Welcome to the Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre!

Founded in 1976, and relocated to the new Visitor Centre in 2011, the Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre is the largest public access botanical and horticultural library in western Canada.

The library’s collection focuses on gardening in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, and covers a wide range of topics including gardening techniques, selecting and growing ornamental plants, native floras from around the world, vegetable and herb gardening, pruning and training, North American ethnobotany, butterfly gardening, native plant gardening, flower arrangement, plant hunters, garden history, pests and diseases, garden design, gardens to visit, horticulture in urban environments, botany and plant ecology, plant conservation, literature in the garden, garden art, organic gardening, environmental science and much more.

The Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre’s valuable research collection complements the living resources of VanDusen Botanical Garden.

Browse through our Library Photo Gallery

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  • +General Information

    Using our Collection

    The Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre is open for research purposes to the general public without charge. Borrowing privileges are restricted to VanDusen Garden members.

    Books at the Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre are organized by subject – if you’re interested in roses, you will find all the books on roses in one place. Reference and lending books are shelved side-by-side. You can tell them apart because all circulating books have a green stripe on their spines, indicating that they can be borrowed (by Garden members). Books without a stripe are for reference only, and will always be available for research in the library.

    Note: the Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre is not part of the Vancouver Public Library system.

    Borrowing our Books

    Borrowing privileges are restricted to members of VanDusen Botanical Garden.

    Members can borrow a maximum of 2 books at a time for a loan period of two weeks. Circulating items may be renewed once by e-mail or phone (if they are not already overdue, and if no hold has been placed on them).
    Fines are charged for materials returned after the due date, and damaged or lost materials must be replaced or paid for by the subscriber.
    Materials can be returned to the Library during regular Library hours or at the Information Desk when the Library is closed.

    Library hours


    Tuesday                               9:00 am to 4:30 pm
    Wednesday to Friday     9:30 am to 4:00 pm
    Sunday                                 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm


    If you wish to direct a cash donation to the Library, to enhance the collection or donate to our Adopt-a-Shelf program please contact Gordon White, Development Director at 257-8190 or

    The Yosef Wosk Library and Learning Centre gratefully accepts donations towards new and gently used books for our collection and our used book sales.

    Contact Information

    General Information: 604-257-8668
    Fax: 604-257-8679

    Mailing Address

    Yosef Wosk Library and Reource Centre
    5251 Oak Street
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    V6M 4H1


    Marina Princz
    Tel. 604-257-8668


    Member of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (
    An international organization whose purpose is to initiate and improve communications among persons and institutions concerned with the development, maintenance and use of libraries of botanical and horticultural literature.

  • +Book of the Month

    Vancouver tree book : a living city field guide by Tracey, David. Vancouver, BC, Canada : Pure Wave Media, [2016]

    Call #: QK203 .B7 T73 2016
    1 copy ref.
    1 copy circ.


    Trees tell the story of a city, and Vancouver has one of the world’s greatest urban forests. Vancouver Tree Book is the key to a living laboratory unlike anywhere else on Earth.

    Slim enough to fit into a pocket yet filled with detailed descriptions and hundreds of colour images, this Living City Field Guide is designed for outdoor use. Bring it with you anywhere you go to discover the quiet giants living among us. Maps to 10 Tree Tour walks (including one in VanDusen Garden itself) will help you get going.

    More than 110 of Vancouver’s important species are profiled. Identification tips describe the size, shape, leaves, bark, flowers and more. Stories explain the history and culture behind the trees that define the city. Meant for all levels from enthusiastic beginner to professional arborist.

  • +Yosef Wosk Library & Resource Centre Book Club

    2016 VanDusen Book Club Reading List

    Are you a member? If so, come join our friendly group on the 4th Tuesday of month (except July, August and December) from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. in the Visitor Centre’s Volunteer Lounge.

    The Book Club has been meeting since 2008. Discussions focus on an eclectic variety of topics related to botany, horticulture and the natural world including gardening, gardens and gardeners, plant exploration, gardens in literature and art, ecological and environmental issues, natural history and more.

    For the months when a topic (rather than a single book) has been selected, members are asked to choose from among the suggested books or to find their own if no particular suggestions have been made.

    For a more detailed listing of the information below and to register, contact Marina Princz at or at 604-257-8668 or look at the Library page of the VanDusen website.


    January 26th
    Book: The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

    In this book, Elizabeth Kolbert describes traveling the world to document the mass extinction of species that seems to be unfolding before our eyes. There have been five comparable crises in the history of life on Earth, she writes, but this one is different: It’s being caused by us.

    Kolbert, a staff writer for the New Yorker, is also a contributor to National Geographic magazine, and her new book is informed by reporting she did for this magazine on the Anthropocene, or “the Age of Man,” ocean acidification, and captive breeding in zoos. She is drawn to gloomy subjects—her previous book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, was on climate change—but what’s exceptional about Kolbert’s writing is the combination of scientific rigor and wry humor that keeps you turning the pages.

    The author received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for the book in 2015.

