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More Wonders of Butchart Gardens

Making It Grow Minute

  With new passports in hand, husband Edward and I crossed into Canada to visit Butchart Gardens – it was actually worth going through customs. My favorite thing (other than the Japanese garden) was meeting big leaf maples – Acer macrophyllum. This tree is native from dry southern California to the temperature moisture-laden Victoria Island, home of Butchart Gardens. The leaves were huge --- some a foot across – and - deeply lobed and there were large clusters of asaryas – those two-winged seed capsules. These trees also serve as a substrate for other plant growth -- In the moisture rich atmosphere of Victoria Island, some big leaf maples support epiphytes and lichens that can weigh four times more than the total mass of leaves – quite a load to carry, and can cause limbs to break off in rainy, windy storms.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.