The Butchart Gardens were begun as a way to reclaim the land after limestone mining had played out in the area. Robert Butchart mined the limestone to use in his business of manufacturing Portland cement. He and his wife, Jennie, made their home on Vancouver Island, BC, at the site of his limestone quarry. Jennie began the gardens with the "Sunken Gardens" in 1904. Today, the gardens encompass fifty-five acres.
Tuberous begonias with blooms as big as saucers lined the pathways in this zone 8a garden. The typical temperature in summer ranges from 72 - 79F. Winter ranges between 41 - 50F. The possibility of some frost or snow once or twice a winter are hazards that must be considered.
Tree peonies! I had never seen a peony other than in pictures until this garden tour. Now I understand the laments from my gardening friends transplanted to Florida from more northerly climates. Just beautiful.
Seeing the plants and flowers that flourish in other growing zones is always a joy. If we could all grow the same things they wouldn't be as special would they? A soft rain had fallen just before we began our walk through the gardens. Perfect light for viewing such beauty.
Just as I thought my eyes and brain might explode from so much blazing color, a cool woodland garden full of hostas and ferns afforded some restful scenery.
Around the next curve, a formal rose garden brought riotous color back on the scene. More peonies, delphiniums, and foxgloves stood as tall as I. These tall beauties bordered the hundreds of roses.
Jennie Butchart is memorialized in this rose. What a fitting tribute for this gardening lady. The rose garden was the only area that had identification markers for the plantings. The rest of the gardens were unmarked which disappointed me a bit until it was explained to me that the Butcharts want their visitors to feel at home, as if these were their own gardens.
The Japanese garden brought more restful scenery blending form and function. The graceful trees and winding pathways were just an accent to the lush foliage.
This koi pond invited each visitor to walk right through it via a flagstone path. The lady in the picture was not sure she wanted to venture across. It really was quite easy to navigate and she did eventually make the decision to walk across the stones. Her family cheered.
The Butchart Gardens remains a family run business that graciously opens its gates for visitors. Over fifty gardeners maintain the grounds year-round with an additional fifty gardeners added to the staff during the peak growing months. Doesn't being a gardener at Butchart Gardens sound like a great job?