Stef and his friend Charli did not have to be dragged kicking and screaming to Butchart Gardens. Charli has great taste.
In 1888 Robert Pim Butchart began to manufacture cement in Owen Sound but moved to British Columbia because they found rich deposits of limestone in the area. In 1904 he and his wife Jennie established a home here on Vancouver Island.
As Theodore Roetke said “deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”
In 1907 they hired 65-year old Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama of Japane to design a Japanese Garden for them. In 1909 when the quarry was exhausted they set about turning what was left into a Sunken Garden. Nowadays they would turn it into a golf course. It took 12 years to complete.
In 1909, when the limestone quarry was exhausted, Jennie set about turning it into the Sunken Garden, which was completed in 1921.
In 1926 they turned their tennis courts into an Italian garden. In 1929 they converted their vegetable garden into a rose garden. It has won awards for the best rose garden in North America.
In 1929 they gave the gardens to their grandson Ian Ross for his 21stbirthday. Not a bad birthday gift. Sure beats what we gave our grandchildren.
I love the views of the sunken garden from above
I was surprised to learn that the gardens are still privately owned by the Butchart family. Currently one of the great great granddaughters of the original owners is the operator. We have a lot for which we must be grateful to them.
William Blake said, “eternity is in love with the productions of time.”