David C. Lam Asian Garden

Only a few days after I gave a presentation to UBC’s Friends of the Garden where I included this image and explained that sun rays through fog were rare in the Garden, the phenomenon occurred again.

Like the linked image above, this is another example of the (I hope, subtle) use of tone mapping in order to bring the image close to what our eyes may see (and brains interpret) compared to the camera which cannot handle this range of light in a single exposure.

The woody vine in the photograph is a male plant of the fuzzy kiwifruit, or Actinidia deliciosa. It ascends along a trunk of our locally native western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). A female plant is nearby, and through the autumn and early winter, that plant becomes laden with fruits very much like one might find in the store. However, most of the fruits are produced at heights above 6m (20ft), and are impractical to harvest. Squirrels make attempts, though most often they just end up taking a few nibbles and then cleave the fruit from the tree. The fruit then rots on the ground below.

Back to the male: this particular plant has had a rough winter. Where it previously ascended about 15-18m (50-60 ft.), it has collapsed down to about that 6m mark. The hemlock trunk above has been denuded of branches with the descension of the tangled mass of the vine, while the pathway below has been inundated with dripping sap from injuries to the plant where the upward flow of sap has been broken.

This kiwiplant is part of one of the feature collections in our David C. Lam Asian Garden: woody climbers (lianas). In addition to Actinidia spp., other Garden plantings include Rosa spp., Lardizabalaceae, Clematis spp., and Vitis spp. One group that is now absent is Hedera spp. (the ivies), as one species is locally invasive. Any former Hedera plantings were removed about a decade ago, as a precaution against introducing another troublesome nonnative to local plant communities. The remaining woody vines are also monitored, however, as part of an aggressive vine management policy within the Garden. If (when) a liana becomes either too burdensome for the tree it is ascending or (much more rarely) seedlings are noticed, the vine is cut back to ground level and forced to regrow from the base. Today’s Actinidia deliciosa reveals that this is also occasionally more or less induced by the plant itself.

Actinidia deliciosa in David C. Lam Asian Garden

4 responses to “David C. Lam Asian Garden”

  1. SensuLato

    Daniel – awesome foto! Am going to try this technique. Out here in the Aleutians we get plenty of fog and misty lighting… thanks very much for posting this. Just beautiful.
    Any idea why this plant crashed? Weather? Wind? Age? It’s own weight and the Hemlock’s fragile branches? Creatures swinging from it (hahahaha). Just curious.
    Thanks again.

  2. Daniel Mosquin

    As to why the plant crashed: most lianas in the Garden are growing on our native second-growth conifers. We have no native vining plants in British Columbia that approach anywhere near the size of these woody vines, so our conifers are not adapted to bear the mass (among other things). I suspect it was wind as a trigger (which it often is for damage in the Garden here around March or November).
    Creatures often do swing from the lower thick-stemmed parts of the kiwi, though we do discourage it since they may trample nearby plantings with their little feet.

  3. Jerry

    This is one the best posts I have come come across in a long time.

  4. Kathleen Bell

    I love your emails and forward them to my mom and several other gardening members of my family. When I see that the David C. Lam Asian Garden is going to be featured, I know the post will be especially good. Sure wish I could go there sometime! Thanks for your excellent work!

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