens in Vancouver, BC.

The VanDusen Botanical Garden is one of the best places to visit in Vancouver in spring and summer.
The VanDusen Botanical Garden is one of the best places to visit in Vancouver in spring and summer

VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden
We love visiting the VanDusen Gardens in Vancouver whenever we can

Open year-round, the VanDusen Botanical Gardens encompass 55 acres of gardens, ponds, fountains and walking paths in the heart of Vancouver.

A former golf course, the garden opened in 1975 to the public and is jointly managed by the Vancouver Park Board and the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association.

A whole army of 1,200 non-gardening volunteers help.

Plants and flowers:

The VanDusen Botanical Garden features plants from all over the world.
The gardens feature plants from all over the world

You can see some 255,000 individual plants from around the world, including collections from tropical South Africa, the Himalayas and South America to Canada’s own Pacific Northwest region.

Cute tags explain the plants and flowering bushes, and there are lots of places for pretty Insta pics.

Children, especially, love the Elizabethan Maze. And don’t miss the fantastic monkey puzzle tree!

Kids of all ages (parents too!) love the maze at Vancouver's VanDusen Gardens
Kids of all ages (parents too!) love the maze at Vancouver’s VanDusen Gardens

On a sunny spring day, we smelled the sweet scent of soft pink rhodos. (Who knew some rhododendron varieties are scented!).

We tiptoed through (actually around) the tulips.

We learned about widow-maker trees that sprout 5.5 lb pine cones.

And we stuck our noses almost right inside carnivore pitcher plants (which capture flies).

Guided tours:

Free tours with trained volunteer docent guides are the best way to appreciate VanDusen Botanical Garden.

And, boy, did we luck out with having Malcolm Hunter as our guide!

An absolute fount of knowledge, he entranced us for over three hours. Perhaps when you visit, you’ll be equally lucky with the guide you get.

Visiting Victoria? Then don’t miss the top 5 Victoria, BC, gardens – read next!

What’s blooming when?

Spring:

The scent of magnolias is intoxicating, don’t you agree?

This is the time for camellias, cherry blossoms, striking pink magnolias, delicate trillium and so much more!

In May, the “Rhododendron Walk” is in full bloom.

Summer:

Smell the roses in summer and fall

Smell the roses and sweet peas, marvel at water lilies and enjoy the perennial gardens and hanging baskets from June to August.

Fall:

Gold, orange, red – the colors are vibrant in autumn

There are still plenty of blooms in fall.

But this time of year, you also witness the fiery colors of autumn, especially in October.

Winter:

Even in winter, you can find color in winter berries

Winter berries add small pops of color to winter textures like frozen hydrangea blooms and winter-flowering jasmine.

Visiting VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

Hours:

VanDusen is open 7 days a week, except for Christmas Day. Hours vary, depending on the month:

April – 9 am to 6 pm
May – 9 am to 7 pm
June to August – 9 am to 8 pm
September – 9 am to 6 pm
October – 10 am to 5 pm

Guided tours:

Between April and October, free guided tours are offered daily starting at 2:00 p.m. In the winter, guided tours are only available on Sundays at 2 p.m.

Admission:

October 1 to March 31 – $8.20 CAD
April 1 to September 30 – $11.50 CAD
Seniors and children pay less

Eat and drink:

The Shaughnessy Restaurant in the garden is lovely for lunch (and dinner). There’s also the Truffles Café if you want a casual afternoon tea or something light to eat.

Getting there:

If you don’t have a car, you can take the #17 bus from downtown (about a 40-minute bus ride).

More information:

See the garden’s website.

Other Vancouver gardens

If you love gardens, then you’ll also want to visit Queen Elizabeth Park, the UBC Botanical Garden and Stanley Park in Vancouver. (Maybe rent a bicycle to bike around Stanley Park?)

RelatedIn Kauai, you must visit the beautiful Allerton and McBryde Botanical Gardens


Photo credits: 3, 5, 6 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11 VanDusen Botanical Garden


Do you like visiting beautiful gardens?


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Maaike

Friday 19th of June 2015

VanDusen? That sounds like a Dutch name to me? What pretty photos! The photo of the owl is adorable (can I take him home? :)

Janice and George

Saturday 20th of June 2015

Yes, it is a Dutch name. The gardens were named after Whitford Julian VanDusen, a local lumber worker and philanthropist. It was a golf course, until he donated $1 million to help turn it into a garden, which opened in 1975.

Jenn Smith Nelson

Monday 25th of May 2015

Rediscovering your own back yard can be an incredible experience and you both certainly have an exceptional one to explore!

Janice and George

Monday 25th of May 2015

We do! And it's been a great spring in Vancouver :-). Summer will bring its own pleasures too - swimming, picnics, more bike riding. It's a great place to live :-).

Nancie

Sunday 17th of May 2015

It doesn't matter where I travel if there's a garden I'm there. I'm from Halifax and we have the Public Gardens, which are outstanding. I used to walk through them everyday when I worked downtown. It was always a great way to unwind after a busy day.

Muza-chan

Wednesday 6th of May 2015

Beautiful...

Laura

Wednesday 6th of May 2015

So many lovely flowers... and your shots of the birds are wonderful. Thanks. A great read... a great read indeed.

Janice and George

Wednesday 6th of May 2015

Thank you... Except we can't take credit for the bird shots :-). Those are courtesy of VanDusen Botanical Garden.