Stopping to Smell the Roses…

So after my first Whale Tour experience with Prince of Whales my next part of the tour was to go to visit Butchart Gardens.  This was such an awesome end to a fun day on the water. We arrived just after 5:30pm… it was time for dinner!

These gardens have been around for over 100 years! The history of the gardens is incredible, it is still privately owned by the family that created it.  If you want to know more about the gardens amazing history I’m going to direct you to their website….HERE.

I had made a new friend on the whale watching cruise. She was also visiting Victoria for work…but was from Ontario.  We ended up chatting on the boat, and then had the BEST hotdog dinner EVER… (seriously it was awesome hotdogs at the cart at the front of the park!) Then after we ate, we made our way around through the gardens.

The gardens were amazing.  Seriously, make this a ‘must’ stop/visit if you get to Victoria… it’s gorgeous.  Walking around the gardens, it was fun to recognize and be able to name some of the different types of flowers.  I suppose those springs I worked at the Greenhouse during my Uni Years paid off… someday I’ll have a house where I can actually plant some gardens, but in the meantime I’ll just enjoy other people’s gardens!

After living in a place without trees… you gain a new appreciation for them!  Butchart Gardens did not disappoint…
It’s a place where everything is thought out and carefully planned… tree stumps become the new home for ferns… and the tops of garbage cans become a flower garden! 

This was my first look at the Sunken Garden.  Jennie Butchart set out to beautify the old pit that was left after all of the limestone had been mined for her husband’s Portland cement plant. Slowly as the years have gone by… different parts have been added as gifts from different members of the family to celebrate different anniversary’s of the gardens.

The first photo is looking INTO the gardens…while the second photo is looking UP where I took the first photo.  (just to give you some perspective!

It was so magical to walk around… as the sun started to dip behind the hills! 

The blooms were fantastic!

The two photos are of the Ross Fountain. It was created and installed in 1964 for the Gardens 60th Anniversary by Ian Ross, grandson of the Butcharts.  The water rises about 21m providing fun show to watch… it changes to as it sprays! There is also a bucket of ‘limestone’ on display to remember the past of this quarry. After leaving the Sunken Garden… the next stop was to see Annabelle.  This horse stands just outside of the Children’s Pavilion and Rose Carousel.  It has 30 hand carved wooden animals and two chariots.  It costs only $2 for a ride… you know what that meant?

Once I saw that there was a giraffe… I had to go for a ride!  (Because you know Giraffes are my favourite animal ever…man I sound like a 3 year old!)

But then off to explore more of the gardens! There are some very rare trees that the gardens have… I just took a few photos of some of them… The tree on the right it is a bit ‘spikey’ but is known as a Monkey Puzzle or the Araucaria Araucana it can be found in Chile.  And the tree on the left is a Coast Redwood or Sequoia sempervirens, that was planted as a seedling in 1934!

 I just couldn’t get over the beauty of not only the blooms…but also the buds of some of the flowers.

Then there was the Rose Garden…it sits on the family’s former tennis courts!  All of the roses were labelled…and so pretty both visually and with their scent!

One of the wishing wells…that was off to the side in the Rose Gardens. 

Lilies have always been a favourite flower of mine… and the colours of this one was amazing!

Stopping to have some fun with this ‘mirror’ gazing ball… it was fun to play around with the distorted images you could create!  

Then we headed off to the Japanese Gardens.  (We had quickly walked through them on our way to the front gate, but we went back to enjoy the peaceful, calm… despite the children squealing happily as they wandered around on the paths.) This non-traditional garden was started in 1906… Jennie Butchart had the help from Isaburo Kishida a Japanese landscaper.

…just a few stepping stones through the pond!

…this is just a small ‘window’ cut into a ‘wall’ of trees.  I missed it at first, but my friend pointed it out!  (It’s always good to have a 2nd set of eyes… that sees something from a different point of view and shares them with you! Thank you! 🙂

Below is actually TWO photos… the one on the left is a closer view of the ‘peak-a-boo’ window on the right!

Here’s two shots of the Star Pond… one from each side!  

Another cool looking pink flower!

The top right photo is a look at the picnic grounds outside of the original Butchart Homestead. Bottom right is a view of the piazza outside of the home… and then on the left is a dress that was in the Seed & Gift Store Window.  It is made of napkins!

After visiting the Gift Shop… I parted ways with my friend.  I headed back to the Concert Lawn… for a special concert from Johnny Clegg.  It just happened to be the night that the Gardens was having a concert.  Tons of people brought their chairs, picnic blankets and coolers to join in the fun!

I had never heard of Johnny Clegg before that night…but it was an awesome experience.  I will have to add some of his stuff to my music collection.  He is from South Africa…and his bands started during apartheid when he had a multi-culutural band.  It was illegal for them to talk, play or perform in public… but they still worked around, (with some risks) in order to make music.  Hearing him speak, and share the background of the songs he was playing was an awesome experience.

One of the questions that kept rolling through my head was: At what age do we STOP dancing to awesome music?

Yes, there was some dancing happening.  Johnny invited us to dance from the opening song… so there was a group of people off to the right hand side of the stage and at the very back of the lawn that were dancing.  But the majority of people sat in their chairs or on their blankets and listened.  I thought it was so strange… this was music that just made you WANT to get your dance groove on.  I admit it at the start of the 3rd song… I had my position at the back of the lawn to get my groove on.

As I stood there I saw small glimpses of dance throughout the crowd.  There were little babies (just barely standing)…in the midst of their diaper booty dance groove… there were toddlers and preschool kids… all in the midst of dance.  Some school agers (mainly girls were also dancing… practicing ballet and other types of steps.) But the teens and 20s crowd… they seems to be sitting.

Why is it that we stop? With me at the back… I was one of the youngest dancers in the crowd… but it seems that this crowd had found their dancing steps and got their groove back!

Here’s a ‘glimpse’ of one of Johnny Clegg Band’s Concerts…

…did you get up and dance? I hope you did!

The concert was such an awesome surprise… and so much fun!  I caught my charter bus back to downtown Victoria.  I was tired…and arrived back at the Empress Hotel around 10:30pm… and it was all lit up to great me.

Just like I said the other day... I wanted to get some shots of the Legislature Buildings lit up, so I headed over to the front lawn.

From the front lawn… the dark spot on the left side of the photo was a HUGE tree that was blocking out the lights!

That my friends was the cherry on top to end another great day in Victoria.  If you want to do whale watching and check out the gardens.. the combined tour with Prince of Whales is awesome!  There were several different times of the shuttle buses to get you back to the city too! Another awesome thing about the Gardens is that during the summer they have firework displays every Saturday night in July and August!  These are both two great places to visit!

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3 thoughts on “Stopping to Smell the Roses…

  1. Keenan

    Flowers were super vibrant; LOVED the tree pics — I’m a tree lover…especially crazy tall West Coast varieties. ALSO enjoyed seeing the legislative buildings at night — kinda like Christmas in July 🙂 Bests!


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