The Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens - Victoria's Best Loved Garden
I love the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. If I could live anywhere in the world Victoria would be high on my shortlist. How I wish I were there in the warmth of a Vancouver Island Summer! I am not generally a very gardeny or flowery kind of person - generally I am more of a boat, forest, mountain kind of girl - but having entered the Butchart Gardens I was very loathe to leave. Had my camera not been digital, the processing would have cost a fortune.
Whenever I get to BC to visit with friends, Victoria is on my schedule and I have been back several times to visit! If you have the good fortune to visit British Columbia and Vancouver Island, this Garden is truly worth an hour or two of your time at least. For the time being though, here are some pictures of the Butchart Gardens that I hope you will enjoy!
Reclaiming the Limestone Quarry
The Sunken Garden
When I visited, I was interested to hear how the gardens were begun. The Butchart Gardens began when Canadian businessman Robert Pim Butchart began quarrying limestone and manufacturing Portland cement at Tod Inlet Vancouver Island in 1904.
He and his family established their home there. His wife Jennie was upset by the bleak pit left by the quarried limestone and set about reclaiming the land. She ordered topsoil from nearby farmers, had it brought in by horse and cart and lined the floor of the abandoned limestone quarry at Tod Inlet. This became the Sunken Garden.
Chimney Sentinel at the Butchart Gardens
Signals the End and a New Beginning
The Tod Inlet plant stopped manufacturing cement in 1916, but continued to make tiles and flower pots as late as 1950.
The only surviving portion of the cement factory is the tall chimney of a former kiln seen from the Lookout in the Sunken Garden. This lonely chimney now overlooks the reclaimed quarry.
The Butchart Gardens - Mementoes On Sale
The gardens have their own store, which can be accessed online too. Recently someone asked me about floating flower nightlights and I couldn't see those, so I searched a few here.
Now this is more like it. It is a solar powered floating lamp, so it draws on the sun for energy and you won't have to be forever changing batteries!
Watch the adverts for these, Some give the impression you are buying more than one. It is seven colours on one rose, not seven roses of different colours. Having said that, it is cheap enough to buy a set.
Butchart Gardens, Japanese Garden in Victoria BC
Stone, water, a traditional bridge and trees
We are working on a Japanese corner for our own little plot here in England, but nothing beats the real deal! Robert and Jennie celebrated their travels abroad by creating a Japanese Garden at the Butchart Gardens in 1908.
These solar powered lilies come in a variety of shades. I was taken with this purple one.
Other Gardens Created At The Butchart Gardens
Variety at the Butchart Gardens
Later they created an Italian Garden and replaced a vegetable patch with the Rose Garden in 1929.
Birds and Birdhouses at the Butchart Gardens
Gardens are for Birds too
Mr. Butchart enjoyed his wife's work and contributed by collecting ornamental birds from all over the world. He kept ducks, peacocks, and a parrot in the main house.
He also trained pigeons at the site of the present Begonia Bower. He was very proud of Jennie's work and built elaborate birdhouses throughout the gardens.
I Bought A Beautiful Hummingbird - Swarovski Crystal Hummingbirds
While I was at the Butchart Gardens I bought a beautiful crystal hummingbird for my Mum from the gift shop. It has since triggered an interest in Swarovski hummingbirds. The gift shop at the Gardens has a lovely selection, but if you can't get there, you might like to look at these.
Entrance-ing Butchart Gardens....
Blossoming Cherry trees greet visitors in the Spring
News of Mrs. Butchart's gardening spread. By the 1920s more than fifty thousand people came each year to see the gardens.
Their estate was christened "Benvenuto", Italian for "Welcome", and flowering cherry trees were purchased from Yokohama Nursery in Japan. These were planted from West Saanich Road to The Butchart Gardens' entrance. (This is not a cherry blossom from Victoria - sadly I missed that display!)
This would make a pretty gift for anyone who loves hummingbirds too!
Butchart Gardens - A Family Business
The Butchart family tradition
The Butchart Gardens is still a family business and a premier West Coast display garden, with an international reputation for its display of flowering plants all year round.
Close to a million people visit each year, and also over 1,000,000 bedding plants in 700 varieties ensure uninterrupted bloom from March through October. Entertainment and lighting displays are presented each summer and Christmas.
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Sculpture at the Burchart Gardens
Ian and Ann-Lee Ross purchased The Fountain of Three Sturgeons and the bronze boar in 1973. Pietro Tacca, created the marble statue of the Boar in 1620. It is displayed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
This rare bronze casting has a shiny snout form visitors giving it a rub for good luck! It is called Tacca after the original sculptor and is dedicated to the children and dogs who visit the Gardens!
If you have enjoyed this lens, been to the Gardens, or would like to see them, please leave a message here! Thank you!
© 2009 Lisa Marie Gabriel