Updated: May 21, 2015
Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, Canada:Butchart Gardens is an amazing place on Vancouver Island, Canada. You can easily stay near Victoria, BC or simply take the ferry from Vancouver or Washington state over for the day to visit the gardnes. The garden draws close to 1 million visitors each year who come to witness the spectacular colors and flower varieties (700) that bloom from March until October. I have been lucky enough to visit Butchart Gardens both in early spring and the fall season. Both times were memorable, although I prefer spring time better. There are 55 acres within the gardens for your viewing pleasure and the 50 gardeners on site do a terrific job of making sure what is in bloom stands out. In spring you can expect to see vibrant colors from the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. The perennials and annuals come out in the summer when the days are the longest and the temperatures the warmest. In Autumn, the Japanese garden will delight you with brilliant colors of leaves changing colors before they drop to the ground. One of my favorite things to see besides the flowers is the Italian Garden right near the Dining Room restaurant.
Two hours is sufficient time to spend at Butchart Gardens not including lunch or dinner. There is an excellent Butchart Garden map located HERE with a layout of the grounds. All of the major attractions like the Italian Garden, Japanese Garden, Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, and Fireworks viewing area are clearly marked. We strongly suggest taking a look at the map before heading to the gardens (you do get a map when you enter). The fireworks show is a great finish to any day at Butchart Gradens with shows offered only during the summer months (Saturday nights). The official website for Butchart Gardens already has the dates listed for the upcoming summer. The fireworks start as early as 8:45PM and as late as 10:15 PM so check with the website before committing to staying for the show. Weather can be very erratic on Vancouver Island so always bring a jacket in case the weather turns. Both times I have been there the sun was out and we were very fortunate. However, I have heard many of my parents friends say the wet weather definitely effected their trip and cut short their time in the gardens because they will ill-prepared. When deciding on what time of year to visit, keep in mind that they have roughly 5 seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn, Christmas, and Spring prelude. Each offers something totally different from the other and we suggest going online to Butchartgardens.com for an explanation of each season and read up on which types of flowers and plants will be in bloom for your visit. If you have never been, try planning a trip to Victoria, BC or Vancouver, Canada so that you will have easy access to the gardens (see below on directions of how to get there). I have toured several gardens around the world and Butchart ranks right up there in terms of floral varieties, colors, and beauty. There are 2 restaurants and 1 coffee shop to choose from for meal options or drinks.