Victoria is known as “the Garden City” for obvious reasons. There are so many public gardens in this area that it’s difficult to name only a few. So, we are including ones that may be of interest to the first time visitor to our city. Marketa’s is situated centrally and is ideally located for visitors interested in spending time visiting some of the city’s best known and “unknown” gardens.
When Victoria is mentioned in other parts of the world someone is sure to say, ” Butchart Gardens!” The number one tourist attraction on Vancouver Island is also a favourite of the locals. Built in the early 1900s on an abandoned lime quarry site by Jenny Butchart, wife of a wealthy cement pioneer, it was expanded by her grandson Ian Ross in the early 1950s. A spectacular show garden, it has over 20 hectares (50 acres) developed with many highlights including the Sunken, Rose, Japanese and Italian gardens as well as the famous hanging begonia collection. It may be a “tourist attraction” but it is still a “must see” for Visitors to this area.
The gardens are worth seeing even during “off seasons”. In April and May an enchanting fairyland of early spring blooms are followed In early June by roses and perennials and the show continues through until frost. Saturday nights in July and August, Butchart stages a world class Sound and Light show. Fireworks and music are choreographed in a presentation so famous that locals make attending each season’s show a ritual.
Special events go on all year, ranging from outdoor stage productions to strolling minstrels at Christmas. Like many Victorians, we include a visit in our Christmas festivities.
Getting to Butchart Gardens is easy – by car, bus, double-decker, float-plane or native war canoe (we’re serious – ask!). Driving distance from Oak Lane B&B is about 25 minutes.
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Imagine a castle set in mature country gardens along the ocean. Once a coal baron’s estate, it became Canada’s prime military academy and is now Royal Roads University. The gardens include wisteria-covered stone bridges over exquisitely planted water features, rolling lawns, mixed borders, and a beautiful Japanese garden. Hatley Park is located in the Western Communities about 25 minute drive from Oak Lane Victoria B&B. But make this trek worthwhile – combine the visit to these gardens with a visit to Fort Rodd Hill historic park and the beautiful Esquimalt Lagoon. The general layout of the garden has remained the same over the years. The statues are original and represent the four seasons (Pomona, Ceres, Flora and Hebe). The urns are original.
Horticultural Centre for the Pacific
This is a demonstration garden housing a training school for landscape gardeners. There are over 10,000 varieties of identified plants to check out. . The ‘how-to’ aspect of gardening is prominent here with workshops all year long on topics many diverse topics. You will enjoy the winter, rhododendron, woodland, Japanese, orchard, ornamental grass, heather, hardy fuchsia, mixed perennial, Asiatic lily, dahlia trial, dry flower, herb, vegetable, drought tolerant and rose gardens. Plant collectors will be delighted by the plant sales. Located about 15 minutes from Oak Lane Victoria B&B in a rural area called Saanich.
Beacon Hill Park
Open year-round this well-loved green space, with a Petting Zoo, formal rose gardens, and a band shell for outdoor summer concerts located just minutes from Oak lane Victoria B&B. Scottish-born John Blair, considered one of the best landscape architects in North America, won the 1889 competition to design Beacon Hill Park. The hybrid rhododendrons he planted around Fountain Lake are still glorious more than 100 years later. For a dose of peaceful elegance, take a stroll among the beautifully cultivated gardens.
Government House Gardens
Government House, the Ceremonial Home of all British Columbians, is situated on a beautiful estate of 35 acres showcasing a variety of garden designs and diverse plant species. In just one place, the visitor can see 15 distinctive gardens including:
Open February 16 through the end of September the Abkhazi Garden is a significant heritage garden property located in Victoria, British Columbia, a city that prides itself as the Garden Capital of Canada.
Created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi in the mid to late-1940s and maintained and improved by them throughout their life together, the garden features native Garry oaks, ornamental evergreens, significant rhododendrons, rock and alpine plants, naturalized bulbs, and good examples of Japanese Maples and weeping conifers.
The Garden is located at 1964 Fairfield Rd. This is about 600 feet East of Foul Bay Road on Fairfield, just minutes from Oak Lane Victoria B&B.