Victoria is known for its beautiful gardens but there is none so admired as The Butchart Gardens. Each year over one million visitors visit these colorful year-round botanical gardens.
Like many people, I made the mistake of pronouncing the world-renowned gardens “Bouchard” rather than “Butch-art” Gardens. But however you pronounce the name, everyone can enjoy this stunning attraction. All you need to do is put on your walking shoes, pick up a map and flower guide, and enjoy a gentle stroll around the picture-postcard grounds. The main attractions include: the Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Star Pond, Italian Garden, Piazza, and Mediterranean Garden. You can easily spend the whole day here, as there is so much to see and such extensive grounds to explore.
The 55 acres of gardens are absolutely stunning! Whether you are an avid gardener or not, you will appreciate the beauty that the grounds exude. As I walked around, my senses were awoken by the beauty, stunning colors, aromas, textures, and sounds all around me.
Even nature needs some aesthetic maintenance; it takes a crew of 50 full-time gardeners and many hours of manual labor to keep the grounds in immaculate shape and design. It takes constant pruning, planting, weeding, raking, mowing and fertilizing.
There is something in store for the whole family throughout the year; you can experience each season in its full glory! In the spring, the garden buds with new life as bulbs bursts in vibrant colors. In the summer, visitors can even ernjoy open-air live entertainment during the evenings along with spectacular fireworks performed every Saturday night. In the fall the captivating Japanese maple trees transform from green to fiery red and brilliant yellow. You can enjoy a walk through the rustling fallen leaves. In the winter months as Christmas approaches, visitors sense magic of the season through the sparkling illuminations, shining from millions of festive lights sprinkled throughout the garden. In addition, families may enjoy a wholesome recreational skate on the out-door ice rink.
In 1904, Mr. Robert Butchart and his wife, Jennie, made their home in Tod Inlet on Vancouver Island. Robert, a successful cement manufacturer, was attracted to the location because of its rich limestone deposits. Once he had exhausted the deposits near their home, Mrs. Butchart came up with an idea to create a garden in the pit that remained. Her private gardens grew and began to attract the attention of admiring visitors. By 1920, the gardens had become so popular that they attracted up to 50,000 visitors each year. Today, millions of guests from around the world enjoy the Butcharts’ creativity and passion for beauty and the outdoors. The garden remains privately owned.
I experienced a different view of Butchart Gardens, a view from the water, as I cruised up the Tod Inlet on an eco-friendly electric boat. I felt as though I was in the wilderness as I saw tall trees, herons, seals and birds in their natural surroundings.
**Note: This boat trip is not included in the garden entrance admission and only operates during the summer months.
I imagine this is what the Garden of Eden would have been like, with a selection of animals added to the mix. I loved spending the day in the gardens. I relished the peace and quiet. I was mindful not to take anything for granted and soaked in my surroundings, admiring each variety of flower. I noticed I walked more slowly than usual as I examined the petals of the flowers, took the time to read their names and to ‘smell the roses’. The Butchart Gardens is like a piece of heaven on earth.
To sum up this adventure up in one word: CAPTIVATING.
800 Benvenuto Ave
Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Phone: 1 (888) 824-7313