Butchart Gardens Early Spring Visit ~ I recently went on a mini vacation with my husband to Victoria, Canada. Actually I did most of the vacationing while he attended a conference. During the day I was able to do some exploring on my own and the highlight of my trip was a visit to Butchart Gardens.
I had been to Butchart Gardens twice before. One visit was during the summer on my honeymoon many years ago and another visit was a couple of years ago in early December. Both times offered a totally different but equally amazing experience. With this early Spring visit I was quite excited to see what Spring growth was evident. After my visit I was not disappointed. Clearly Butchart Gardens is stunning any time of the year.
If you are not familiar with Butchart Gardens let me give a bit of information:
- It is located in the southern part of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.
- Victoria has the mildest climate compared to the rest of Canada. It rarely snows and Spring begins in about February.
- Butchart Gardens is named after Jennie Butchart who built these gardens on her family estate of 53 acres. The gardens were built to beautify a limestone quarry belonging to her husband’s company over 100 years ago. It started to be open to the public in the early 1920s.
- Today the gardens are about 55 acres in size and are toured by about 1 million visitors each year.
- Butchart Gardens is now designated as a National Historic Site Of Canada.
I was very smart to arrive at Butchart gardens when the gates opened. I was told I was the second person to arrive. As I toured the gardens I felt I had a personal exclusive viewing for the first hour. The gardens are so big that I never saw the other guest. But I did see small crews of gardeners busy at work.
Having the luxury of visiting the park when it was so quiet was divine. I was also able to take a lot of photographs and not have to worry about strangers in the photographs. I am not too sure how often that happens at Butchart Gardens because it is so popular. My solitude time did disappear after about an hour. That’s when the tour buses and other guests started to arrive.
I am an avid gardener. All you have to do is check out my category titled Gardening and you will see several articles that I have written about my garden. But I live in a Zone 3 gardening area of Canada and Victoria is in a Zone 9. That is a pretty significant difference. I know Canada has a reputation of being a cold country but it actually has a lot of very hot areas in the summer and mild areas in the winter. I was super excited to see what was growing in Butchart Gardens in early Spring because things were still quite brown and under the spell of winter back at home.
Another thing I like to do is work with themes when I am planning, organizing and designing. Rather than share my Butchart Gardens early Spring visit in the form of a tour going from point A to point B I thought I would do things a little bit differently. You know when you go to an art gallery and look at a painting you view it for different design elements? I decided to use the same thought process when visiting the park and sharing the photographs with you. There was so much to see and photograph in the gardens I needed something to help me focus so rather than snap a thousand photographs which I easily could have done I ended up snapping just over a hundred.
I am very excited to share with you just twenty of my photographs capturing my Butchart Gardens early Spring Visit. However I connected each photograph to a different theme. I have seen a lot of photographers do this on their blogs I had always wanted to do the same thing. I chose ten themes and two photographs that I felt reflected each theme. But I have to be honest with you that one photograph could have easily fit into many more themes as you will see.
So let’s have some fun and join me on my Butchart Gardens early Spring visit from a thematic perspective. The ten themes are…
… and I feel you always have to have an ‘Other’ category that includes something that you want to include but does not quite fit anywhere.
Butchart Gardens Early Spring Visit…
Theme #1 – Colours
I have to admit this is an obvious and very general theme but I had to include it. When I first entered Butchart Gardens I was actually a bit disappointed that a lot of the Spring bulbs were not blooming yet even though I was told that Spring was three weeks early this year. But when I looked with a more open-minded perspective there were loads of colours everywhere.
I love how the white tulips were planted with the Blue Grape Hyacinths.
These yellow daffodils look stunning planted with the vibrant red, pink and purple Primulas.
Theme #2 – Directions
It is quite amazing how differently things look when you look at something from one direction and then go to the other side and look at the same thing from an opposite direction. Can you believe the water feature in both of these photographs is the same?
Theme # 3 – Distances
When touring venues like a museum, exhibit, park or a garden like Butchart Gardens I love to view and take photographs from different distances.
This long distance view of the gardens is what you see as you take the switchback stairs down into the infamous sunken gardens.
Here is a close-up short distance view of stunning pink azalea flowers growing in the indoor ‘Prelude To Spring’ gardens.
