The Butchart Gardens are located just outside of Victoria, British Columbia. It’s a group of floral display gardens, spanning over 55 acres, started by Jennie Butchart in the early 1900s. Now, over a million people visit the gardens every year.
A bit of its history
Butchart Gardens is aNational Historic Site of Canada is an internationally-known public attraction that has been open to visitors since 1904. It is located on the Saanich Peninsula, approximately 21 kilometers north of Victoria, British Columbia.
With a former limestone quarry for her backyard, Jennie Butchart envisioned landscaping a sunken garden in its place, transforming the property.
As you walk around, you’ll find remnants of the original cement plant and could see more than a million bedding plants in over 900 varieties, depending on the time of year.
How to get there
If you are without a vehicle and are looking to make it to the gardens from downtown Victoria, you have a few options.
- Public transit – this definitely the most cost effective option since the cost is $2.50 each way.
- Hire a car or taxi – We don’t have specific costs for this but from the airport to downtown, the cost for a taxi is about $60.00 one way. If you are interested in this option, talk to the concierge at your hotel or contact a taxi company directly. Unfortunately, at the time of this post, Victoria still don’t have any ride share services like Uber.
- A tour – We opted for the CVS Tour company. We paid $70.00 each for the bus ride there and back, the admission fee was included. The tour costs vary seasonally.
- Cycle – this would have been our preferred option but in mid April the only option would have been to cycle there and back which was a little further than we were willing to commit to. It’s 36km (21 miles) each way. Later spring to late summer, you have the take a shuttle there and hop on a bike and cycle your way back to downtown Victoria. If this interests you, click here for more info.
What to expect
Since it was our first visit, we weren’t quite sure that to expect. But, after hearing family and friends rave about it, our expectations were quite high. We boarded the tour bus at 11 am, with dozens of our closest friends and were on our way. The drive to get there was only about 35 minutes.
As we approached the gardens, it was evident that spring was a good time to visit and that there would be plenty to see. From the Cherry Blossom trees lining the road the road and giant flower beds at the side of the parking lot and at the entrance, everything was in bloom.
Since our visit was on a beautiful sunny Saturday, one of the first things we noticed was how busy it was. But, we weren’t about to let that stand in our way of enjoying the experience.
Our visit started with the Sunken Garden which in my opinion it the star. It is so breathtakingly beautiful. There are so many varieties of trees and plants. I saw somewhere that in the Sunken Garden, there are 151 flower beds and approximately 65,000 spring bulbs planted. There were daffodils, tulips and hyacinths in every imaginable variety.
Next, we made our way to the Rose Garden. Obviously, there were no roses at this time of year, but there were more beautiful spring flowers to see.
Also, we did visit the Japanese Garden. It is over one acre of lush landscape with steams, azaleas and many Japanese Maple trees.
On our way out, we also walked through the Italian Garden. As you can imagine, it is equally beautiful with its statue and flower lined pond. Rumor has it that it was originally the Butchart family’s tennis court.
How long should I plan for this visit?
It took us about 2 hours to tour the gardens and we took our time, stopping to take hundreds of photos. On the Butchart Gardens website, they have 2, 3 and 4 hour itineraries. Click here to view them.
Before leaving we stopped by the Seed and Gift Store to get some blue poppy seeds. Apparently, this was Jennie Butchart’s favorite flower. Fingers crossed that they actually grow in our yard.
Since we were getting hungry, we opted for the 2 PM bus back to downtown Victoria. Yes, they have places to grab some food onsite, but we also wanted to get away from the crowds.
Planning a visit to Victoria? The Butchart Gardens should be on your must see list, any time of year. No doubt we will be back, hopefully during the summer so that we get to see the Rose Garden in bloom. Apparently, they have over 280 varieties of roses!
In the event that you are looking for more gardening inspiration, check out our Kingsbrea Garden post.
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