Part Two -Butchart Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens, British Columbia

Once upon a time there was a woman who dreamed.

The woman was the wife of a man who owned a big cement operation and a very large and ugly limestone quarry pit. She dreamed of transforming that eyesore into a beautiful sight to behold.  Had it not been for her dreams, this place would have just been another hole in the ground, another gaping rip in the landscape.

Instead, nestled around Tod inlet on Vancouver Island,

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a gem of a garden sparkles with prolific blooms in a most unlikely place.

quarry-roots

I visited this place, quite by chance, over 20 years ago and vowed I would return again someday.  This was the year to do it!

From Southern Oregon it is a nice scenic drive for a couple of days up to Washington and the Puget Sound.  In Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula,  a ferry can be caught to the beautiful city of Victoria.  Just a short drive north from Victoria is….

front gate

The grounds are quite extensive; plan on staying awhile to get the whole effect!

Afterwards, for refreshment, you can enjoy a wonderful meal at the restaurant, or a nice refreshing snack at the ice cream or Gelato stand!

 

The tour begins from atop the rim of the former quarry with an outstandingly breathtaking view below….

 

    Descend and enter a gardener’s paradise….

willow view

 

The Himalyan Blue Poppy – Butcharts’ signature flower.

Tucked nicely in the corner is a fascinating computerized fountain to sit and watch peacefully before continuing on.

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Stroll further along the path to the sumptious Rose Gardens…

rose gate

Stroll past woodland waterfalls…

waterfall

Marvel at the sculpted fountains…

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claudia at fountain

enjoying flowers galore at every turn.

 

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a serene and exquisitely laid out Japanese Garden awaits…

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Hundreds of gardeners are constantly working the grounds, plucking spent blossoms, planting new plants in pots for fresh display or working in the background in the numerous greenhouses on the grounds which they maintain year round to grow and supply all the beautiful planting specimens for this entire garden!  Amazing!

If that’s not enough then stick around for evening fireworks on the ponds or summer concerts on the lawn.  A perfect place to enjoy nature’s bounty of flora, landscape design and music.

I found a simply wonderful B&B to stay in nearby, Benvenuto, the closest B&B to Butchart Gardens just a mile or so from the gates.

benvento b&B

I highly recommend this convenient place to stay. It is quiet, great hosts, unpretentious and has the best breakfast!

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Simply delicious and delivered right to your door in a lovely basket!  Benvenuto sits right between the two locations I wanted to visit; Butchart Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens which we will head to next.

The Butterfly Gardens

It doesn’t look like very much from the outside but once you enter this magical place you’ll be transported temporarily to another world filled with tropical delight on wing.

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flamingos

 

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The place is small – yet packed with a tropical punch!

After enjoying all of these wonderful creatures and flowers I was ready for a nice dinner and libation at the water’s edge – watching the sunset.  A perfect way to end a simply wonderful day in some pretty fantastic gardens.

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In Part Three the third, and final, destination of this series is out in the middle of the great Pacific Ocean – we’re headed for Hawaii and a bit of romance and adventure!

 

Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent and fun-loving traveling American 64 year young great grandmother who loves to travel solo or with fellow travelers!

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