A Bucket List Experience | Regardless of the Season
While it is hard to pick a favorite experience, I do have a running list of "magical must-dos." A visit to the Butchart Gardens is one of those magical experiences that I absolutely recommend. As much as I love botanical gardens, this place left me speechless. I will never forget when we first caught a glimpse of the Sunken Garden - my jaw dropped. Never in my life have I seen such concentrated beauty. The Butchart Gardens are truly inspiring and definitely a colorful story for the collection.
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A Brief Introduction To The Butchart Gardens
Located in Brentwood Bay (Canada) on Vancouver Island, The Butchart Gardens are a botanical wonderland. The gardens are about a 25 minute drive from downtown Victoria, BC. The process of turning a used up quarry into a natural space began over 100 years ago by a woman named Jennie Butchart. The beauty she brought to an otherwise spoiled piece of land is a testament to creativity and the dare to dream big. The gardens contain 55+ acres of land and are still run by her family today. They employ over 50 full-time gardeners to keep the garden in tip-top shape.
Fall - A Beautiful Time To Visit The Butchart Gardens
Our visit to the Butchart Gardens took place towards the end of October. During this time of the year, you will find the true stars are the Sunken Garden and the Japanese Garden. I am especially fond of Japanese influences, and this garden did not disappoint. It was stunning, absolutely stunning. The Sunken Garden in the fall is as colorful as ever, and as I already mentioned an emotional and moving first impression.
Pros - The Butchart Gardens in the Fall
If you are a color seeker such as myself, you will appreciate the gardens in the fall for this reason alone. So many flowers were in bloom - carnations and dahlias galore! The foliage is beginning to turn as well during this time and creates even more dimension. The peak season for visitors is July - August, so you can expect to experience fewer crowds in the fall.
Cons - The Butchart Gardens in the Fall
Since fall is the season where many plants are starting to pack up for the upcoming winter, not all of the gardens were displaying at their very best. We arrived too late in the season for the Rose Garden. You could still stroll through the garden plot, but there were no flowers to be seen. I hope to return someday to see the Rose Garden in bloom. However, I never felt like I was missing out thanks to the immense beauty elsewhere in the gardens.
The Sunken Garden
If you can, begin your tour of the gardens at the Sunken Garden. The path to the Sunken Garden takes you through some dense tree cover. Once you get to the top, the vegetation clears revealing the 5-acre masterpiece below. Where there once was a quarry is now home to over 150 flower beds! The path winds through the garden with a never-ending display of plants. There are benches where you can sit to rest or attempt to comprehend what you are witnessing. Or maybe you will want to climb to the top of the lookout rock in the center to fully surround yourself with this garden. You will also find the bog garden here located next to a large water feature.
The Japanese Garden
This garden was my favorite! I can't imagine the amount of effort that had to have gone into this garden. There are so many intricate details to discover. I instantly fell in love with all of the elegant Japanese maple trees. Their red leaves were incredibly vibrant! The secret pathways lead to trickling streams and little waterfalls. I found making my way through the layers of this garden to be a unique and whimsical adventure.
So much more to see
You will find the entire grounds to be meticulously manicured. An attention to detail can be seen throughout the park. I have only briefly told you about 2 of the 5 garden zones you will find at The Butchart Gardens. I believe part of the allure of this place is discovering it on your own and letting the little surprises come to you naturally.
Planning Your Visit to The Butchart Gardens
Of course, I recommend taking as much time as you need to enjoy the gardens fully. However, visiting the flowers would make for a lovely half day activity as well. There are restaurants and a coffee shop located on the grounds in case you get hungry. Or you are welcome to enjoy a picnic lunch there as well!
The gardens offer something for everyone! Check out their website for more information concerning sights and activities for each season as well as any events they might be hosting.
Inspiration: The Butchart Gardens
Our visit to The Butchart Gardens took place towards the end of our tour up the coast of the Pacific Northwest. We started in San Francisco stopping along the way until we reached Victoria. I found the tiny ceramic lucky cat in a Seattle bookstore. He may have posed for more pictures than I'd like to admit, so I am not surprised he found his way into my Butchart inspired watercolor painting. What about you, would you like to visit The Butchart Gardens? Do you find nature to be as brilliant and magical as I do?
Cheers to pretty, pretty plants!
Freelance Graphic Designer
This trip took place during the fall of 2015. When planning your own adventures, please be sure to check for any current travel alerts or changes in destination conditions first. Keep in mind that businesses mentioned may no longer exist or offer the same products recommended in this post.