British Columbia

UBC Botanical Garden celebrates 100 years

The UBC Botanical Garden, which was started in 1916 by B.C.'s first provincial botanist, has a collection of approximately 120,000 plants collected from all around the world.

Collection of approximately 120,000 plants collected from all around the world can be seen at UBC

Tara Moreau is the associate director of sustainability and community programs at the UBC Botanical Garden. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

The UBC Botanical Garden is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a weekend full of activities among the thousands of plant species at one of Canada's oldest university botanical gardens.

"It's a little cove in this busy city," said Tara Moreau, the garden's associate director of sustainability and community programs.

The garden is celebrating its centennial June 17 to 19, which coincides with National Garden Days, a Canada-wide event that celebrates gardens across the country.

UBC Botanical Garden consists of a number of separate gardens including the 'Physic Garden'. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

Moreau said the UBC Botanical Garden was created in 1916 by John Davidson — B.C.'s first provincial botanist — so that the university could have plants and a herbarium for use in botany and biology classes.

"John Davidson was a native plant explorer. He was collecting and [identifying] plants and taking samples … to share with people around the world and to understand better the diversity of plants that B.C. has," she said

Plants from all over the world

The botanical garden now has a collection of approximately 120,000 plants that have been collected from all around the world.

The 'Food Garden', with the newly constructed Taylor Plaza in the background, which has been built as an "outdoor classroom" for UBC students. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

"There's been expeditions throughout the 100-year history of the botanical garden. Our Asian garden has got plants from China and Korea and Vietnam, and we continue to collect," Moreau said.

"Two of our staff were in Vietnam this last spring collecting plants and bringing them back here to grow.

Brandon Fisher takes care of the 'Food Garden' at the UBC Botanical Gardens. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

"The role of a botanical garden is really plant conservation, education, research, engagement, having people connect to nature, and really trying to be advocates for plants and to look deeply at plants and dream big about plants and their role in the planet and biodiversity."

Moreau said that the family-friendly weekend June 17-19 will feature a biodiversity scavenger hunt, as well as cake and cupcakes each day at noon.

"We're going to have community groups here talking about birds, bees, biodiversity and butterflies."

With files from CBC's The Early Edition and Margaret Gallagher

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Canada's oldest university botanical garden garden celebrates 100 years