By Linda Carter
Waiting to be discovered, the island beckons you to slow down and enjoy a while.
Stroll around the downtown, with the view of the harbor. Boats bob on their moorings, bees buzz in the baskets of flowers dripping with color hang on every light pole. Not far from downtown is world famous Butchart Gardens.
http://www.butchartgardens.com Designed to be visited more than once, every season is completely different. Open at 9am, closing hours vary seasonally.
Once abandoned rocks quarry, today the only surviving portion of the old cement factory that can be seen is a tall chimney from a long abandoned kiln. In the early 1900’s workers moved soil by horse and cart to the bottom of the quarry one load at a time. This was the beginning of the bountiful gardens seen today. Now crisscrossed by trails, and awash with blooms, rooms of color each in a different style, await your perusal.
The tulips and hyacinths herald springs arrival. Enjoy the fragrance of thousands of flowers blooming in unison. Rhododendrons provide a backdrop for the tiny grape hyacinths, and daffodils interspersed with flowering cherries.
Summer brings out the mesmerizing begonias. Saucer size blossoms, in pastel colors, more reminiscent of a camellias with whisper soft petals. Images of tiny dime size blossoms on landscape begonias bear no resemblance to this treasure. Famous for their blue poppies, enjoy peonies, hydrangeas, and delphiniums and trellis’ covered with climbing roses. Summer also brings live music to the gardens.
Autumn turns the leaves from green to red. Enjoy flaming Japanese Maples, chrysanthemums and beautiful dahlias.
For the winter holidays the gardens are bedecked with thousands of lights, for a magical holiday experience.
Benches strategically placed invite you to sit, meanwhile fountains gurgle and slash, adding to the relaxed ambiance.
Like rooms in a house, different garden rooms string together to form the whole of the gardens. Butchart Gardens is a place to enjoy for all seasons. Whether on a cruise ship tour, or as a side trip from Vancouver or Seattle, Butchart Gardens is worth the trip.