"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, July 30, 2012

Butchart Gardens: Part II

We're back at Butchart Gardens for the afternoon and evening, this time with Kona too.  (If you don't care for gardens and flowers, sorry, but you might as well log off now.) Upon entering the Gardens, visitors are greeted by a cafe, gift shop, information booth and several gathering places to eat and meet.  Near this entrance area there is a dining room and a conservatory for delicate hot-house flowers.  I haven't mentioned it yet, but the fragrance everywhere was heavenly.

Three views of the gardens surrounding the dining room:

Conservatory hot-house specimens:

I thought I'd let the flowers speak for themselves for awhile. (If only they could share their scents as well.) These are some of the more effective groupings I noticed.  Groupings or pairings are characterized by contrasting or complementary colors, forms and textures of blooms and foliage. I tried to capture that in these pictures:

The next two flowers are fancy begonias that were looking down from hanging baskets. The baskets' heights allowed me to get under them and shoot up into the light - a very unusual situation that had some kind of Georgia O'Keefish results.

And now for the part of the gardens that is most often photographed: the Sunken Gardens.

This part of the Butchart Gardens has the most fascinating history. Originally this land was not a garden, but a limestone quarry. The Butcharts lived adjacent to the quarry, as did many of the workers. They also had a cement factory to process the limestone from the quarry.  As the quarry became worked-out, Jennie Butchart conceived the idea to beautify the remaining limestone pits. In these pictures you can see the underlying structure of the old quarry's pits and cliffs. Now they are covered with ivy and other plantings and the bottom is dense with flower beds, shrubs and trees.  Eventually the Butchart family opened the Gardens to the public and began charging an entrance fee to support their ongoing development.

 If only all the quarries and mines (and landfills for that matter) could be transformed into places this beautiful!

A waterfall runs down the side of one of the old quarry walls.

Here's the same view as the first picture (above) but later in the day with the sun casting bold shadows.

A walk through the Sunken Gardens leads to serene nooks and open spaces, as well as ponds and fountains.

The Butchart family still owns and operates the Gardens, and has expanded their offerings to include concerts, children's activities, ice skating the winter and fireworks in the summer.  The evening we were there the Victoria Symphony was playing, so we stuck around. More about that in Part III.

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