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.
Vancouver Island gardens are known for their international reach, thorough incorporation of Japanese-style gardens, and beauty.
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 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 that 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.
A visit around the summertime will be quite rewarding as you’ll be greeted with the site of the Rhododendrons in their full-blown glory, with an assortment of varying colours.
Also, to welcome you will await the Rose Carousel, which is acclaimed as the only carousel in the island’s entirety.
These Gardens are not only famous among the people but also critically acclaimed. Organizations like National Geographic and CNN ranked them as one of the world’s top display gardens.
So, if you’re near Victoria or around the Brentwood Bay area, these Gardens are a visit you do not want to miss!
2. Abkhazi Garden
Quite a symbol of 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-in 1946 by the prince and princess of Abkhazi, it stands today as a symbol of love. Its design complements its landscape and is home to Japanese maples and rhododendrons that grow in the land’s crooks and crevices. The gardens lie upon the wavered slopes and unusual terrain.
For the love of all things 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 sloppy terrain, is located just outside 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 enjoy a peaceful stroll in the evenings to live for an enchanting view.
In October 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 kilometres 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.
4.1 Education Features
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 about plants and their varied healing, therapeutic, and tasteful properties.
You can educate yourself about the plants 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.
But also effective methods for developing a small land in the city. This is the place to come for all your entertaining, useful, and instructive needs!
4.2 Bonsai Garden
The educational features don’t hamper the beauty of the gardens, even in the slightest.
The Bonsai garden at HCP can aid you if you’re looking for peaceful and soothing atmospheres.
It is the only outdoor Bonsai garden in Western Canada and the 2nd largest in Canada, with 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 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 variety of lovely perennials that start blooming in July. These are some of the few gardens on Vancouver Island without an entrance fee.
Benches are dotted throughout the park if you’re searching for a quiet place to relax and take in the scenery. Therefore take your time and admire everything’s beauty!
6. Hatley Park National Historic Site
Hatley Park, a National Historic site, is adjoining Hatley Castle and on the gigantic Edwardian estate, also home to the Royal Roads University.
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.
It overlooks the huge awe-capturing Olympic mountains and has many walking and hiking routes to spend your time in.
This park is stunning in its own right, with or without the added benefit of the royal tour of the castle. Situated on quite a hilly slope, you can enjoy yourself at the highest point in Vancouver at this park.
6.1 The Beauty of the Flora
On the best days, you can pass through the enlivening gardens to the old forest region, which is dark and gloomy.
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.
6.2 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 Shirotae cherries and Pearl pink rhododendrons.
You do not want to be amiss about this site’s grandeur and beauty. Visit 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 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.
In all of British Columbia, the Asian garden is the largest outdoor bonsai garden.
These are the best if you are a botanical garden person looking to get your child interested in the art of gardening that calls it such a wonderful place. If you reach out to the stocked garden center for a hands-on children’s garden tour, you will find many groups seeking gardens to join.
On your trip, the places these outdoor gardens we recommended the most are the newly added orchid garden, outdoor turtle pond, alpine garden, Vancouver island top gardens, and queen elizabeth park.
The Gardens in Vancouver Island have something to offer to everyone! If you want some solitary peace, or if you’re going to enjoy some rich culture and heritage. Go exploring and indulge in the one you love!
Some other Vancouver Island activities we think you’ll enjoy: