"The Great 70 Degree B.C. Getaway"

August 18, 2013 (Sunday) through August 24, 2013 (Saturday)

Escape our summer heat on a week-long tour of the lush landscapes and gardens of British Columbia.

Join Mark Weathington, assistant director and curator of collections, for an unforgettable trip to the Vancouver and Victoria regions of balmy British Columbia.

Enjoy average high temperatures of 70 degrees, cool nights, and long sunny days as you tour world famous gardens, botanical collections, and some of Canada's greatest green spaces.

Trip Highlights

Abkhazi Garden

Abkhazi Gardens

The Abkhazi Garden is an exquisite heritage home and garden located in Victoria, a city known for its wonderful gardens. Prince and Princess Abkhazi began creating their garden in 1946, the year they were married. The garden is very discreet from the street, with only hints of what exists beyond the hornbeam hedge. What the visitor does find is a garden that embraces a natural landscape that is unique to Victoria. The garden is blessed with dramatic glaciated rocky slopes, magnificent native Garry oaks and gorgeous vistas. The garden is designed to make the most of these remarkable features and it is the Abkhazis' response to their landscape that qualifies it as a stunning example of West Coast design. The garden flows around the rock, taking advantage of deeper pockets of soil for conifers, Japanese maples and rhododendrons which over the last 50 years have grown to an impressive maturity. Carpets of naturalized bulbs, choice alpines and woodland companions provide interest throughout the year to the discerning plantsman, but it is the overall design that leaves the greatest impression.

Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is one of downtown Victoria's crown jewels. The 200 acres was officially established as a park in 1882, after being set aside in 1858 by James Douglas, governor of Vancouver Island The park is beautifully landscaped and manicured with bridges, lakes and ponds, and an alpine and rock garden. It is home to numerous species of ducks, birds, and wildlife. The park boasts wondrous displays of exotic and native trees, including Garry oak, arbutus, Douglas fir, western red cedar, birch, willow, and maples.

The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens

When Robert and Jennie Butchart came to live at Tod Inlet on Vancouver Island they named their home Benvenuto—Italian for welcome. Starting with sweet pea seeds and a rose bush, Jennie began a lifelong project to create a garden. With great vision, she transformed the barren limestone quarry into a world famous garden with exquisite views, fanciful birdhouses, and stunning Japanese and Italian designs. Now 55 acres of breathtaking gardens on the 130 acre estate are visited by close to a million people each year. In 2004, during our 100th anniversary, The Butchart Gardens, still family owned, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The family's commitment to horticulture and hospitality continues to this day.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the first of its kind outside of China, is an authentic representation of an age—old garden tradition which reached its peak in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The garden is characteristic of the private spaces within a Ming scholar's residence. With its asymmetrical arrangement of rocks and plants, its winding paths and corridors, and the vistas that overlook its courtyards, the garden emulates the rhythms of nature. Vancouver 's Chinese Garden was built in 1985–1986 using the time honored principles and techniques of the original Ming dynasty garden. Fifty-two master craftsmen from Suzhou China, working with Canadian counterparts, completed this landscape masterpiece within a year. The intricate halls and walkways are constructed with precise joinery and without the use of nails, screws or glue.

The Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

The Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

Known by many as Glendale Gardens, the nine acres of spectacular demonstration gardens including the renowned Doris Page Winter Garden and the Takata Japanese Garden showcase over 10,000 varieties of plants, the majority of which are labeled. Thirty-four different areas are designed and planted to demonstrate landscaping techniques suitable for the Pacific Northwest.

Hatley Park National Historic Site (Hatley Gardens and Hatley Castle)

The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has designated Hatley Park a National Historic Site, as it is one of the few Edwardian estates in Canada with its key structural elements intact. This is also the home of Hatley Castle. The story of Hatley Park National Historic site of Canada, rechristened Royal Roads from the offshore anchorage in the Juan de Fuca Strait, has it beginnings in the singleness of purpose and dogged determination of one man, the Honourable James Dunsmuir. The site features hundreds of heritage trees significant for their size, rarity, and diversity, including 250-year-old Douglas firs that are among the largest in the area. The showpieces of the park are generally considered to be the formal gardens of which the Italian, rose, and Japanese gardens are the best known.

