Springing Forward and The Beautiful Butchart Gardens

We’re springing forward with the arrival of Daylight Saving Time, but falling back to winter with snow falling and freezing temperatures here in North Carolina. . . a rude awakening after a record warm February and weeks of balmy 70 degree days!

If you’re like me and prefer a dose of spring when springing forward, I’m taking you with me to see spring in bloom at The beautiful Butchart Gardens located near Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

I had to fall back into the archives of 2012, when I originally shared these photos so they will be new to some of you. If you’ve been around long enough to remember this post thank you,  and you’ll find I’ve added some new photos from our visit to The Gardens for some additional flower therapy and a dose of spring!

The Butchart Gardens were on the “not-to-be-missed” list when we took our first trip to visit the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver, accessible by float plane or a ferry ride away in Victoria.

If you have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it. . . even the trash cans are beautiful and blooming!

 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.

 Hope you’re springing forward with sunshine instead of snow-covered bulbs this morning!

Thank you for your visit!

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  42 comments for “Springing Forward and The Beautiful Butchart Gardens

  1. Vicky
    March 12, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for taking me back to Butchart Gardens!! What a treat. It brought back memories of my visit there several years ago. A visit to Butchart Gardens should be on everyone’s bucket list – flower lover or not – and believe me when I say 2 or 3 hours is not enough time to spend there!

  2. Shannon
    March 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Absolutely stunning photography!! Gorgeous gardens! Thank you for sharing! Have a wonderful Sunday!

  3. March 12, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Wow this is absolutely beautiful, thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Sandy McGUigan
    March 12, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Mary – thank you so much for sharing the marvelous photos of the Buchart Gardens. We were there about five years ago in summer. It was fabulous then, but springtime there must be something like the gardens of heaven. Your photos are just marvelous. Thanks again.

  5. March 12, 2017 at 8:25 am

    We got four inches of snow here, covering up my bulbs too. It stopped mid morning now, but the damage is done.

  6. Lynn Schantz
    March 12, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Oh my goodness Mary thank you for sharing, so much beauty in one spot. The man hours and people it takes to manage this area, absolutely breath taking. We are under a winter weather advisory 3-5 inches in southwestern lower Michigan. You and yours be safe in this crazy weather the nation is having.

  7. Marie Ervin
    March 12, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the B Gardens even though I’ve been to Victoria and Vancouver (vacationing with children and hubby who don’t necessarily have my gardening passion) so I so enjoyed visiting it vicariously through your lovely photos. Thanks for sharing. I’m on Lake Cherokee in TN but we didn’t get any of your snow (yet) and daffs are in full bloom. Tulips are coming up and peonies and daylilies are emerging from their winter naps as well. Redbuds are starting to open, then the dogwoods…can’t wait! I love these 4 seasons and DON’T miss California one bit.

  8. March 12, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Lovely…set me to daydreaming with my stack of seed catalogs.

  9. Alice
    March 12, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Needed a lift from the doldrums of Winter here in Colorado. Thanks for sharing and the Butchart Gardens are beautiful no matter the season you visit.

  10. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life
    March 12, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Oh my word, we were there years ago and it is absolutely breathtaking. Gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing.

  11. Theresa Keller
    March 12, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Beautiful pictures of gorgeous gardens, would love to visit. Thank you for sharing on this snowy Sunday 😉

  12. Ellen
    March 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

    This post has brightened my day immensely! It has been many years since I toured Butchart Gardens while visiting family in Vancouver. Your spectacular photos bring back many wonderful memories. Winter storm Reggie dropped only 4 inches of snow, but winter storm Stella is going to be much bigger the beginning of this week. My crocus were just starting to bloom and the other bulbs sprouting here in little R.I. Thank-you for this very lovely post and your always beautiful photos.

  13. March 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Such beautiful gardens. I love flowers, it would be nice to see this out my window but sure could not maintain this much! Was the last picture of your garden? We only got a dusting down here in Wlson NC. Thank you for these pictures, I will be looking at these often!

    • March 12, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Hi Nancy, Yes we got several inches before it stopped snowing this morning. The sun is out now so it’s melting but I’m worried about the next cold snap on Wednesday and Thursday this week when the temperature drops down in the twenties. Our snowball bush is covered with buds by the lake and it’s too difficult to cover to it where it sits by the shoreline. I’m hoping they’re wrong about the forecast!

  14. mjburlingame
    March 12, 2017 at 10:43 am

    The flowers are breathtaking. I visited Butchart Gardens for my 50th birthday but it was during the summer……a totally different floral display. I love all the spring flowers! How did you get so many pictures without people in the shots? Maybe it’s less crowded in the spring. 😊

    • March 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

      We visited on a drizzly and chilly April morning, it was the only day we had to visit. It turned out to be a great day to take photos with fewer people there and the colors of the gardens were more vibrant and saturated from the rain. 🌧🌷🌸🌹🌱☔️😀

  15. Janet Block
    March 12, 2017 at 10:52 am

    On a morning when it is well below freezing in single digits in Vermont this was such an eye treat! Thank you so much, putting a visit to theses gardens on my dream trips!

