Butchart Gardens

(continuer en français) – Last updated: October 12, 2020

In these times of climate change where people complain about the damage caused to the environment by human activity, the story of Butchart Gardens gives a hint of hope. It all began in 1904 when a cement producer from Ontario moved to Vancouver Island near Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia.

The need for infrastructure and various constructions stimulated the growth of the cement company, digging deeper and deeper into the quarry that provided the raw material. The Butchart family quickly became part of the economic elite of the region.

Wishing to embellish the surroundings of their house located near the quarry, they commissioned a Japanese landscape gardener in 1906, creating a Japanese garden that still exists today.

In 1909, the quarry reached the end of its exploitation, the idea then emerged to transform this vast desolate hole into a garden after the addition of cultivable soil. Numerous species of trees and shrubs were planted there and thousands of flowers were arranged in a spectacular way. A water basin with a changing spray pattern was added to complete the ensemble, the sunken garden.

These initial achievements attracted attention and visitors began to come forward, which led to the opening of the gardens to the public and an increase in display areas.

Some visitors arrive from Victoria by boat and enter via Tod Inlet.

In 1926, the tennis court was replaced by an Italian garden with a pool in the shape of a star.

In 1929, the kitchen garden gave way to a rose garden, which now contains 280 varieties of roses.

The gardens cover 22 hectares and welcome more than a million visitors every year. The estate still belongs to the founding family, and it is currently the fourth generation that is actively involved in the day-to-day management. In season there are 50 gardeners to work in the gardens and at the nursery, some of whose seeds are marketed, they have the certification allowing them to enter the United States.

When the evening comes and the shadows grow longer, do not imagine that the day is over. In the summer, concerts are staged in the evenings, as well as light shows and fireworks.

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