Our second day in Victoria centered around Butchart Gardens. We got up early enough to shower, eat breakfast, and head out to the bus stop. We decided to take the bus since the tours give you a couple hours at the gardens, and we figured we would want to stay longer than that. Ends up a couple who was sitting next to us at breakfast was also at the bus stop, but they started on a different bus than we did (we were waiting for the express). Ends up they got off and transferred onto the bus we were on; we saw them once or twice in the gardens, too.
We wandered over most of the gardens, and I ended up taking a lot of pictures, as you can see on the map. One of the pamphlets we got at the entrance had a suggested walking tour, which we followed. There were several people there already (we got there about an hour after they opened) but it was pretty quiet for the first couple hours we were there.
The first major garden we saw was the Sunken Garden, which used to be a limestone quarry. One of the most striking features is the mound in the middle, which we were told was left because it contained limestone which was of lesser quality.
After walking past the carousel and concert lawn, we wandered through the dahlias, which were in full bloom and drawing oohs and ahhs from everyone walking by.
Next we wandered through the Rose Garden.
We then started walking through the Japanese Garden, but part way through decided to check out the boat tour. As we walked up, we saw a boat pulling out, but got tickets for the next one. Since we had a half hour, we dove back into the Japanese Garden to check out a few things, then went back down to the dock. Joining us on the boat were another couple from Washington (Morton, a couple hours south of Seattle) and a couple from Long Beach, CA. Small world. As you can see from the map, we went quite a ways on the boat, and enjoyed the stories and facts given to us from the guide.
Since we got off the boat after 1pm, we walked straight through the Japanese and Italian Gardens, straight to the restaurant to grab lunch. We ate pretty quickly (both of us were pretty hungry) and went back down to the Japanese Garden to finish walking around.
Next up was the Star Pond and Italian Garden. There was a gelato stand there, so we played tourist and sat down to eat some scoops.
The last stop was the Mediterranean Garden, featuring plants which thrive in the local climate (which is similar to ours). We waited about 10 minutes for the bus home, and once back downtown, settled in our room to relax for the rest of the afternoon. It was nice to relax after such a long excursion, but we did wander out to eat Thai food. The rest of the evening was low key, including double-checking on plans for the next day.