Springtime at Butchart Gardens (Brentwood Bay, BC)

No matter how many times we go to Butchart Gardens, one of the most beautiful in the world, we are never less than spellbound by the floral displays. This attraction, over 20km north of Victoria, is a premier destination of tourists from all over the world. It really is amazing what determination, imagination and top soil can do for an ugly limestone quarry, thanks to the singular devotion of Jennie Butchart.

Actually, we hadn’t been to the Gardens in over twenty years since our kids were very young. Our previous visits were always in the summertime when annuals are at their peak and cover the 55-acre site with a riot of colors. We boarded the bus in front of the Empress Hotel only an hour after we arrived in Victoria; the three-day forecast predicted today would have the best weather with very little precipitation. As it turned out, it was a beautiful day, sunny and cool enough that we didn’t have to remove our light jackets. Today was the first time that we visited in the spring, promising a different kind of show: spring bulbs, azaleas, rhododendrons, flowering magnolias, among others. We were not disappointed. The profusion of hyacinths literally filled the air with perfume.

The spring flower displays are not as varied as those of summer, but there was plenty to admire while walking through the Sunken Garden, Japanese Garden, and Italian Garden. It was naturally too early in the year to see anything in the Rose Garden. Blues and purples were well-represented by hyacinths, forget-me-nots, aubrietas, trout lilies and pasque flowers. Aside from the hyacinths, all the narcissus plants were in bloom. Some tulips were beginning to wilt, while others were ready to unfold. The double tulips had an interesting resemblance to peonies. The azaleas were preceding the full eruption of rhododendrons yet to come, while most of the camellias were beginning to drop their petals. Bulb plants were nicely set off by undergrowth of English daisies and forget-me-nots. We spent over four hours here, including a nice lunch at the Blue Poppy, a cafeteria-style restaurant.

The only season remaining for another visit is autumn, which promises its own rewards.

The Butchart Gardens
800 Benvenuto Avenue
Central Saanich, BC V8M 1J8