Butchart Gardens, Victoria B.C.

This article describes what one can find at Butchart gardens in beautiful Vitorica, BC.

There are few places on earth that resemble what the Garden of Eden might have looked like. The Butchart Gardens is one such place. Located 21 kilometers north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the site is easily accessible from Highway 17 if arriving by ferry which docks at the Swartz Bay terminal.

The gardens themselves have an interesting history. In 1904, Robert Pim Butchart and his wife Jenny purchased the 130-acre property for its rich limestone deposits. Mr. Butchart was a manufacturer of Portland cement, and limestone was a key ingredient in this special mixture. Once the land was emptied of its special properties, Robert's wife Jenny envisioned on it a beautiful garden and set out filling in the pit with topsoil and began planting.

As the garden grew, so did the number of people who came to admire it. During the 1920's, an average of fifty thousand people a year strolled through the displays. Today, Butchart Gardens draws over a million people a year and provides more for the gardening enthusiast to see than just a few plantings of rare species.

The peak season, is of course, summer. But that doesn't mean that the gardens have nothing to offer the rest of the year. In late winter the landscape is sparse in color but rich in texture. Evergreens, conifers and shrubs provide a scene of muted browns, blues and greens. Spring comes alive with the explosion of more than 100,000 bulbs brightening the gardens and waking up the ground from its long winter's sleep.

Narcissus, daffodils, tulips, flowering fruit trees and shrubs welcome the early tourists. June brings the fragrant scent of roses to the air and the last two weeks of the month are reserved especially for them, showcasing some of the most beautiful varieties you'll ever see. July 1st is the start of a fireworks display that lights up the summer sky every Saturday until September 2nd. July and August are also the peak months at Butchart Gardens; everything grows together in perfect harmony providing a symphony of color, sights and smells. The fall months by no means slow down the activity in the Gardens. Bright oranges, reds and yellows surprise you with one more burst of energy until the Gardens prepare for a long winters sleep.

Butchart Gardens offers not only a feast for the eyes but for the palate as well. There are three main restaurants on the grounds as well as food kiosks placed near the busiest areas. The Dining Room restaurant, the largest of the three, is located in the original Butchart home and offers luncheon, afternoon tea or an elegant dinner.

Many think that the gates close when the sun goes down when in fact Butchart Gardens is even more magical in the dark. In summer, a colorful variety show called "Showtime!" lights up the stage from July 3rd to September 1st and in winter the gardens turn into a wonderland with colorful holiday light displays and carolers serenading visitors with everybody's favorites.

No visit to Butchart Gardens is complete without a stop at The Benvenuto Seed and Gift store where you can purchase the very same variety of plants that you see in the gardens.

Next time you visit Vancouver Island, British Columbia, stop in at Butchart Gardens. You may get a taste of what Eden was really like!

© High Speed Ventures 2011