Victoria is known as The Garden City for good reason. The secret recipe includes a temperate, moist climate making an ideal growing environment for many types of plants and trees, and a high percentage of retirees who love to garden. To view beautiful Victoria gardens, you don’t necessarily need to go to a tourist attraction. Simply walk around select neighbourhoods and admire the many beautiful yards fronting the homes of avid gardeners. Many gems are hidden away from the mainstream that you can find on foot. Rockland is a perfect place to start with the Rockland self guided walking tour that explores some of the well-known heritage homes of the area.
Victoria Gardens of the Paid Variety
The large established Victoria gardens that charge admission fees are replete with beautiful and exotic plants. Famous worldwide, and one of the top Victoria attractions, the Butchart Gardens are located in a beautiful rural setting at Brentwood Bay in Central Saanich. Close to one million people visit the gardens every year, and over one million bedding plants yearly ensure constant bloom from March through October.
The Abkhazi Garden is a beautiful one-acre garden in Fairfield just minutes from downtown. Prince Nicolas and Princess Peggy Abkhazi owned the property. Well known for the Rhododendron Woodland section, the gardens include features such as the flowing Yangtze River, The Summerhouse and the East Path. The Abkhazis have passed on, but The Land Conservancy of BC bought the property and carry on the Abkhazis legacy. Admission is by donation.
Victoria Gardens of the Free Variety
The gardens at Government House, home to the Lieutenant Governor are well worth the trip as not only are they are free to the public from dawn to dusk, but they are quite spectacular with various sections showcasing different themes including lilies, roses and rhododendron.
Green thumbs should visit the beautiful grounds and gardens of Hatley Castle in Colwood. Hatley Park, a National Historic Site, is home to Hatley Castle and Royal Roads University. The large formal Edwardian garden encompasses part of the 229 ha (565 acre) grounds and comprises formal Italian, Japanese and rose gardens.
Glendale Gardens, with nine acres of spectacular gardens displays over 10,000 varieties, many of which are labelled. Included are the Takata Japanese Gardens, showcasing a westernized version of a Japanese “stroll garden”.
Beacon Hill Park is a mix of formal, well-tended gardens that border natural ecosystems filled with native wildflowers and trees. The park hosts the remains of native Garry oak ecosystems present in the Beacon Hill area as well as large fir and arbutus trees.
The free Finnerty Gardens located at the University of Victoria have one of Canada’s largest collections of rhododendrons and contains over 4000 different trees and shrubs. The 2.6 ha site contains tranquil ponds, a network of winding paths and frequent benches for relaxing and enjoying the serenity.
Remember that there are many free Victoria gardens tucked away in all corners of the city. Have fun exploring!