Vancouver Island gardens are known for their international reach and thorough incorporation of the Japanese-style gardens, along with their beauty. With its warm and temperate climates that contradict the freezing temperatures of Canada, it is home to some of the most exquisite gardens found in the Americas.
The Myriad of Gardens
The Vancouver Island gardens boast elegant natural beauty, from the exquisite rhododendrons in the Butchart garden to the Garden at Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) for the horticulture and technical plant life enthusiasts.
The Abkhazi Garden is quite a romantic spot for those that cherish heritage and love the same. On the other end, Vancouver Island gardens also constitute the oldest Japanese gardens in North America, located in the Esquimalt Gorge Park.
The Vancouver Island gardens spread across the island are one reason Vancouver Island is unique, besides its pleasant spring and summer weather.
Here are Some Gardens of Vancouver Island We love!
1) Butchart Gardens
Jennie Butchart had developed a green thumb after moving to Vancouver Island (to build a cement plant on a limestone quarry with her husband Robert) much to her delight.
Known today as the Sunken Garden, it initially started as gardening and toiling the soil that Jenny did in the exhausted limestone deposits. As the seasons arrived and the plants blossomed, so did the Butchart Gardens.
The Butchart Gardens today offers its visitors the whole nine yards. Everything starts from the lush and skillfully developed Japanese gardens from Kishida to the magnificently captivating Rose garden, Italian garden, and Mediterranean garden to top it all off.
A visit around the summertime will prove to be quite rewarding as you’ll be greeted with the site of the Rhododendrons in their full-blown glory, with an assortment of varying colors. Also, to welcome you will await the Rose Carousel, which is acclaimed as the only carousel on the Island’s entirety.
These Gardens are not only famous among the people but also critically acclaimed. They were ranked by organizations like National Geographic, CNN, as one of the world’s top display gardens. So, if you’re in or around the Brentwood Bay area, near Victoria, then these Gardens are a visit you do not want to miss!
2) Abkhazi Garden
Quite a symbol for romance, the Abkhazi garden is a rather stark contrast to the vastness of the Butchart Gardens. Enshrouded from the common eye, this garden lies behind the hornbeam bridge, spread over a quaint one-acre.
Built back in 1946 by the prince and princess of Abkhazi, it stands today as a symbol of love. The gardens lie upon the wavered slopes and unusual terrain, its design complements its landscape and is home to Japanese maples and rhododendrons that grow in the land’s crooks and crevices.
For the love of all thing’s heritage and romance, the gardens have a precious Teahouse on site that makes you feel like a guest of royalty. A lot of the ingredients used in the Teahouse are locally sourced from the garden itself.
If you’re an appreciator of the heritage and old romance and you’re looking for a quiet stroll or a garden date, Abkhazi Garden in downtown Victoria could be your new go-to place!
3) Esquimalt Gorge Park
Known primarily for its well-known Japanese garden, Esquimalt Gorge Park is situated on a slopy terrain and is located just outside of Victoria, and is an integral part of the cluster of Vancouver Island gardens.
This park boasts of the first Japanese garden built on the North American continent, by the renowned Japanese gardener Isaburo Kishida in 1907, of the Butchart Gardens’ fame.
Activities and More
The park is situated on the riverside of the Gorge waterway and offers a picturesque view. The river has also been cleaned up so you can swim or kayak in it. There are many picnic tables, and on a bright summer day, the park is a treat to be in.
You can go with your family and take the children there, or just enjoy a peaceful stroll in the evenings to live for a view that enchants.
In October of 2020, the ground had been broken for the park’s renovations, and if things go according to plan, you’d be able to marvel at beautiful Cherry trees by 2021. Plan your next picnic here, and enjoy fun family times!
4) Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of Pacific (HCP)
A mere 10-minute distance from the Butchart Gardens and around 10 kilometers north of downtown Victoria, the Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of Pacific are among the most educational and knowledge-profit gardens amongst all Vancouver Island gardens.
