You'll have to pardon me if I'm mistaken in naming some of the plants here. And if you are able to enlighten me, please help me out! Having lived in zone 6 and colder for most of my adult life, I'm amazed at the range of plants that are not familiar to me!
On this visit to Vancouver, the perpetually green hedges drew me in. But what are they? Laurel, leylandii, thuya, hornbeam..? The local varieties of hedging plants I'm most accustomed in Ontario to are cedar, privet, yew and boxwood, although any number of other plants are used and would be hardy. My Dad (who failed to be the huge source of knowledge I remember from my childhood ;) ) didn't know either. To locals, they are ubiquitous and probably very, very ordinary. (I'm reminded of Thomas Hobbs, a Vancouver area garden writer who encourages the use outrageous colour in the garden in two books, Jewel Box Garden and Shocking Beauty -- a quest, it seemed to me, for the most extraordinary and obscure plants one could lay their hands on -- great fun maybe, but out of the reach of most of us. On a previous visit to Vanvouver, I was able to visit Southlands Nursery that Hobbs runs, and found it is chock full of gorgeous plants and design ideas and I readily admit I lusted after everything!)
Another couple of things that I found ubiquitous were English ivy and dead nettle (Lamium), which have both perhaps achieved the status of "pest" long ago. But I couldn't help enjoying them, carpeting the ground and draped high into the trees that surround the golf course a little east of my parents' home. I was able to do my run through those trees on soft paths surfaced with very finely chipped bark.