A VISIT TO THE BEAUTIFUL BUTCHART GARDENS
Greetings from Victoria, British, Columbia, the final stop on our recent cruise to Alaska. Since our time was very limited (the ship docked at 5:00pm and sailed at 11:00pm) we decided to spend our time paying a visit to the beautiful Butchart Gardens.
The Butchart Gardens have been on my list of places to see for as long as I can remember. And I haven’t been alone in this desire, as these world-renowned gardens attract about 1 million visitors a year to their stunning landscapes. The gardens cover more than 55 acres of what was once a limestone quarry. Robert Pim Butchart, a pioneer in the thriving North American cement industry, was attracted to Canada’s west coast by its rich limestone deposits. In 1904, he developed a quarry and built a cement plant to satisfy the high demand for Portland Cement.
The Butcharts established their family home close to the quarry. But as the limestone deposits eventually became exhausted, Jennie, Robert Butchart’s enterprising wife, had an idea to create something of beauty in the gigantic, ugly pit. From farmland nearby she had tons of topsoil brought in by horse drawn cart and used it to line the floor of the abandoned quarry. Little by little the quarry blossomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden, which is the most iconic of the 6 themed gardens that dot the landscape.
Staircases like these deliver visitors to the bottom of the quarry pit where one can meander for hours along the property’s flower-lined paths.
Over a million bedding plants in some 900 varieties display their rainbow of colorful blooms, uninterrupted from March through October.
The beauty of the greens in every hue was also staggering. From lime green to sage to variegated greens, it was a sight to behold.
At the far end of the Sunken Garden is the Ross Fountain which sends water 70 feet in the air. It was installed in 1964 for the garden’s 60th anniversary in honor of Ian Ross, the Butchart’s grandson. Ian Ross inherited the gardens on his 21st birthday and for 50 years he was completely involved in its operation and development. He is credited with transforming what had become a neglected home and garden into the internationally famous destination it is today. Ownership of The Gardens remains within the Butchart family. The owner and managing director since 2001 is the Butcharts’ great-granddaughter, Robin-Lee Clarke.
The next stop on our visit to Butchart Gardens was the Rose Garden.
Rose laden arches lead to a wishing well made of Italian wrought iron.
Many varieties of Hybrid Tea Roses are marked with their name and country of origin.
Exiting the Rose Garden and making our way toward the Italian Garden it began to sprinkle, and of all days, I had not brought along an umbrella!
So, we quickly made our way to the “Dining Room Restaurant,” housed in what had once been the Butchart’s lovely private home.
We sat inside in this pretty dining room overlooking the Italian Garden.
I had read about The Garden’s famous British style, High Tea, and was so happy to get to indulge in this most wonderful afternoon repast.
After our Tea the rain had let up and we were able to explore the Italian Garden, which before 1926 had been a tennis court.
Entrance to the Italian Garden is by way of two ivy covered archways that leads to a bronze statue of Mercury.
Our time to return to the ship was drawing near so we began our walk back to the entrance of The Gardens. We could hear music wafting through the trees, as one of their weekly summer concerts was taking place. Passing by what is know as The Piazza, we visited the wild boar, purchased on a trip to the Mediterranean. He was cast in Florence by the Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry and is a replica of a 1620 bronze cast by Pietro Tacca. Thus the boar is called “Tacca” in honor of the sculptor and, just as the original’s, its snout is shiny from the many visitors rubbing it for luck.
Forgive me but in closing I just had to share this photo I couldn’t resist taking of these “Chinese triplets,” all decked out in red for their visit to The Gardens. They blended right in with the flowers.
The Butchart Gardens are open year round and I understand that they are beautifully peaceful in winter, and get all dressed up for Christmas. For more information about a visit to the Butchart Gardens visit their website by clicking here.
So there you have it: A VISIT TO THE BEAUTIFUL BUTCHART GARDENS
Thanks so much for dropping in!
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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.