VANCOUVER - It may be the start of a cool February, but the University of British Columbia's Botanical Garden is growing.

Interim UBC president Martha Piper says a $1.05-million gift from the Franklinia Foundation will nearly double the size of the 12-hectare Asian garden, within the botanical property.

The funding will be used to upgrade irrigation systems within the Asian garden over the next 30 years.

The gift will also be used to fund travel and research for horticulturalists, allowing them to gather new specimens and create an online database of plants in the collection.

The Asian garden is dedicated to the cultivation of temperate Asian wild plants and includes species from the Himalayas, Japan, Korea and China.

The Europe-based Franklinia Foundation was founded in 2005 and is especially focused on the conservation of threatened trees worldwide.