Theme #4 – Layers
Butchart Gardens is exceptional for showing how trees, shrubs, plants and flowers can be planted in layers. The next two photographs show what an amazing job Butchart Gardens has done to showcase plants in such an interesting layered effect.
Theme #5 – Levels
I drool (figuratively) over gardens that have a lot of levels. I try and create different levels in my own garden with the different types of plants that I grow. As the growing season progresses different flowers that are different heights bloom at different times. I like to think my garden is quite stunning but Butchart Gardens is in a league of its own when it comes to creating different levels. The land itself is landscaped with different levels and the different heights of plants create such a unique interest to look at.
Here is a view of the sunken garden. It is hard to imagine this used to be a limestone quarry.
I love, Love, LOVE this image. It reminds of a scene from The Lord Of The Rings. I love the different levels created from the tree, the moss growing on the tree and the stunning blue Scilla Siberica growing underneath. What a work of art!
Theme #6 – Patterns
When I was an elementary teacher I used to teach my students that patterns could be found everywhere. If you look carefully at the first photograph you will see in the distance how the plants at ground level are not quite ready to bloom yet. Even though they are still green the pattern that they were planted in creates a picture of artistic beauty. Did you notice the waterfall tucked in the back? The second photograph is a close-up view. Even the brick pathway is set in an interesting pattern.
Theme #7 – Perspectives
Something can take on a whole new look depending on the perspective one looks at something. I am referring to looking at something from top-down view, bottom-up view or a side view. When walking through Butchart Gardens there is so much to see that you have to remind yourself to not only look at eye level but also look up and down to make sure you are not missing anything. The tall tree that you see is a Redwood Sequoia Tree that was planted in 1934. The cluster of purple crocuses is something you in various gardens when you look down growing this early Spring at Butchart Gardens.
Theme #8 – Senses
We probably use all or almost all of our senses all of the time to make sense of our surroundings without even thinking about it. There were a number of times that one or two of my senses were heightened as a toured the gardens.
These white hyacinths were so fragrant. But look how stunning they look planted amongst the blue grape hyacinths. And if you look very closely you will see dainty water drops clinging onto the petals. My sense of smell and sight were definitely aroused.
Butchart Gardens has a manmade water fountain that perpetually sprays a different water design. This is just one image of one of the designs created by the water. As you walk by you can’t help but notice the art created by different formations of water set against the bright pink flowers and hear the movement of water at the same time.
Theme #9 – Textures
It is a lot of fun looking at something beyond the obvious features including its colour and size. I love looking at something for its texture as well. I find lichens quite fascinating. As you can see in the first photograph this tree branch has a whole new appearance because of the gorgeous lichen growing on it. I actually love the entire photograph too because if you look carefully at it most of the colours are different hues of greens. The second photograph is filled with different types of textures from the various plants growing up the rock wall. Even the rock not covered by plants adds a different texture and beauty.
Theme #10 –
This theme ‘Other’ is reserved for anything that doesn’t quite fit any of the other themes. I only have one photograph and it isn’t of a plant. It is a photograph of what I call ‘Black Gold’ or in other words compost.
I love making my own compost and it is amazing how it enhances the quality of my soil in my garden at home. I was so impressed with this full wheelbarrow that an employee was digging into one of the garden beds. I asked permission if I could take the photograph because I so wanted to share it with my readers. I firmly believe that the key to a thriving garden is not only what you plant but also how you amend the soil. I have written a couple of articles about how I make compost that you might found useful to read: Tips For Making Your Own Compost and Sharing My Easy Two Bin Compost System.
So that was my Butchart Gardens Early Spring Visit! I am so thrilled to be able to share it with you. Not only did I love exploring the gardens but I also enjoyed sharing it with you from a thematic experience. I know… it is a bit different… but it does create a greater appreciation for a truly stunning garden.
Here is a collage image to pin and share…
Now it is your turn. Have you been to Butchart Gardens? If so, what time of year did you go and what were your highlights? What are your thoughts regarding the thematic perspective I took when exploring, photographing and sharing with you when visiting Butchart Gardens this early Spring?
This post was shared on the official Butchart Gardens Facebook Page!
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