As I have mentioned previously I recently embarked on a two week trip to Canada where I explored the gorgeous areas of Vancouver, Whistler and Banff National Park. We made sure to visit quite a few gardens while in Vancouver and Bloedel Conservatory was a real highlight.
It is in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park, a fantastic tourist attraction located at the highest point in the city, which I covered in detail in a previous piece highlighting the quality of Vancouver’s public parks.
Located a mere 10 minutes’ walk from where we were staying it was the first of the gardens we visited in Vancouver, and it was an absolute delight. Bloedel was relaxed, informal and not showy. You were given your own laminated hand-held guide talking you through the trees, plants and birds you’d see through the conservatory and left to wander and explore at your own pace. It was also relatively inexpensive, with entry priced at 6.50 CAD, which equates to £3.90.
Bloedel Conservatory superbly demonstrates a wealth of exotic plants and birds in a relatively small space, of a mere quarter of an acre. Its dome measures less than 50 metres in diameter and is 21 metres high and is a designated heritage building for Vancouver, as well as Canada’s largest single-structure conservatory. Its name comes from Prentice Bloedel, who put forward $1.4 million towards building the Conservatory and its surrounding plaza and fountains.
It may be small but packs a lot in for visitors, with more than 500 species of plants across three separate climatic zones of Tropical, Subtropical and Desert. Bloedel Conservatory is home to a number of exotic trees and palms over-looking a wealth of tropical ornamentals and colourful flowers.
Up high in the dome there is its collection of fig trees, palms and exotic fruit and spice trees such as banana (Musa), coffee (Coffea), coconut (Cocos) and vanilla. These trees are surrounded at ground level by the likes of hibiscus, jasmine and a variety of vivid orchids and bromeliads. There are also a large number of carnivorous plants (Sarracenia, Nepenthes and Drosera), cacti and succulents to capture the imagination.
It is a tapestry of rich colour sitting alongside a variety of greens provided by the huge leaves of the upper canopy. The flora on show is varied and extravagant, and so impressively put together in such a small space. Winding paths through the dome and across bridges over koi carp filled ponds take you on a wonderful forest adventure to transport you out of the city. In addition there are a range of free-flying birds throughout the conservatory as well as big and bright macaws and parrots to wonder at.
I would recommend Bloedel Conservatory as a must-see attraction if you are in Vancouver; the views across the city from the plaza outside the dome are amazing and worth seeing alone, but for such an inexpensive price you can really enjoy a trip to a tropical forest and enjoy a great range of exotic trees and plants.
Find out more about Bloedel Conservatory here.