When last I posted, I was sitting at Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight to visit Seattle-A in – yes you guessed it – Seattle. A couple of busy weeks have elapsed since my return and I have finally sorted the photos and stories enough to warrant a ‘what I did’ post. Suffice to say that in ten days we did many things – weekend excursions, a girls night out, hanging out with the little dudes and considerably more ice cream consumption than I am used to (just as well I got a swim in!)
We also took a trip up to Canada to celebrate a certain person’s significant birthday last month so on a very rainy Tuesday morning (the only rain of my 10 day trip), we boarded the clipper and cruised north to the harbour city of Victoria.
We had decided to add a trip out to The Butchart Gardens to our clipper and hotel package and before we knew it, we were through immigration and on the bus for the 45 minute drive out to Saanich. Seattle-A was quite excited…
Jennie Butchart created her first project, the Sunken Garden, in the exhausted limestone quarry on the family’s property during the early 1900s. Between 1906 and 1929 she then went on to cultivate the Japanese Garden by the sea, the Italian Garden on the old tennis court and the Rose Garden. Today, the Gardens remain a family enterprise and are visited by more than 1 million people each year – with over 22 hectares of public gardens (on a 54 hectare property), I suspect there is probably plenty to keep them busy.
And so we spent a good couple of hours breathing in the fresh clean air and gaping at the extraordinary beauty that greeted us around every corner.
An advertised feature of the gardens are the tulips. They were absolutely everywhere and in every conceivable size and colour – this display was right at the beginning as we walked in.
We headed for the Sunken Garden first…I had a little chuckle to myself at the irony of going up to reach them.
The Sunken Garden was spectacular and the going up was definitely worth this view of it. Following the gently curving paths brought us face to face with all sorts of permutations of colourful foilage, fragrant blooms and calm stretches of water.
This was such a pretty display and having never seen these red and white striped flowers before, I had to a) take a photo and b) include them in this post. I do not know what they are…do your worst people.
Even though I had seen these before, they were just so pretty I had to take this photo. (I have also forgotten what these are called…green thumb I am not.)
We thought that these were roses but the curly petals lent a more unorthodox prettiness.
Daffodils are my favourite flower and while their bright yellow sunshine-iness is a big part of their usual appeal for me, I was struck by the simple delicacy of these pure white ones.
This water feature was at the far end of the Sunken Garden and quite spectacular. In posting this photo on Facebook to
announce brag about my travelling exploits, I received four different replies in quick succession from people who had been ‘here’ before (obviously a more famous ‘gardens’ than I had given them credit for). One of these was from Dad who posted the ‘same’ photo taken when visiting a few years ago.
Leaving the Sunken Garden, we headed up to the concert lawn…
Here’s Seattle-A demonstrating that inside every grown woman, there remains a little girl wanting a pony…
More tulips…especially for Lil Chicky.
This one is to prove that I was there too: the totem pole shows Eagle with Salmon, Orca, Bear with Salmon…and moi.
We were struck by how much these looked like Australian paperbarks. They are not Australian paperbarks – we asked – but for the life of me, I cannot remember what they were. Yet another horticultural #fail.
We were keen to see these Himalayan blue poppies as they only flower for about 6 weeks each year (and we had missed the ‘rose’ season…more on that next). There was a whoop of discovery upon finding a smattering of these bright blue blossoms.
This is the archway through the rose-less Rose Garden. Timing is everything – if you like roses.
Next it was down into the Japanese Garden…
There was some strange flora in this garden. This one was definitely one of the weirdest flowers I’ve ever seen (and which still remains a mystery)…
…and clearly there’s nothing like keeping oneself busy with a spot of
topiary, tree-shapery, pruning. Because 54 hectares is not enough…
Of the many amazing photos I managed to take, I think this one is my favourite – it looks so beautiful that it seems not real (but it definitely was!)
We came upon this in a back corner of the garden. I know. This looks like nothing special but if you look through this little window of nature…
…you’ll see the cove beyond it that backs onto the Butchart property.
We wandered out of this oriental lushness towards the main buildings again to be greeted by another expanse of tulips…
…and a raft of sunset-coloured roses.
Walking through the gap in the hedge, we found ourselves in the Italian Garden, the most formal and the smallest of the gardens we’d seen.
At this stage we’d been meandering in the fresh air for a couple of hours so we were delighted to be met with an opportunity for refreshment…
Benvenuto indeed! The Maple Walnut Gelato was delicious.
And with that, it was time to return to the bus for the
snooze ride back to Victoria and to our hotel where the view from our balcony turned out to be this…
And as we relaxed on the balcony at the end of our first day ‘abroad’, we sighed contentedly and wondered at the hardships we had been forced to face together…and planned 24 hours of foodie forays to keep us entertained for the remainder of our visit.
More(ish – see what I did there?) on this soon…but if you are venturing out BC way, make a note-to-self – The Butchart Gardens is a ‘must-see’.