  16. March 12, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Amazing!!!! <3

  17. March 12, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Bummer about the snow Mary! Sounds like we’re in the path of the storm on Tuesday… I’m ready for warm weather and some of those beautiful flowers:@)

  18. Marion
    March 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Beautiful flowers.

  19. Joan
    March 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Those flowers are gorgeous.

  20. Marilyn
    March 12, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    What beautiful and colorful flowers.

  21. March 12, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Yes, crazy weather…we had snow this morning and how the sun is shining and the snow is gone!….Butchart Gardens is on my bucket list….Always wanted to go to Victoria….on my Top 10!! Gorgeous photos Mary!

  22. Barbara Harilaou
    March 12, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    What a beautiful picture display. The pictures you took are stunning thank you so much for sharing they really made my day beatiful.

  23. Ellen Stillabower
    March 12, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Beautiful beautiful!!! Your pictures are fantastic!!! Our snow comes Monday morning!!! Yuck!!!! Hurry, hurry Spring!!!!! 🌺💐🌼🌸🌻🦋☘️

  24. March 12, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Oh, Mary, what a FEAST for the eyes! Every single photo is just more remarkable than the one before – so gorgeous! I want to go there! We’re hoping to do a Pacific NW trip, and it may end up being this year. What month was this?So beautiful, and thanks for sharing.

    • March 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      You would love it Rita! We went to took a float plane over which was also fun and gave you a bird’s eye view. We around mid April and it was a overcast, drizzly day which made for great photos.

  25. Sheila Sexton
    March 12, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Enjoyed seeing the spring pictures, have only been there during summer and at Christmas which has a spectacular display. We live three hours up island from Victoria, so will have to do a spring visit. Your pictures do justice to the gardens, beautiful.

  26. March 12, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Mary, we visited Butchart Gardens last June and I was captivated by the beauty. Your pics are stunning, so much better than mine with all the people everywhere! Thanks so much for snaring how it looks in April!

  27. March 12, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    If I ever get the chance to go back to Butchart Gardens, I’d love to go in the Spring. Your photos are spectacular, Mary!! My late Beloved and I visited as an excursion from our cruise, and it was getting to be dusk, and hard to see everything. I’d also love to have tea at the Empress Hotel.

  28. AnnaC
    March 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    We went to the Gardens last summer. The roses were in full bloom and glorious! I would love to go back again and see all the spring flowers. They really don’t grow well here in So Cal, and I dearly love them. Thanks for the springtime tour. If you go, plan to spend most of the day. We also took the boat tour, and saw a lot of wildlife, including masses of jellyfish! I just loved all the different styles of gardens.

  29. Mildred Hoppe
    March 12, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Seeing these pictures of Butchart made me very happy. I’ve been there twice, but never in Spring. Oh my goodness,
    It is so breathtaking and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Cyndi Raines
    March 12, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    What a beautiful flower pageant! Did they ever say what they do with all of the bulbs they dig up? Do they sell to the public? It has turned cold here too and snow is in the forecast for the next couple of days. I’m thankful my spring flowers are only up about 1″. Had a very nice fire tonight and daydreamed about my spring projects! lol. This year I hope to take in the Tulip Festival in Holland, MI. They have acres of tulips also. Thanks for sharing and keeping our hopes up!

  31. Vikki
    March 13, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Thank you so much Mary for this magnificent trip to Butchart, which is by far my most loved garden. I’ve only been once but will never forget the beauty. Its the perfect size to accommodate one seeing all of the loveliness in one day. Vikki in VA

  32. March 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful garden. The views are spectacular! Tulips divine. What a gorgeous tour that has brightened my otherwise cold and dreary day.

  33. March 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    What a wonderful treat for this cold rainy day! Simply stunning, it must have been breathtaking in person! All I can say is wow, and thank you for re-sharing Mary!

  34. Chrystal
    March 14, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    So beautiful, I feel like this is what heaven look like.

  35. March 14, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous, thanks for revisiting it – just what I needed as it is snowing here!!

  36. March 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Beautiful gardens… so colorful and serene… y’all have more color than we do yet here in the Midwest. :) I love spring.

  37. March 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    A beautiful place, captured with grace and style by your lens, Mary. I am starved for color these days, as the cold snaps have left their mark all over my yard. I hope you miss our in-the-teens temps. Our flowering tulip tree was covered with pink blossoms one day, and the next, scorched and brown. I’m holding my breath about the hydrangeas, which make up 70% of the landscaping. I tried to cover what I could, but Mother Nature has the final word. xxoo

  38. jillian
    March 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Lovely photos of one of my favorite places. We have been twice, but never in spring. Tulips are my favorite…wish to be there right now! It is very warm, dry and windy here in Boulder. Hope we will still get some cool wet weather for spring, otherwise we could be in for summer fires.

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