Continuing with my botanical theme lately, here’s another of the oft featured Nitobe memorial garden at UBC, in the middle of the summer.
Vancouver can be a bit of an alien place at times. Gazing across the water, I don’t know that any image better represents the combination of dense urbanity, maritime connection, and epic nature than this one does. With the last warm hues of sunlight reflecting from the water and the windows, the blues of the forest (and night) beyond begin to dominate.
In the quiet of Nitobe Memorial Garden, I was struck by the craftsmanship of this teahouse. Even the roof had such gorgeous structure, with the wood lit by ambient light reflected from the water and the foliage.
In the sylvan core of UBC’s (aptly named) Green College, a few random buildings hide with the trees. Some have pedestrian uses (literally—the building on the right is a stairwell), but others are more surreal: this little cottage is a shared-use kitchen. As the first rays of moonlight catch the scene, I can’t help but be reminded of some Tolkienesque elven fortress.
Outside Vancouver (the city) are the hillsides, dotted with homes and apartment buildings and, farther north, massive rocks. (That’s a pretty rare combination.) The difference between the soft, welcoming pink hues of the sunset and those massive hillsides (with some lovely evergreens in the foreground) is stranger, the more I think about it.
This picture also illustrates the biggest difference I’ve encountered since moving from the west coast to the east: the environments are less staggering and overwhelming, but the skies (and the buildings) are much more so. I’ve had to reorient the way I shoot to account for it.
While I’m on the trend of remembering summers past (and mourning the end of our own summer), I’m also going to reminisce about our trip to the University of British Columbia’s Nitobe Memorial Garden last summer. Look at that lushness. Foliage everywhere. And, as I like to joking call it, the “enormous bonsai tree” framing the soft scene.
There’s something magnificent about the views around Vancouver of the hills and the water. There’s something even more amazing about those same views around sunset when the sky just absolutely fills with color. For these reasons, among others, Vancouver’s got to be one of my favorite places on this planet.
That and if you walk around long enough you start to recognize locales featured in MacGyver.
In the already quiet and calming Nitobe Memorial Garden, this particular corner is the quietest and most calming of them all. At the back of the garden, where few other visitors go, is this tiny fenced-off area. Though this yard is actually adjacent to the ceremonial tea house, I much prefer imagining that an elderly couple lives here, and will be out to tend the garden shortly.
UBC’s Green College (shown here from another angle) is almost 100 years old, but when you’re inside it, the passage of time seems to stop. The heavy, wooden columns and beams seem to have been there forever. The trees are enormous, and enigmatic towers and cottages dot the interior, like the buildings of some alternate-reality castle.
This is the lovely entrance to the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia. Brendan previously showed you some views from farther inside, but there’s something about the entrance itself that is particularly lovely.
Part of my attraction must certainly be from all of the anime and manga I consumed as a teenager, but even when considered objectively, the garden is gorgeous. I first thought it a bit contradictory to imagine a serene place to be overwhelming, but that was just the experience when I walked into the Garden.
If you have never visited the Nitobe Memorial Garden on UBC’s campus you are really missing out. It is an authentic Japanese garden which is painstakingly maintained. Strolling through you get the feeling that not a single rock is out of place, and that ever leaf is placed precisely where it ought to be. It’s really the kind of place you could spend an entire afternoon walking through and enjoying.
Pictured here is one of the bridges, the so-called 77 Log Bridge. I fee like this shot really captures the tranquility of the garden, reflected in the stillness of the water.