Top 5 Gardens to Visit in Victoria
Posted by Tom Westley on
Est. reading time 5 minutes
Victoria is known as the City of Gardens, a title that is certainly well earned. In fact, every year there is the Flower Count, a light hearted event to promote that we have flowers before spring even begins. And so in celebration of all things garden, here is an overview of the top gardens in Victoria so you can enjoy the beauty this city has to offer.
Government House Gardens
Originally designed in 1911 by a landscape architect from Vancouver named G.K Maclean, the Government House gardens have a slightly more turbulent history than most, having been decimated by a fire in 1957. Fortunately, they were restored by British architect Robert Savery and since then have flourished, providing residents and tourists alike with a fantastic experience and beautiful sights.
The highlight of the Government House garden is its ecosystem of Garry oaks, some of which are older than any of the buildings and plots in the garden. See our previous blog for more info on these great magnificent trees!
Aside from the trees, there are 14 acres worth of gardens, with a plethora of themed gardens such as:
Victorian and Sunken Rose Gardens
English Country Gardens
The Butchart Gardens are a true modern day success story for the city of Victoria, growing from a passion project to one of the most celebrated and resplendent gardens to be found anywhere in the world.
The gardens were created and developed by Jennie Butchart, from the foundations of her husband’s former industrial quarry site. This led to the creation in 1921 of the Sunken Garden, which remains a centerpiece of the garden to this day. Over the course of the 20th century, the Gardens gradually expanded, adding more and more impressive installations, while remaining true to the ethos and original vision for the garden.
Highlights when visiting Butchart Gardens include:
The foundational piece of Butchart Gardens, and one of the first land reclamation projects of its type attempted anywhere in the world, the garden now boasts over 150 flower beds, and serene pounds, as well as a rising rock embankment at the centre that affords you spectacular panoramic views of the garden
This divinely scented garden is filled with over 280 varieties of rose! We especially recommend visiting the garden anytime between summer and early autumn, as you can take a leisurely stroll amongst the many arches - definitely the garden’s most romantic spot!
This peaceful oasis is home to over 500 rhododendrons and azalea, as well as 200 metres of streams that offer a true sense of serenity and tranquility, the perfect spot to unwind and slow things down a little bit.
There are some gardens so beautiful, they’d be fit for royalty, and in the case of the Abkhazi Gardens, this is quite literal! Created by the Georgian Prince and Princess Abkhazi after they settled in Victoria in 1946, the garden has grown since then to the hidden gem that is enjoyed by people from across the world today.
Nestled away behind the deceptively mundane hedgerows, the garden’s interior offers a fairytale transformation, with glaciated slopes and towering Garry Oak trees offering splendid views and a relaxing haven for all. Around the garden, there are a variety of Japanese maples and rhododendrons, as well as heather, irises, and daylilies.
Of course, the highlight of any trip to the Abkhazi Garden is being able to revel in its acclaimed tea house. Offering a four star service and a delicious menu with carefully created and selected dishes and seasonal produce that’s often grown within the gardens themselves, it’s the perfect way to round off any afternoon out.
The Gardens At Hatley Castle
The thing that truly sets the Hatley Gardens apart isn’t necessarily the magnificent gardens themselves—although they are a sight to behold—but the spectacular location they find themselves in. Nestled in the grounds of the historic Hatley Castle, and on the shoreline of the Esquimalt Lagoon, with views of the Olympic Mountains, these gardens are nothing short of idyllic.
Built between 1913 and 1914 by the Dunsmuir family, these are some of the most well kept and preserved Edwardian gardens in Canada.
The gardens remain largely in keeping with these original plans, and highlights include:
Reportedly the favourite garden of Laura Dunsmuir, this refined area is laid out in a symmetrical style, with wisteria-covered loggia filling the air with the scent of spring during the season.
Designed by Isaburo Kishida in 1910, and built on an incline, the upper garden is defined by the stone bordered streams that wind their way down to the lake below, with colour provided by the cherries and azaleas that were imported from nurseries in Yokohama nearly a century ago. The lower garden, completed a few years later, is spotlighted by a lake fed by natural springs, as well as vibrant pink pearl rhododendrons that hang over the water.
The Horticultural Centre of the Pacific (HCP)
The HCP is something a little different compared to previous gardens. Much more modern, it was founded in 1979 by volunteers with a focus on providing knowledge alongside beauty, and now has a reputation as a “garden for gardeners”. But don’t let that fool you, there is plenty of colour and spectacle on display here as well in this hidden gem.
With over nine acres of demonstration gardens, as well as 100 acres of conservation land, there is plenty to explore here.
Highlights of the Horticultural Centre include:
The Herb Garden
This is an area as interesting as it is relaxing, with five distinct sections, each designed to give visitors an education into each species and variety. Including design elements that take their inspiration from the monastery and cloister gardens of medieval Europe.
Birds, Bees, and Butterflies Garden
Gardens are about more than just plants, they’re a thriving ecosystem, and this garden was designed to showcase exactly that. Featuring pollen rich plants such as Crocus, Monarda, and Asters, this garden is designed as a haven for a variety of creatures.
This vibrant and colourful garden takes advantage of Victoria’s natural climate, to bring together plants from across the globe that thrive in Mediterranean conditions, as there is a modified Mediterranean climate with dry summers and wet winters here.
Native Plant Garden
One of the joys of living in an area like the Pacific Northwest is the vast riches of native flairs and fauna that are indigenous to the area. This garden is designed to provide a showcase for that, growing from 20 native species when it was first created, to over 100 species today.
Each garden offers its own unique experience and delights and no trip to Victoria would be complete without visiting at least one! There's so much to explore in this beautiful city and its surrounded area, which is why having a base with a great location and great experience is vitally important. That’s exactly what we provide with our RV haven here, so contact us today to book your spot for your next holiday!