A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Friday, September 05, 2008

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Last week Rosemary, girls (Lauren and Rebecca) and I decided to see what the new UBC Canopy walk was like. The folks at the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research (yes that's its official name) decided that the best kept secret in our city (a world class botanical garden) needed to be better known so that more visitors would turn the turnstiles. That is the goal of the canopy walk. A path up in the trees, all in lightweight aluminum and suspended by the trees and reinforced from the bottom in a way that all the metal allows the trees to grow without restraint, soars and for some who may notice, sway and swing a bit. If you are afraid of heights stay away. If you like excitement don't.

Rosemary felt shaky and Lauren was cautious for a few minutes. But as soon as she got her sky legs she was walking on the narrow pathways (looking down was especially thrilling) full of confidence as some of the rest of us.

But the best feature of this walkway is that it pulls you into the garden and once you are in it your eyes will open to all the wonders there.

Rebecca and I walked (on the ground now) and we touched and felt the leaves of the rhododendrons of the garden (one of the biggest in North America). Most had indumentum a felty undergrowth on the leaves, sometimes white or red or cinnamon coloured. This indumentum reminded us of the soft inside of a cat's ears. And to Rebecca's delight we found rhododendrons that not only had indumentum but tomentum (the indumentum equivalent on the top of the leaves). One in particular amazed us as it felt like stroaking a snake's skin.

the Canopy Walkway.


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