Wednesday, June 2, 2010

If There is a Piece of Heaven on Earth it is HERE!!

Last month when we were in Seattle, Bruce and I had the opportunity to take a ferry, “The Victoria Clipper”, from Seattle up to Vancouver Island, BC, and stay in Victoria for a couple of days. While there, we visited many of the Cities beautiful sites but the highlight was the amazing Butchart Gardens (pro.-BOO –chart). I have been told by numerous friends and family that I needed to see them due to my love of gardening and we finally had the chance.

First off, I thought there wouldn’t be much to see in Canada in May, but this island has an amazing eco-system. Due to the fact that the island is cut in half by a huge mountain range, the southern part of the island has a Mediterranean climate. The northern half has a very cold and wet climate. Because of this distinction, everything was blooming and beautiful except the roses.

In 1904 Robert Butchart relocated his family to Vancouver Island where he had a limestone quarry for his business he started, the Portland Cement Company. Butchart Garden was started in the early part of the 20th century and was the idea of Jennie Butchart.

As Robert exhausted the quarry, Jennie had the vision of turning the pit into a beautiful garden. She brought in top soil and slowly the first section of what we see today was created. This spectacular part of the garden is called the “Sunken Garden” and it is breathtaking!
The Sunken Garden had paths to meander through, fountains, and ponds. Every direction you looked it was a feast for your eyes!

By 1908, reflecting on their travels, the Butchart’s next planted a Japanese Garden on the sea-side part of their property. Next came the Italian Garden with a star pond, and last, they created the Rose Garden.
Mr. Robert Butchart was so proud of his wife’s creation, and he collected ornamental birds that he put in the gardens, along with decorative bird houses. The family also started collecting various statues from their travels that have been added to the gardens over the years.

By the 1920’s, the word was spreading about the Garden and over 50,000 visitors came every year. Today, over a million visitors come to enjoy the Gardens. Each year over 1,000,000 bedding plants in some 700 varieties are used throughout the Gardens to ensure uninterrupted bloom from March through October.

Now they can enjoy not only the floral beauty, but the entertainment and lighting displays presented each summer and Christmas.

You can visit the Gardens anytime year round as they plant new plants each season. The Garden is still owned and run by the family as a private business. It is an amazing place, in a beautiful location. I recommend you visit as soon as possible!

It also hade the GREATEST gift shop EVER!!!  That is always a treat!


Tami Allred said...

We love the gardens.Went there as a kid with my grandparents then Anita, Scott and David went on our 20th anniversaries. So beautiful. That lady had vision.

Sweet Life Garden said...

You're right, this is how I picture heaven! I will definately put these gardens on my "to do" list.