VanDusen Gardens with Jake
Jake Sornsin is one of our Product Development Merchandisers at Classic Accessories. He takes great responsibility in proposing and researching new product ideas to take into development. Ultimately, it is a lot of research into category trends and popular items in the market that need to be protected. Jake has an eye for detail when defining the scope of projects before kicking it over to the Design team to create the idea and move it forward in our development process. Hefollows the project through the development cycle with the Design Team, our Packaging Art Team, and the Quality Control Team. And ensure that our objectives for the item are coming at the correct price for the consumer. Jake took his love of the outdoors to beautiful Vancouver, BC and shares a fun “walk through the park” with us at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens last weekend.
While not as famous as the Butchart Gardens we found the trip equally as beautiful and much easier to access because there is no need for a ferry.
VanDusen is a former golf course converted into a botanical garden in 1970. The 55 acres was converted into one of the most diverse collections of plant life in the world. The highlights of the trip were as follows:
This is my girlfriend, Georgina, and I at a lily pond at the start of our day. This section of the park features plants from the Eastern United States. We are big fans of the lily pads. We waited around but didn’t see any frogs, maybe next time.
I love totem poles because it’s such a creative, beautiful way to tell a story. The Gitksan people carved these totem poles. The one on the left tells the origin of the mosquitoes. The top is the chief of the blood-sucking mosquito people. Below him is the young woman who killed the Chief and saved her baby and husband (bottom). The pole on the right describes the origin of the Black Bear Crest of the Orca Clan. A man was transformed into a bear and lived among the bears (bottom, bear holding human face). When he returned to his people, a kind old healer helped him become human again (top, man holding the healer). The black bears remained friends with the man and would help him if he was in trouble, so he and his descendants took the bear as their crest. (I got this info from a plaque at the gardens).
The Butchart Gardens may be more traditional and feature more of a cohesive story but at VanDusen it is all about putting as much variety into the space as possible. This section of the park was like walking in a dreamlike prairie. It feels like a visual overload but I loved it. We tried to take Christmas card pictures here but it started to rain and it distorted the pictures and not in a good way.
This was my favorite tree at the park. It is a type of conifer found in Argentina and Chile called the Monkey Puzzle tree. These are its leaves, which are scale-like. The tree is incredible; it is considered a living fossil because they can live to be over 1300 years old! It got its name from one of the first Englishman who saw it who proclaimed that the tree would puzzle a monkey to climb. It is the national tree of Chile but is endangered because of loss of habitat, a rise in invasive species, and over harvesting of its seeds which are like larger pine nuts. Word of caution, these trees have very sharp leaves on them, great for pictures, not so kind to fingers!
Georgina’s mom has those orange flowers (center) in a garden at home. In her garden they grow more like a bush on the ground. We saw some of those as well but thought that this one was much more interesting growing as a tree. The willow in the background makes for a great backdrop.
This is a type of Japanese cedar. There is an section of them near a pretty pond full of lily pads. I took this picture from just inside the leaves on one side and marveled at the intricacy of this tree.
Here is an Elizabethan maze that is on the grounds taken from an observational terrace. Georgina’s mom went in ahead of us and we tried to go and scare her. She ended up getting out pretty quick and we were so busy trying to scare her that it took us a good 10 minutes to get out! This maze was no joke. Jake recommends visiting the Gardens any time of year! Plan your trip today to see the amazing Fall colors that are just around the corner! You’ll be glad you did.