Enchantment in Victoria’s Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens

There’s a particular kind of enchantment in Victoria’s Butchart Gardens. Maybe it’s the vastness of such a cultured space, a certain grandeur. Perhaps an audacity of vision that it takes to create something so lovely that it matters deeply to thousands of visitors over many decades. The feeling that nothing in nature could really be this absolutely perfect. Butchart Gardens — what a wonderful place to spend a Sunday afternoon in June.

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I felt almost grateful to see the display case for the Map and Guide to the Butchart Gardens published in 21 languages. In an age when xenophobia rages in my adopted country of the USA, this array of printed material suggested peace to me. It felt like a statement of acceptance and a recognition of Canada’s value of many peoples and cultures.

This giant chess-board can be found very near the entrance, with rules posted nearby. The little ones were intrigued by the size of the pieces, more or less like dolls, but I’d like to see a couple of fourth-graders really challenging each other.

Groomed elegance of Butchart Gardens

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The Shade Gardens with fuschsias and begonias, so elegantly sculpted, didn’t quite prepare me for the dramatic overlook to the Sunken Garden. Simply breath-taking.

I adore roses and have planted a rose garden of my own everywhere I’ve lived for longer than six months. Naturally, I looked forward to the Butchart rose garden with a great deal of eagerness. The blossoms were profuse, the colors amazingly diverse, but the roses seem to have been rained-on. The petals weren’t at their freshest best. That simply means I must return!

I took so many photos of the grounds that it’s really tempting to post dozens of them here. Instead, I think I’ll close this blog with a human-interest anecdote that helps refresh my faith in humankind.

By the end of our visit we had walked a long ways, so we decided to stop for a gelato in the Italian Gardens. As I handed the clerk a credit card, my friend asked me about something. A moment later I realized the clerk was holding up a credit card of a different color and mine was lying where I left it on the counter. I felt confused until the young woman behind me said, “It’s my card, I just wanted to treat you both to ice cream.” Can you believe that? Imagine my astonishment! I’ve never had a complete stranger do anything like that before.

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