Despite the rain, I’ve been taking advantage of a membership to VanDusen Botanical Garden that we picked up at the end of summer. The botanical garden as a concept is a neat way to reconnect with family trips to the Missouri Botanical Garden (looking it up just now I’m seeing that it gets five stars on yelp. how is a botanical garden going to wind up with fewer than five stars?) we used to visit often as kids. My parents are from St. Louis and both of them are plant nuts so there was plenty of, “look at that one” and “did you see the leaves here?” kind of discussions. Whether it’s watching someone with a gigantic camera lens take close up shots of some lily or succulent or seeing how many different household items you can print with birds and flowers, I seem to always find more than just plants to be interested by at places like this.
Autumn, well, late autumn isn’t perhaps the most exciting time for flower seekers at the garden but it has yet to disappoint. One of my favorite things VanDusen has running is a display of which plants are doing cool things on any given day in the garden. Outside the entrance they sets up shelves with cuttings from fifteen or so plants that are either blooming or going to interestingly shaped seeds or changing bark color and then point you to where you can find them in the garden. This week I saw the most peculiar little shrub called a Sand Coprosma which is part of the Southern Hemisphere display at the garden (it’s across the water from the grotto if you’re headed for a visit). Apparently they are a critical part of what’s called coastal foredunes and help to hold together fragile and sandy ecosystems.
I love the wildness of the twisty branches and the translucent blue berries that look a little like blueberries and a little like fish eggs.