Queen Elizabeth Park and Bloedel Conservatory

The second most visited park in Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth Park, is a major draw for nature enthusiasts and view-seekers. Queen Elizabeth Park is Vancouver's "horticultural jewel" as it has some of the most beautiful and well maintained gardens in the world. It is also famous for being the highest point in Vancouver, which makes for spectacular views of the park, downtown Vancouver, and the mountains that line the North Shore. In addition, the stunning Bloedel Conservatory is located in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Vancouver's Bloedel Conservatory is a year-round, indoor, tropical garden in Queen Elizabeth Park. This "park within a park" is an enclosed triodetic dome filled with 500 different exotic plants, koi, and more than 100 free-flying birds. The Conservatory sits beside the beautiful Quarry Gardens and has a panoramic view of the city's skyline and mountain backdrop.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park

Designated a national historic site of Canada and Vancouver's first, largest, and most beloved urban park, Stanley Park is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the heavily built urban landscape of Vancouver. Explore the nearly 1,000-acre natural West Coast rainforest and enjoy scenic views of water, mountains, sky, and majestic trees along Stanley Park's famous Seawall. Discover miles of trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great eats, natural, cultural and historical landmarks, along with many other adventures. The park offers a wide range of unforgettable experiences for all ages and interests.

University of British Columbia Botanical Garden

University of British Columbia Botanical Garden

Nitobe Memorial Garden

One of the leading research institutes in North America, the garden is particularly noted for its vast, mature Asian collection which is perhaps the largest on the continent. Several other splendid gardens from the British Columbia Rainforest Garden to the Alpine Garden to the Nitobe Memorial Garden are delightful in midsummer; and the unique Greenheart Canopy Walkway puts visitors literally in the treetops.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden

This spectacular 55-acre garden in the heart of Vancouver has matured into a botanical garden of international stature since opening to the public in 1975. The mild Vancouver climate allows the cultivation of an outstanding plant collection which is a delight any time of the year. VanDusen's collection includes 11,500 accessioned plants representing more than 7,300 taxa and 255,000 individual plants from around the world. Their plant collections represent ecosystems that range from tropical South Africa, to the Himalayas, to the South America and the Mediterranean, across Canada's Boreal forests and Great Plains to plants native to our own Pacific Northwest. Their garden design features plant displays in picturesque landscapes set amidst rolling lawns, tranquil lakes, and dramatic rockwork with vistas of the mountains and Vancouver cityscape.

The descriptions and photographs above are courtesy the respective gardens unless otherwise noted. The photograph of Stanely Park is courtesy the City of Vancouver.


Sunday, August 18

  • Depart from Raleigh (morning)
  • Arrive in Vancouver (noon)
  • Nature sites north of Vancouver

Monday, August 19

Tuesday, August 20

Wednesday, August 21

  • Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria
  • Nature sites on Vancouver Island

Thursday, August 22

Friday, August 23

Saturday, August 24

  • Depart from Victoria (morning)
  • Arrive in Raleigh (late evening)

Important Dates

Sunday, May 19 – If possible, please let us know if you're interested in going with us to British Columbia. Our nonrefundable airfare deposit is due on May 20.

Tuesday, June 18 – Deposit due

Friday, July 19 - Full payment is due

$2,400 for members, $2,450 for nonmembers per person, based on double occupancy; $2,950 for members, $3,000 for nonmembers per person, based on single occupancy. Nonmember prices include an Individual membership. Price includes airfare (Air Canada) from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, lodging (Best Western Plus Downtown Vancouver and Days Inn Victoria on the Harbour), transportation in British Columbia, breakfast, one dinner in Chinatown, and admissions. Participants wishing to use their own transportation to British Columbia may subtract $880 from the price. The price is guaranteed through June 18, 2013. After this date, it may change based on the cost of adding additional seats to our Air Canada group rate.
Contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or to register. A $400 deposit is due on June 18. Full payment is due on July 19.
Registered participants may cancel on or before June 17, 2013, with a complete refund. Cancellations made June 18 through July 18, 2013, will incur a $200 cancellation fee. No refunds will be made after July 18, 2013.
Numerous destinations in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Tour departs from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
The Raleigh-Durham International Airport is located at 2400 John Brantley Boulevard in Morrisville, North Carolina.
Overnight parking is available at RDU and in nearby parking facilities.
Contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or for more information.