Rhododendrons in January: UBC Botanical Gardens

Shop in the Garden – Holiday Closure
Please note that Shop in the Garden is closed for the holidays and renovation. 
We will reopen in mid-January, with a reinvigorated Shop for your shopping pleasure.
For more information on Shop in the Garden, click here.
Become a Member
Visit us all year long, and take advantage of discounts on our courses and lectures.
Get 10% off at the Shop in the Garden and Plant Centre when you present your membership card. You can buy or renew your membership in person, or online on our website. Thank you for your support.
Not sure if your membership has expired? Give us a call at 604.822.4208.
About the Garden

Established in 1916, UBC Botanical Garden curates a collection of ca. 12,000 plants, representing approximately 8,000 taxa from temperate regions around the world. The Greenheart Canopy Walkway offers an umparalleled aerial view of the west coast forest canopy ecosystem 15 metres above ground.
January, being January, it’s difficult to know what’s going to be blooming from one week to the next. Some years, January weather closes in and snow makes the garden a wonderland—not much in bloom—but beautiful nevertheless. January weather can also be comfortably benign, with mild winds off the ocean and only an occasional brush with frost.
Many times, we see early rhododendrons open their buds in January. It’s usually a very tentative opening when it happens, but if we get a stretch of mild weather, the Chinese Rhododendron rirei, with its beautiful mauve-purple blooms crowning 4 to 5 m tall shrubs, is usually open soon after the New Year. Not long after that, the white Dahurian azalea (R. dauricum f. album) from northeast Asia and the similar, but evergreen Korean azalea (R. mucronulatum), which has bright violet-purple flowers, open their sizable blooms.
Even more reliable for flowers in January are the Asian boxwood relatives known as sweet box (Sarcococca confusa) and Christmas box (S. hookeriana). These small broadleaf evergreens don’t look much like boxwood, nor smell like them either. The sarcococcas are known for the intensely sweet fragrance of their little white winter-borne flowers. While the flowers might not even be visible, visitors are always aware that these plants are in bloom.
Finally, the backbone of winter-flowering shrubs in local gardens has to be ericaceous (Rhododendron family) plants. Rhododendrons have already been mentioned, but several related genera commonly produce flowers in January. These include a number of European natives such as the heaths (Erica species) and strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo). In very mild weather, dusty zenobia (Zenobia pulverulenta), a small shrub from the southeastern US, and cultivars of the Japanese andromeda shrub (Pieris japonica) favour us with their blooms. Both have drooping clusters of honey-scented, bell-shaped flowers.
The Garden holds all kinds of surprises for visitors, whatever the weather, so consider a New Year’s resolution to enjoy us even more often.
For winter garden photos, check out our Flickr page.
Tree chipping fundraiser benefitting Thunderbird Elementary School
December 26, 2012 – January 9, 2013
9:30 am – 4:30 pm
$5 Suggested Donation
Please drop trees off at UBC Botanical Garden. They will be chipped into mulch and used on garden trails.
Please remove decorations, including tinsel. No yard trimmings – invasive plants from other areas can harm the Garden.
Proceeds support Thunderbird Elementary School’s food garden expansion* to add a three-bin cedar composter and small orchard garden. This food garden is a SPEC School Garden Project. spec.bc.ca
Tree chipping is generously supported by UBC Plant Operations.
Questions? Visit our website or call 604.822.3928.
*Funds may be used for other school garden purposes as needed.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
UBC Botanical Garden Reception Centre
Free

Join our Curator of Collections for a talk on what are the best trees to grow in Vancouver.

Pruning Class
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
UBC Botanical Garden Reception Centre
$45 public, $35 garden members & UBC students
A blend of classroom and field discussion with hands on learning of the basics of pruning.
Drawing Nature Class
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
UBC Botanical Garden Reception Centre
$100 public, $90 garden members & UBC students
This one day class we will cover basic drawing techniques and how a limited number of watercolours can create a wonderfully full palette!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
UBC Botanical Garden Reception Centre
Free
Join our Curator of Collections for a talk on how complexity and biodiversity make gardens more resilient.
Urban Organic Gardening Class
Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
UBC Botanical Garden Reception Centre
$60 public, $50 garden members & UBC students
Are you an urban gardener? Join Linda Gilkeson for a class focussed on intensive food production in small spaces.
Espalier Class – June 7
Friday, June 7, 2013, 12:00 – 3:00 pm
UBC Botanical Garden Reception Centre
$45 public, $35 garden members & UBC students
Espalier is a pruning technique of training fruit trees into interesting shapes. Learn the basics with Brendan Fisher, our food garden horticulturist.

Espalier Class – June 14
Friday, June 14, 2013, 12:00 – 3:00 pm
UBC Botanical Garden Reception Centre
$45 public, $35 garden members & UBC students

Espalier is a pruning technique of training fruit trees into interesting shapes. Learn the basics with Brendan Fisher, our food garden horticulturist.
For more information on our courses and lectures, please click here.
6804 SW Marine Drive | Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 CA
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