I had the good fortune to travel with my husband to Vancouver, British Columbia for a business conference~ our first trip enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and a chance to visit our neighbors to the north in Canada.
The Butchart Gardens were on the “not-to-be-missed” list, accessible by a float plane or a ferry ride away in Victoria.
If you have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it~ these photos don’t begin to do it justice!
Since our azaleas and bulbs are bloomed out at home, I was thrilled to experience a second spring this year! Not quite as thrilled to have a second dose of spring allergies though :)
Jennie Butchart began to shape this landscape into one of the world’s premier floral show gardens in 1904. In the style of the grand estates of the period, she established several distinct gardens to evoke a range of aesthetic experiences.
An abandoned limestone quarry was transformed into the dramatic Sunken Garden, a reflection of the early 20th-century beautification movement and an exceptional achievement in Canadian gardening history.
An even more amazing accomplishment & feat, when you consider that tons of top soil had to be brought in by horse and cart!
Through successive generations of the Butchart family, The Gardens have retained much of the original design, and continues the Victorian tradition of seasonally changing the outstanding floral displays.
Each year over 1,000,000 bedding plants in some 700 varieties are used throughout the gardens to ensure uninterrupted bloom from March through October.
Which translates into a small army of 50 gardeners digging up 300,000 bulbs, amending the soil, and planting the tens of thousands of annuals for the summer display.
Most of the bulbs won’t be used again, since they aren’t allow to mature properly before harvesting them, so visitors don’t see unsightly plants in their natural state of decline.
While this seems shocking, it makes for an almost instant and seamless transition of the seasons for visitors~ and also makes bulb growers in Holland very happy :)
By 1908, reflecting their world travels, the Butcharts had created a Japanese Garden on the sea-side of their home.
Later an Italian Garden was created on the site of their former tennis court, and a Rose Garden~ the only garden not in bloom on our visit~ replaced a large kitchen vegetable patch in 1929.
The public area of The Butchart Gardens covers 22ha (55 acres) with much more, for the most part, “off stage.”
Twenty-six greenhouses covering almost 2 acres, along with trial growing areas, a plant and a tree and shrub nursery help to keep The Gardens in prime viewing condition.
If I didn’t live almost 4000 miles away, I’d love to visit The Gardens during each of the five seasons~ Christmas considered the fifth~ with the lighting displays!