A Visit to Butchart Gardens

Last week I took a quick trip down to the city (Victoria) with my daughter to visit family and get some retail therapy.  We spent some quality time with the rellies, saw the final Harry Potter flick in 3D, and wedged in an evening at Butchart Gardens.

The sunken garden

I grew up on the Saanich peninsula, a stones’ throw from these world-famous gardens, and have visited them many times over the years.  It’s always a treat, and I never have enough time to peruse everything as thoroughly as I’d like.

When I was a teenager, several of my friends worked at Butchart Gardens.  I’m not really sure why I didn’t, my horticultural obsession was well established by that age, but I was busy earning money and learning to cook at a local home-cooking style restaurant, the now defunct Country Kitchen.

My friends got a number of free passes each season, and we often went to the gardens on a Saturday evening during summer, to take in the weekly fireworks display.  Of course I was the only one stopping to admire the plants, and rattling off botanical names, much to the amusement of my buddies.

The Italian garden

The gardens haven’t changed much over the years, the layout is essentially the same, and the mature plantings are spectacular – there are few gardens as venerable in this part of the world.

Butchart Gardens definitely harkens back to another age, and the design seems to me rather quaint, but still lovely.  I could spend hours in the rose garden, checking out varieties that I am familiar with as well as those I don’t know.

Sexy Rexy - one of my favourites

The lath house hung with voluptuous baskets of begonias and fuschias glows with colour, and the view of the sunken garden from atop the big rock is 360 degrees of spectacular.

Orange begonia in the lath house

View from the top of the rock

I think my favourite part is the Japanese garden; it’s such a departure from the exuberance found elsewhere.  As you pass between two enormous purple beech trees at the entrance to the Japanese garden, a sense of calm washes over you, and each turn reveals a new tableau.  Mosses and ferns, architecturally interesting trees and several different water features induce a meditative state.  Someone should do a study to discover the effects of a Japanese garden on hypertension!

Acer shirasawanum 'aureum' Full Moon Maple

Waterlilies in the Japanese garden

View at the bottom of the Japanese garden

All too soon, dusk fell, and then dark.  The night lighting at Butchart Gardens is beautiful, but I really wanted more time to look at the plants!  It was a good visit though, and nice to spend time with my Mom, sister and daughter in such gorgeous surroundings.

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About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
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4 Responses to A Visit to Butchart Gardens

  1. Beautiful…love the Full Moon maple shot!!

  2. I’ve run across this garden online and want to visit. Hopefully my husband and I will make a trip out that way some day and I will see it. Your pictures are great and make me want to go all the more!

  3. Pingback: Back in the Saddle « Treasures of Life

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