    February 23th
    Topic/Book:  Reactions to the Canadian Landscape

    For this meeting, members are encouraged to go to the Vancouver Art Gallery to visit the exhibit entitled Embracing Canada: Landscapes from Krieghoff to the Group of Seven that runs from October 30, 2015 to January 24, 2016

    For our meeting, we will discuss the classic, Roughing it in The Bush: or, Forest Life in Canada by Susanna Moodie. It is an account of life as a Canadian settler by Susanna Moodie. Moodie immigrated to Upper Canada near modern-day Peterborough, Ontario during the 1830s. At the suggestion of her editor, she wrote a “guide” to settler life for British subjects considering coming to Canada. Roughing it in the Bush was first published in London in 1852 (then Toronto in 1871). It was Moodie’s most successful literary work. The work is part memoir, part novelization of her experiences, and is structured as a chronological series of sketches.

    This book is available online for free through the University of Pennsylvania and possibly other sources.

    March 22nd
    Topic: Anything by or about George Forrest

    George Forrest (1873–1932) was a Scottish botanist, who became one of the first explorers of China‘s then remote southwestern province of Yunnan, generally regarded as the most biodiverse province in the country.

    April 26th
    Topic: Gardening by numbers: the marketing of garden literature

    Titles with numbers such as 100 best, 50 ways, Seven flowers etc. are currently very popular. Have fun and explore where this marketing ploy takes you. A few suggested books include:

    Seven flowers and how they changed our world by Jennifer Potter (2014)

    Fifty plants that changed the course of history by Bill Laws (2010)

    50 ways to kill a slug by Sarah Ford (2003)

    100 flowers and how they got their names by Diana Wells (1997)

    Top 100 exotic food plants by Ernest Small (2012)

    100 best plants for the coastal garden : the botanical basics of great gardening by Steve Whysall (2005)

    May 24th
    Topic: The writings of gardener Margaret Roach.

    Readers can choose from Roach’s 3 books:

    The backyard parables: lessons on gardening, and life (2013)

    And I shall have some peace there: trading in the fast lane for my own dirt road (2011)

    A way to garden: a hands’ on primer for every season (1998)

    As well as her various blogs and journal articles.

    June 28th
    Topic: Anything by or about Gertrude Jekyll

    Gertrude Jekyll (1843 -1932) was an influential British horticulturistgarden designer, artist and writer. She created over 400 gardens in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, and wrote over 1,000 articles for magazines such as Country Life and William Robinson‘s The Garden. Jekyll has been described as “a premier influence in garden design” by English and American gardening enthusiasts.

    July and August

    September 27th
    Topic: BC Ethnobotany

    Anything goes, but with an emphasis on the works of Nancy Turner, an internationally-distinguished scholar and scientist who has devoted her life to documenting the endangered knowledge of First Nations. As a pioneer in ethnobiology, her more than 25 years of research have focused on the diverse interactions of First Peoples in British Columbia with the ecosystems they depended on and the critical role of plant resources for foods, medicines and materials. Her research will be seen as a most valuable compendium of aboriginal culture and plant lore in British Columbia.

    October 25th
    Book: Sissinghurst: A Garden Over Time by Adam Nicolson

    Sissinghurst is world famous as a place of beauty, a garden slipped into the ruins of an Elizabethan palace. But is it entirely what its creators intended?

    Adam Nicolson has uncovered remarkable new findings about its history as a medieval manor and on to the creation, by his grandparents Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, of a garden in a weed-strewn wreck.

    Alongside his recovery of the past, Adam Nicolson wanted something else: for the land at Sissinghurst to become the landscape of orchards, cattle and sheep he remembered from his boyhood. Could that living frame of a mixed farm be brought back? Against the odds, he was going to try.

    November 22nd
    Book: Alex & me: how a scientist and a parrot discovered a hidden world of animal intelligence and formed a deep bond in the process

    Alex & Me is the remarkable true story of an extraordinary relationship between psychologist Irene M. Pepperberg and Alex, an African Grey parrot who proved scientists and accepted wisdom wrong by demonstrating an astonishing ability to communicate and understand complex ideas. A New York Times bestseller and selected as one of the paper’s critic’s Top Ten Books of the Year, Alex & Me is much more that the story of an incredible scientific breakthrough. It’s a poignant love story and an affectionate remembrance of Pepperberg’s irascible, unforgettable, and always surprising best friend.


  • +Exhibitions in the Library

    Introducing the upcoming watercolour exhibition and art sale
    by Ann Hilton

    This exhibition will be on display from January 5 to March 31, 2017

    Please join the artist at opening reception Saturday, January 14th from 1-3 pm. Refreshments served.


    Ann focuses on nature as her subject matter, and represents it in a variety of expressive ways.  She believes that watercolour is an excellent medium for reflecting the wonders and mysteries of our world; it allows for the freedom of colours to mix and mingle in order to create wonderful scenarios that can be both exhilarating and relaxing.

