Butchart Gardens - A Place to Add to Your Bucket List
If you arrive and stay in the Southern Harbor of Victoria BC it is worth it to take the half hour drive into the area to visit Butchart Gardens.
You will discover while you are there that the gardens are named after Jeannie Butchart who was tired of looking at the limestone quarry in her backyard and envisioned a transformation into a place of beauty.
Jeannie certainly realized this dream as today, if you were not told that there was a quarry or where the remnants of the plant were located – you would never notice or have any idea the history of the area.
Jeannie’s dream and vision was expanded after she transformed the pit from the quarry into a gorgeous sunken garden she moved on to create other themed garden areas and her posterity has continued the tradition of improving and preserving until the Butchart Gardens have become what it is today.
Your visit will start out pleasantly enough with the well organized parking system with marker reminders of where you are parked. You’ll walk past the Mediterranean Garden and think: That’s nice.
Then you’ll enter the plaza area where there is a cute gift shop and places to eat and you’ll see flowers, flora, and fauna expertly arranged everywhere you look. The path naturally takes you to the snail pond and up there is a little nook where you can cross a small stream and there are picnic tables for a meal or snack.
You can see a hedge as tall as the building with doors to pass through and an area that could be a maze. Anticipating this and many little similar nooks to explore, I was not prepared as I ducked down a tree covered path and saw a huge wooden squirrel and then turned the corner and beheld a magical oasis worthy of a movie set where they find the lost or hidden city.
The music in my head swelled as I took in the sunken garden. It was so spectacular I just about couldn’t take it all in and knew that we hadn’t planned enough time to fully explore. Doubling our planned time to stay, my teenagers took off to try and see a new path first and I was able to slowly drink in the incredible sights and little touches that were everywhere.
To realize that this dream oasis was once an ugly industrial cement quarry was breathtaking and made the vines and beauty all the more impressive. The design and way that everything complimented each other was unsurpassed. This is the gem and the heart of Butchart Gardens.
I could have stayed the whole time in the sunken gardens and dreamed that I could turn my own small, sorry plot of land at my home into something maybe not as famous, but hopefully as enjoyable. But I did eventually wander out and enjoy the other garden areas of Butchart Gardens.
Every once in a while you would see an unassuming worker who almost blended into their surroundings as they quietly and expertly tended to their charge. It would remind you of the work, care and attention that has gone into the gardens and suddenly the price of entrance seemed too small.
Following our map we procured at the entrance, we made sure we didn’t miss a single garden or fountain and even found our way down to the docks where the family would stow their boats while they visited and we sat and dreamed of leading such a peaceful idyllic life as Jeannie and her family.
The Japanese Garden had a delightful little bamboo fountain that would fill with water, and then crash down on the rocks to scare away creatures that may want to feed on the plants nearby. The other fountains were beautiful and aptly named.
We lingered through the hedge and cross pond and went back to the sunken garden for a last farewell. Not surprisingly all of my teenagers found me there. I worried when we planned this tour that they would be bored, want to go, and not feel the effort to go was worth it, but not a complaint and I was delighted to hear what they had discovered and liked.
After heading back to the secluded picnic tables for a snack before we headed home we once again passed the Mediterranean gardens with new eyes and new appreciation. Truthfully Butchart Gardens were the most spectacular gardens that I have seen and well worth the effort to visit. The pictures and videos truly don’t do it justice!