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Friday, November 4, 2016

Beautiful Butchart Gardens and the Sooke Salmon

Visiting the glorious Butchart Gardens has been on my travel bucket list for over ten years.

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Sometimes when you build up something so fabulous in your mind it can be disappointing when it actually happens.

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This however was not the case when I finally viewed the sunken garden for the first time.

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We arrived right when the garden opened at 9 am.

I was so overcome by the beauty that my eyes filled with tears.

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Even Mr. Decor, who is not easily impressed, was mesmerized by the glorious fall colors.

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Over 100 years ago Robert Butchart created a quarry and cement plant. His wife, Jennie, was the company chemist.

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Once the limestone was exhausted Jennie decided to transform the pit into a beautiful sunken garden.

I just kept thinking “One woman and a dream created this!”

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Between 1906 and 1926 the Butcharts would go on to create a Japanese garden, an Italian garden and a rose garden.

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Their grandson, Ian Ross, transformed the gardens into the spectacular showplace it is today.

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In 2004 the gardens were designated a National Historical Site in Canada.

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It is easy to see why over one million people visit the garden each year.

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Because of the rain we once again enjoyed most of the gardens free from such crowds.

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We walked the 22 hectar (55 acre) garden twice just to make sure we didn’t miss a moment of beauty.

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While most of the the roses were now dormant for the winter there was still seasonal color in the rose garden.

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The manicured Italian garden was a sight to behold as well.

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The zinna beds were a riot of spectacular color.

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I picked up several packets of seeds in the garden shop and can’t wait for planting season.

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Do you want to see my favorite part of the gardens?

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Perhaps my point of view would change with the seasons but I was enraptured with the autumnal beauty found in the Japanese garden.

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Garden designer Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama helped the Butcharts design their garden.

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It was completed in 1906.

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I hope you have enjoyed the tour. I would like to go back someday in the spring.

We left the gardens shortly before lunch. Since we didn’t have to return on the ferry until 7 pm in the evening we decided to drive the Pacific Marine Circle Route.

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We stopped in at the Sooke visitors center and was told it was the perfect time of year to watch the salmon migration at the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park.

The salmon were attempting to jump these series of falls. 

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It was an incredible sight to see. Just look at all those fish in the lovely, clear water.

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We watched as several salmon repeatedly made the jump against the small falls.

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I wish my camera had captured the action shots better but there is a blurry fish in the center of the image below.

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The surrounding area had beautiful walking trails.

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We opted not to venture too far as we had been warned there were bears in the area and saw evidence that they had indeed been hunting.

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There are several larger falls and naturally made pools all along the river.

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This is Maryvine Falls.

Tomorrow the magic of Whistler and Lynn Canyon.



Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Isn't that the most beautiful garden. Each spot is amazing. Jim and I were there a few years ago and it is truly magical.

Jeanie said...

I've always heard beautiful things about Butchart but these photos take my breath away. The colors are unbelievable -- they're so rich and you hit it at its peak. I must remember that if I'm ever fortunate enough to get to Vancouver and see these gardens that we try to go in the fall. It is as magnificent a site as I've ever seen.

Lorrie said...

I'm smiling at your delight with Butchart Gardens. I'm so lucky to get to go whenever I want!
So glad you got to see a wilder side of the Island, too, at the Sooke Potholes.

Mar gar et said...

Thanks to you, I found out about this place, and am in awe.

Here are some links to the history, which is fascinating, just like the gardens.

Princess Chikmakoff
Do you have any info on Princess Chikmakoff who resided on Runnymede Avenue during the '30s or '40s?

Diane Michelin-Linuzzi

The Princess was the widow of Harry Ross, nee Jenny Butchart, who married a Russian prince after Harry's death. Harry and Jenny were the parents of Ian Ross, long-time manager of Butchart's Gardens. The Harry and Jenny Ross home at 2031 Runnymede, Blair Gowie, was designed by Samuel Maclure in 1916.

Jean Sparks for Oak Bay Archives

Princess Chikmakoff I believe was still in the home on the corner of Mt Joy and Runnymede in the early 1950s, as we kids on Mt Joy used to visit. The main attraction was the swimming pool! I think we got a swim once.

Gail-Anne Brighton (Randall)

Marilyn said...

Stunning! I am so impressed by the autumn colors, the gardens and how immaculate and well kept it is. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous pictures with us.

Marilyn (in Dallas)

Rosemary said...

How absolutely sumptuous these photos are; you certainly have the eye for photo composition. When I see glimpses of nature like this, I feel like I'm being given a glimpse of heaven - almost too much for the eye to take in but heartening and life affirming.

Cherie said...

The Garden is indeed so very are your wonderful photos! They are as lovely as any I've seen in books or brochures! Methinks the Garden should hire you! I was pleased to finally see them last year as well.

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

OH MY GOSH - that is heaven on earth - wow - such luscious beauty.

I should very much like to see this myself one day.

I just added to my bucket list.

Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs! ♥ said...

Beautiful! I've been to Butchart in the summer and in the Spring and now I think I need to visit again in the Fall!

Rita C. said...

Laura, this was absolutely breathtaking! I think perhaps this may be a new bucket list item for me and my Mr. He was so taken in Atlanta's Botanical Garden, and I know he'd love this one too. I can see why you'd love the Japanese gardens the best. I fall hard for their beauty and structure also. Thank you for sharing this! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Lori @ Dining Delight said...

You've captured the beauty of the gardens wonderfully and even in the rain! I love Butchart Gardens and have special memories of the area as that is where we went on our honeymoon and we went back for our 25th wedding anniversary. Thanks for taking me back again...