    Ann’s parents always encouraged her in her artistic endeavours. As a child in France, she took lessons in oils from a French woman artist.  Since her retirement as a Professor at the School of Nursing at U.B.C., she has had more time to pursue her artistic interests.  Ann has taken many art and drawing courses with instructors including Alfonso Tejada, Homa Eftekhar, Alvaro Castagnet, Leslie Redhead, Bill Higginson, Alan Wylie, Caroline Buchanan and Barry Coombs. She did several plein air workshops with Barry Coombs in St. Miguel de Allende, Mexico and in the Cotswolds in England.  She has learned extensively from each and every teacher, and will continue to pursue the development of her art.

    Ann Hilton is a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, Artists in Our Midst, and the South Delta Artists Guild. Find her on line at or;

  • +New in the library

    The following is a selection of noteworthy books at our library on the topic of Sustainable Gardening:

    Tomorrow’s garden : design and inspiration for a new age of sustainable gardening by Stephen Orr. New York : Rodale, 2011.
    Call #: SB472.45 .O77 2011
    1 copy circ.


    Orr traveled the United States from coast to coast to find gardens both large and small that show how responsible gardeners are re-imaging the definition of a modern garden and addressing design, plant choice, water usage, materials, and more, in exciting, innovative, and often surprising ways.

    Bringing nature home : how native plants sustain wildlife in our gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy. Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2009.
    Call #: SB439 .T275 2009
    1 copy ref., 1 copy circ.


    The pressures on wildlife populations today are greater than they have ever been and many gardeners assume they can remedy this situation by simply planting a variety of flowering perennials, trees, and shrubs. As Douglas Tallamy points out in this revelatory book, that assumption is largely mistaken. Wild creatures exist in a complex web of interrelationships, and often require different kinds of food at different stages of their development. There is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife. When native plant species disappear, the insects disappear, thus impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. Fortunately, there is still time to reverse this alarming trend, and gardeners have the power to make a significant contribution toward sustainable biodiversity. By favoring native plants, gardeners can provide a welcoming environment for wildlife of all kinds. Healthy local ecosystems are not only beautiful and fascinating, they are also essential to human well-being. By heeding Douglas Tallamy’s eloquent arguments and acting upon his recommendations, gardeners everywhere can make a difference.

    The new American landscape : leading voices on the future of sustainable gardening

    by Christopher, Thomas. Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2011.
    Call #: SB319.95 .N49 2011
    1 copy circ.


    Gardeners are the front line of defense in our struggle to tackle the problems of global warming, loss of habitat, water shortages, and shrinking biodiversity. In The New American Landscape, author and editor Thomas Christopher brings together the best thinkers on the topic of gardening sustainably, and asks them to describe the future of the sustainable landscape. The discussion unfolds from there, and what results is a collective vision as eloquent as it is diverse.

    The New American Landscape offers designers a roadmap to a beautiful garden that improves, not degrades the environment. It’s a provocative manifesto about the important role gardens play in creating a more sustainable future that no professional garden designer can afford to miss.

    Shamanic gardening : timeless techniques for the modern sustainable garden by Melinda Joy Miller. Port Townsend, WA : Process Media, 2012.
    Call #: QK99 .A1 M384 2012
    1 copy circ.


    A shaman is one who walks in two worlds, one seen easily by everyone, another seen with the senses of the heart, deep recesses of the mind, and within the collective spiritual consciousness.

    Shamanic Gardening integrates sustainable ancient and traditional gardening methods with shamanic principles and modern permaculture. The practices, history, myths, recipes, and philosophies inside this book will enhance your relationship with nature, sustain the earth, delight your senses, and nourish your soul.

    This book teaches both simple and advanced techniques to garden with more awareness and effectiveness, using your inner senses. Learn to design an elegant, edible, sustainable landscape, plant for nutrition and beauty, grow healing herbs and aphrodisiacs, work with earth energies and color, extract flower essences, and much more.

    Food grown right, in your backyard : a beginner’s guide to growing crops at home by Colin McCrate. Seattle, WA : Skipstone, 2012.
    Call #: S494.5 .U72 M43 2012
    1 copy circ.


    This book provides an easy, inspiring introduction for first-timers who want to grow their own food while saving money and time. Written by the founders of the nationally recognized Seattle Urban Farm Company, this full color, beautifully photographed guide, they prove that anyone can develop a “green thumb,” as they show readers how to build a garden from the ground up, explaining general gardening basics and discussing the best types of crops to try.

    Stand up and garden by Moss-Sprague, Mary. Woodstock, VT : Countryman Press, c2012.
    Call #: SB463.5 .M68 2012
    1 copy circ.


    Focusing on containers, trellises, and raised beds, this book shows how everyone can garden, including those with physical limitations like arthritis or location limitations like apartment-dwellers without backyards.

  • +Preschool Storytime

    New at the Yosef Wosk Library & Resource Centre!

    Nature’s Stories for Young Children

    10:00 am to 10:30 am
    On the 4th Wednesday of each month from February until June 2017

    Appropriate for ages 3-5 years old
    Younger children welcome if quiet and engaged
    Free, although as space is limited,  please RSVP if planning to attend

    To RSVP or for more information, contact Marina Princz at 604-257-8668 or by email at