Victoria, BC, 11 September 2012

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.

 Our path through Butchart Gardens

Our path through Butchart Gardens

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 fuchsias were popular with the photographers

The fuchsias were popular with the photographers

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.

 Sunken Garden

Sunken Garden

 Sunken Garden pond

Sunken Garden pond

 Sunken Garden

Sunken Garden

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.

 Concert lawn

Concert lawn

 Dahlias

Dahlias

 Dahlias

Dahlias

Next we wandered through the Rose Garden.

 Path through Rose Garden

Path through Rose Garden

 Sphere in Rose Garden

Sphere in 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.

 Houses for purple martins in Tod Inlet. We missed the birds by a couple days

Houses for purple martins in Tod Inlet. We missed the birds by a couple days

 Moon jellies in Brentwood Bay

Moon jellies in Brentwood Bay

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.

 Stone path in the Japanese Garden

Stone path in the Japanese Garden

 Waterfall in Japanese Garden

Waterfall in Japanese Garden

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.

 Star Pond"

Star Pond"

 Italian Garden

Italian Garden

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.