After the frustrations of trying to get to a seminar and being thwarted by weather and airline actions, Jey-hu and I decided to ship out on the first ferry to Canada - which meant getting up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday to be in Anacortes, WA by 6:30 a.m. (groan!) The low-lying clouds of the morning lifted by mid-day and we had a sunny, albeit brisk passage to Sydney, BC on the island of Vancouver. The three-hour trip winds through the San Juan Islands, with the ferry making a couple of stops along the way. Although there are 172 islands total, only three are really large enough for regular tourist travel - San Juan, Orcas and Lopez. Pets that travel are not allowed up on the passenger deck and the expression on this dog's face just caught at my heart. His mistress was sitting reading a book and I don't think she saw me taking his picture.
Our initial plan was just to go and see where we ended up, knowing that we had an invitation to a picnic later in the afternoon near Elk/Beaver Lake south of Sydney. We had both heard about the Butchart Gardens, a Canadian National Heritage Site now, and made this our first stop of the day. What a great choice! So many flowers were in bloom, it was hard to decide whether to visit the Japanese Garden first or the Sunken Garden. But since we had to make our way through the Rose Garden, we really stopped and smelled the flowers there first.
Over 150 acres of land were owned by the Butchart family when they operated a Portland cement plant on the property, and today approximately 55 acres is still available to walk through. Just this year an electric powered boat started offering 45 minute tours of the outer edges the property that borders on the Tod Inlet near Victoria on Vancouver Island and while the price was affordable, we didn't have the time this time to do that. We definitely plan to go back and include that tour on the next visit.
I've heard people remark - before visiting this site - "Oh, it's just a bunch of flowers..." Yes, it is. But it is the truly remarkable effect of color, scent and design that makes the whole walk around each of the themed gardens so impressive. I'm only including a few of the over 200 shots we both took trying to capture the feeling and immensity of years of creating by Jennie Butchart that went on to make this place worthy of a day's visit. Below you can see some of the hundreds of people who were making their way down steps into the Sunken Garden, which
was once used as a quarry. Be sure to go to the link I've provided to learn more about the history of this most unusual botanical adventure and perhaps make your own plans to go and visit it. I took lots of pictures of roses, thinking about my bestest friend in O'Brien, Florida, who loves
roses, too. But this rose was one of the more colorful AND scented options - so sorry, I just don't remember the name of it. I am always on the search for "Sterling Silver," an old rose with a lavender hue and very strong scent. Amazingly, I didn't find one of those there, but some obvious crosses which must have included elements of my favorite because of the color and hint of smell that reminded me of it. I will report on the rest of the day in my next entry... glorious all in all!