Peaceful Japanese GardenView All Sizes
JOURNAL : August 25, 2010
While on our way back to Seattle we stopped for a day in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Without any set plans my family ambled about town and ended up missing the last bus to Butchart Gardens.
Not to lose an opportunity to see this world-class attraction I rented a moped and cruised the coast, eventually arriving at Butchart Gardens.
Although I've ridden motorcycles most of my life this was my first time on a moped. It's actually a very convenient way to get around.
From downtown Victoria take Blanshard Street north until it becomes the 17 highway. About 10 miles later take Keating Cross Road east for a few miles. Along the way is Victoria Butterfly Gardens, which is supposed to be pretty cool. Keating Cross becomes Benvenuto Avenue and ends at Butchart Gardens.
Butchart Gardens is a visual feast bordering on sensory strain. There are five main gardens, each with unique character and texture.
If driving in with your own vehicle the Mediterranean Garden is on the north side of the parking lot. The tour busses park just south of Waterwheel Square and this garden is out of the way. It's also rather small, consisting of a few benches, some fan palms, assorted flowering plants and what appeared to be banana trees. A nice place to rest before the drive back.
The Sunken GardenView All Sizes
One of the highlights of Butchart Gardens used to be an abandoned limestone quarry and cement factory. Jennie Butchart started planting Lombardy poplar trees in 1910 to hide the factory from view. To landscape this garden the quarry floor had to be drained and tons of topsoil brought in from neighboring farms. The Sunken Garden was completed in 1921.
The photo above is the first view one usually has of the Sunken Garden. It's quite a sight to behold.
Archway in the Rose GardenView All Sizes
The Rose GardenView All Sizes
Possibly conceived as the centerpiece of her immense floral collection, the stunning Rose Garden sits at almost the exact center of Butchart Gardens. Its carefully manicured oval lawn of rich green grass is surrounded by rambling, unruly rosebushes crowned with arguably the most sensuous of all flowers. If you stop and smell the roses you could induce olfactory overload. Head towards the Sturgeon Fountain and the Japanese Garden via a long corridor through a long plant-laden archway, or pergola.
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Enter through the bright red torii adjacent to the Sturgeon Fountain and directly down the main lawn from the restaurant. Imbued with its traditional Oriental aesthetic, the lovely Japanese Garden belies Butchart Gardens with its total lack of the brilliant floral arrangements on display everywhere else. By comparison it is quite peaceful. While the other gardens are partying, in the Japanese Garden it's time for quiet introspection.
Stream near the WalkwayView All Sizes
Butchart Cove from Japanese GardenView All Sizes
Adelaide Fontane Dahlia FlowerView All Sizes
Although I thoroughly enjoyed all the terrific colors and floral textures of Butchart Gardens, this was my favorite garden. The trickling streams, cool, shady areas, stone lantern sculptures, and lush foliage reminded me of jungles back home in Hawaii.
At the far end of the Japanese Garden is this porthole view of Butchart Cove.
Just up from the Japanese Garden is Star Pond and its frog fountain edged with red and pink annuals. Then, through a high hedge and two arched entrances is the Italian Garden.
If your eyeballs haven't exploded from their sockets from all of the flowers yet, this garden might do it. The style, design and color here are distinctly Mediterranean.
Italian GardenView All Sizes
About this day
August 25, 2010
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The Restaurant and LawnView All Sizes
If it's hot get some ice cream from the Gelateria in the adjacent building, which connects to the restaurant. The Italian Garden is adjacent to a broad grassy lawn.
Our visit to Butchart Gardens occurred near the end of a cruise through the Inside Passage and the day before we returned to the port of Seattle. That same day we returned to Alaska for fishing and further adventures. This colorful, intimate walkabout was a welcome hiatus from the cold drizzle and soaring grandeur of the North.
Rose Garden DetailsView All Sizes