Proudly named the “Garden of the year in North America” in 2017 by the Canadian Garden Council, these gardens offer a platter of things for you to do and please the nature lover in you.
From the lovely blooming lily garden to the herb garden adorning tasteful herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender and smelling like the heavens, these gardens have a little something for everyone.
These gardens are quite famous for their education programs, ranging from the horticulture program for college students to community training for the residents and various youth programs.
Here you can learn all about plants and their varied healing, therapeutic, and tasteful properties. You can educate yourself about the plants that were used in ancient times as food or the plants, trees, and shrubs that aided in manufacturing some traditional herbal medicines, aromatherapy, essential oils, and so much more.
If you’re someone who wants to learn to take better care of their plants, then the Urban garden at HCP shows you some essential principles and efficient ways to grow and develop a small lot in the city area. This is the garden for all your educational, technical as well as fun needs!
The educational features don’t hamper the beauty of the gardens, even in the slightest. If you’re looking for some peaceful and soothing atmospheres, then the Bonsai garden at HCP can aid you. It is the only outdoor Bonsai garden in Western Canada and the 2nd largest in Canada, with its almost as many as 60 varieties of displayed bonsai trees.
5) Finnerty Gardens
In Victoria, on the southwest side of the campus of the University of Victoria, lie Finnerty gardens, which are undoubtedly quite a sight to behold. With trees and shrubs in a number upwards of 4000 spread across 2.6 hectares of land, you can quickly lose a couple of hours in here.
These gardens pride themselves on their collection of over 1500 rhododendrons and azalea plants that bloom from January through to late June. They also have a collection of beautiful perennials that bloom from July onward.
It has benches scattered all over the park, in case you’re looking for somewhere peaceful to sit with a view. These are among the only Vancouver Island gardens with no entry fee. So, leisure around and marvel in the beauty of it all!
6) Hatley Park National Historic Site
Adjoining the Hatley Castle and on the gigantic Edwardian estate, which is also home to the Royal Roads University, lies the Hatley Park, a National Historic site. With its lush green lawns, ponds, and beautiful flowering plants stretching across about 650 acres, this is a site to immerse yourself in and brings the feel of royalty to the Vancouver Island gardens.
With or without the bonus of the royal tour of the castle, this park in itself is a beauty of a kind. It overlooks the colossal awe-capturing Olympic mountains and has multiple walking and hiking trails to spend your time in. Situated on quite a hilly slope, you can enjoy yourself at the highest point in Vancouver at this park.
The Beauty of the Flora
It is adorned with gorgeous flowers and a beauty that has stood the test of time. Japanese anemones stay in bloom past august, and the gardens’ borders are decked by spectacular Castlewellan hedge. You can pass through the enlivening gardens to the old forest region, dark and gloomy on the best days.
Japanese Gardens at Hatley
This site is graced with 2 Japanese gardens. The Upper garden lies on the slopes that lead to the lake and is decorated with Cherries and Azaleas, thoroughly blooming in the summer and specially imported from the renowned Yokohoma Nurseries in Japan. The Lower and younger garden surrounds a natural spring lake and boasts of Shirotae cherries and Pearl pink rhododendrons.
You do not want to be amiss of the grandeur and beauty that this site provides. Visit the Hatley park on its own or accompany it with a tour of the castle.
Vancouver Island Gardens are an assortment of the most varied and exquisite gardens you may ever get to visit. With the lush greeneries, kaleidoscopic range of flowers, and diverse flora through the seasons, they are among the most varied categories of gardens.
If you want to spend time with the family on a little picnic, or if you’re going to go on a secluded romantic date. If you want some solitary peace, or if you’re going to enjoy some rich culture and heritage. The Gardens in Vancouver Island have something to offer to everyone! Go exploring and indulge in the one you love!
Some other Vancouver Island activities we think you’ll enjoy: