Please note that Shop in the Garden is closed for the holidays and renovation.Â
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,Â UBC Botanical GardenÂ 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, itâ€™s difficult to know whatâ€™s going to be blooming from one week to the next. Some years, January weather closes in and snow makes the garden a wonderlandâ€”not much in bloomâ€”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. Itâ€™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 donâ€™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 Yearâ€™s resolution to enjoy us even more often.