Butchart Gardens - Fifty acres of floral finery offering spectacular
views as you stroll along meandering paths and expansive lawns.
In 1904, the concept of The Butchart Gardens began with an effort
to beautify a worked-out quarry site on the 130-acre estate of
Mr. and Mrs. R.P. Butchart, pioneers in the manufacture of Portland
Cement in Canada. Their endeavour became a family commitment
to horticulture and hospitality spanning more than 90 years and
delighting visitors from all over the world. From the exquisite
Sunken Garden to the charming Rose Garden, this 50-acre show-place
still maintains the gracious traditions of the past, in one of
the loveliest corners in the world.
Best Time to Visit
May we suggest a late afternoon visit (after 3pm) from June through
September; enjoy the flowers by daylight, stop for refreshment
and some light musical entertainment, then see the Gardens again
by the romantic Night Illuminations (except Saturday evenings
June 29 through August 31 when the popularity of our Firework
show can cause long line-ups to enter The Gardens).
Through the years - and week
by week - subtle changes alter the face of the garden. Each month
there is something of beauty and interest, from the glorious
relief of spring to the mass display of fall colour.
In winter the bare bones of the
gardens show the shape of things to come, with the gentle variance
of texture and colour of the broadleafed evergreens and conifers,
the berried trees and shrubs. Hints of spring come from early
pansies and English daisies, polyanthus and primroses. The bright
red of holly berries and pink blooms of heather are a welcome
contrast to the grey of a winter day.
Against a backdrop of blossoming
trees and shrubs - forsythia, jasmine, pieris and the early flowering
Japanese cherries - early March lays a carpet of crocus, wallflowers
and spring flowers. The last week of March is the height of the
season for hyacinths and daffodils.
In April the results of the fall
planting of more than 250,000 bulbs reach their peak. First with
the gold of narcissus and daffodils then with the riot of colour
from beds of tulips - Spring dons her mantle. Flowering cherries
and plums, crabapples and some 30 species of other flowering
shrubs join the display. Rhododendrons and azaleas start to show
and the native dogwood is starting to bloom.
In May, the tulips begin to offer
their place on the palette of colours to the rhododendrons, azaleas
and the early perennials. Siberian wallflowers and forget-me-nots
supply both scent and colour, and the unusual handkerchief tree
- davidia involucrata - is at its peak. Cinerarias are being
planted out with gloriously coloured blooms and schizanthus comes
onto the scene in a multitude of hanging baskets.
In June the azaleas and late
rhododendrons are at their best. Columbine, delphiniums and -
in more shaded places - the rare Himalayan blue poppy join with
nemesia, tuberous begonias, stocks, poppies and sweet william
to bring in summer. Weigela, deutzia and beauty bush are in full
bloom. The Rose Garden bursts into tumultuous colour during the
last two weeks of the month and becomes the centre of attraction
for visitors to The Butchart Gardens.
During the month of July and
into August, the changing beds of annuals, each supplying non-stop
colour, welcome the perennials to the show. The roses in all
their different forms - climbing, rambling and standard - continue
to delight. The Saturday evening Fireworks nights from June 29
through August 31 are extremely popular especially with younger
visitors. There is also musical entertainment most evenings as
well as the night illuminations.
In September, the displays of
tuberous begonias and dahlias reach their zenith. In the perennial
borders towering shocks of red, gold and blues of lychnis, solidago
and fall asters form a bulwark against the shortening days. Hanging
baskets, hydrangeas and fuchsias prolong the summer's glory.
The fall colours peak in October
with flaming red and russet Japanese maples. Magnificent arbutus
trees and copper beech add more colour to the autumnal scene.
The dahlias continue the display assisted by varieties of chrysanthemums
until the frost comes.
It is once again time to plant
the bulbs for spring. Above the bulbs in freshly-tilled beds,
pansies and daisies - some in bloom - mark time in wait for spring.
Replacing the autumn colours
of November come sparkling and unique Christmas lights setting
the evenings aglow from December 1 to January 6. Carollers and
festive entertainment complement the atmosphere for a perfect
family visit to The Butchart Gardens at Christmas Time.
Location of The Butchart Gardens
The Butchart Gardens is located
on Vancouver Island 21 km (13 miles) north of Victoria, and 20km
(12.5 miles) south of the Vancouver-Victoria ferry terminal at
Swartz Bay. Direct driving routes are indicated, in red, on the
map (right). Vancouver Island is serviced year 'round by several
tour bus companies, public transit buses, frequent daily ferry
sailings and airline flights.
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