I’m very glad I woke up very early to high tail it to the gardens. I left airbnb at 9am. By the time I got to the gardens it was 10:30am and there was tour buses and other groups arriving as well. I don’t like crowds very much, but for some reason, I was pretty calm in this place. Unfortunately, I didn’t check my battery level in my camera the night before so I ended up having one bar of battery life left for my garden trip. I was surprised how long it lasted me. The camera lasted two hours before dying on me completely. Luckily, I finished my trip around the gardens so I didn’t miss out on any shots. I wasn’t too worried though because I knew I still had my phone camera and an external battery pack with me.
Butchart Gardens is a private run location. The family who owns the gardens has tried many times to give it to the city of Victoria, but they didn’t want it. It was said that the city claimed it had more value with the family than the city. The entrance fee to Butchart Gardens wasn’t too bad. It was around 35 dollars an adult and afterwards they give you a map, booklet of flower information so you can find flowers you are interested in or attempt to look up flowers you find. They give you a hand stamp so you can come back to the gardens in the evening where they host live music and events. Oh! They have fireworks as well, but I wasn’t interested in staying until the evening or coming back for that matter.
Despite being given a flower identification booklet, I still couldn’t identify a photo of some berries I took so I went to the Flower Identification building to get it identified. To my surprise, they had no idea what the berries were off the bat. They were pretty intrigued on what the berries were as well, but they needed time to figure out what they were so they sent me to explore some more before checking in. By the time I came back they had found out what the mysterious berries were. They were honeysuckles. :D
Sunken Garden was my first pit stop apparently it was an old limestone quarry and the very start of Butchart Gardens. Jennie Butchart started planting flowers at the quarry because she wanted to make the quarry look better. She didn’t like seeing all that rock left deserted like that. From there the gardens expanded and expanded. Pretty neat huh? There’s a brief history blurb on the map for the gardens, which I only read after I got back to the airbnb.
It was pretty interesting to see so many different levels to this garden. I liked the look out point at the center of the garden. It gave such a good view of what the garden looked like from above. The Bog Garden was okay. I wasn’t compelled to take many photos there, but it was nice to walk around there. The map was one of my best friends. I knew where I was at most of the time because I basically followed the recommended paths. I liked seeing the Dragon Statue fountain, and the Surgeonfish Statue fountain.
The Rose Garden is my second favourite garden because I liked the smell of it while walking through it. I didn’t realize how fragrant roses were. I’m not a green thumb. The Rose Garden is the place where most people will stop to take a photo, so it helps to be attentive to what’s going on around you. I have nearly crashed into people abruptly stopping in front of me to take a photo. Thank goodness I didn’t though. I should also note that Sunken Gardens is another place popular for photos.
I loved how there was flower arches that we could walk under. I had never seen them before so it was a sight to behold when I saw all the people walking through them. I went through the Rose Garden pretty quickly though because of the amount of people and because of the fact that the Japanese Garden was right after it. I couldn’t contain my excitement to get a look at the Japanese Garden that I might have skimmed through some of the other gardens.
I would say the Japanese Gardens were one of my favourite section out of the entire place and I believe I spent the most time taking photos in it as well. The Japanese Garden was extremely well done, like all of the other gardens, but I was just awe-stricken at how lovely that section was. There was stepping stones, bamboo, a small stream to follow, shishi-odoshi (the bamboo scaring thingy), and rock gardens. I I loved how mossy everything was. The garden itself felt much more calming than the other gardens I went too. Maybe it was because we were under the tree canopy the entire time.
Phew. That’s all I have to say about the gardens. I didn’t bother having lunch here because I got an iced coffee at the beginning of my tour of the gardens. That apparently filled me up enough to not want lunch. There is a few places to eat here though. I heard the food was pretty good. Maybe next time I’ll stay for a lunch. I was more interested in seeing the butterfly gardens before they closed. They closed earlier then the Butchart Gardens and I was worried I wouldn’t make it there in time.
I have more photos of the gardens on my flickr account, if you guys are interested in seeing more. I made an album of it. :D Next up on the list, the Butterfly Gardens! Woot. :D