What do you do if your husband runs a cement factory on your residential estate and leaves a huge rock quarry pit. It’s easy you bring in tons of top soil from neighboring farms and fill the pit. The result is the most beautiful garden spot in the northern hemisphere. The winding paths, bridges and small ponds take you around the ornamental trees and gardens Jennie Butchart designed and cared for beginning in 1903. Robert Pim Butchart the cement mogul of Owen Sound after seeing his wife’s hard work come to frutition endeavored to make the Garden even better.
By 1908 he had elaborate bird houses and exotic birds and fish in the ponds. He helped create the Japanese Garden on the sea view end of the property. It is today a magnificent display of ornamental Japanese cherrrie trees, bonzai gardens and an array of annuals.
The 55 acres that make up the Butchart Gardens has been designated as an Historical National Site of Canada. The gardens include an Italian Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Rose Garden and yearly over one million bedding plants are planted. The bulb displays in Spring are breath taking. I visited during the summer months in July. This is a time when the Garden is alive with color. The firework displays adorn the evening skies and the nights are warmer for walking around the paths of Butchart’s dream. The Rose Garden is abundant with colors, varieties and fragrances. The evening air enhances the aroma of rose petals waffling in the air.
The Japanese Garden is best seen in the sunset hours. The bonzai garden demonstrates the art of creating miniature surprises in about every known tree and shrub. It was an incredible fete to organize the Garden in such a way that paths intersect and carry the visitor to parts of the world while remaining in the comfort of Vancouver Island.
The colorful Italian and Mediterranean Garden have the ambience of a rich oil painting. Alive, exciting and most of all varied. There are some 700 varieties of flowers and the like in these gardens. To say a picture is worth a thousand words underestimates the wonder of Butchert Gardens. You would need to multiply it by 10 for the true impact of these sights.
On the grounds of Butchert Gardens you may have tea at noon. You can enjoy a fine dinner at the Dining Room Restaurant. This was part of the original home of the Butchert family. For a lighter fare, you may grab a bite at the Blue Poppy. The visitor can also order to go a coffee drink or light drink and snack at the Coffee Shop for their tour around the Garden. In case you forget or do not have the urge when you begin the tour, you can pick up a soft drink or ice cream near the Ross Fountain. Italian Gelato is available as well as pastries at the Italian Garden.
The twinkle lights that adorn the paths make the Garden come alive at night. I would recommend am sunset visit that carries you through the late evening. During the Summer the Garden stays open until 10 PM on most evenings. The firework displays in July I saw were enjoyable. There are ample benches through out the Garden to sit, sip a drink and simply enjoy the sights. The Garden is designed for young and old alike. The Garden is wheel chair accessible as well as welcoming to youngsters. The Butchert’s orginal name for their Garden spot was aptly named Benvenuto. Translated into English this means Welcome.
For those with a liking for fountains and bronze statutes, the Garden will not disappoint you. The Garden is sprinkled with some of the more unique bronze you will ever see. From wild boar, to donkeys all replicas of Italian masters the Garden provide the best art gallery. It is a wonder to imagine what the Butchart family has missed.
Since innovation appears to be their middle name, Butchart Gardens recently opened an ice arena during the brisk and very cool winter months. The Twelve Days of Christmas is a spectacular display of ornamental lights and depicts the onset of Christmas Day. The Garden is open during the Christmas Season and must be a festive place to spend the Christmas Holiday. The hours vary, so during the Winter it is best to check the time and dates ahead of time for your visit.
Above all, stop by the Gift Store. It has a wide variety of items you will want to peruse. I picked up some ornate coasters of rare flowers that I thoroughly enjoy. All in all it is a destination place that everyone must put on their life calendar.