gardens in victoria

Besides being the Crown Jewel of British Columbia, Victoria is also known as the City of Gardens, and for a good reason. With one of the most temperate climates in Canada, Victoria has plenty of plants that thrive here. Their beauty is seen in the hundreds of personal and public gardens that tourists and locals enjoy spending time in. Some can be visited all year round. Most people have heard of the famous Butchart Gardens, but there are many other garden treasures in this beautiful British Columbia capital city, such as those featured below.

Photo By: Sam Vandervalk

Butchart Gardens

Finding its 1900s beginnings as a humble, limestone quarry, the Butchart Gardens thrived under the green thumb of Jennie Butchart. Although the gardens struggled after her death, they were reborn in 1946 with the arrival of Jennie’s grandson, Ian Ross, and his wife, Ann Lee. It is now one of the top garden attractions in Canada.

Under the Butchart family name, the gardens have continued to grow. Today, the 55 acres contain the original quarry, known as the Sunken Garden, a magnificent Rose Garden and popular Japanese, Italian and Mediterranean Gardens.

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More than just a place for looking at plants, the area also contains cafes, fountains, totem poles, restaurants and even a carousel! Featuring many different and beautiful displays depending on the season and even a concert and firework lawn, the Butchart Gardens are an ever changing experience. It’s an attraction worth visiting any time of the year.

In fact, they are consistently listed under many Top Things to Do in Victoria lists and should not be missed.

Photo By: Gord Handford

Abkhazi Garden

The Abkhazi Garden has both a unique history and design that make the heritage home, teahouse and garden a popular spot to visit. Not only does its location create an escape from the city, it possesses a dramatic and natural landscape.It features glacial rocky outcrops, incredible Garry oaks and a secluded Teahouse. The teahouse itself is a beautiful display of West Coast design.

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As a romantic twist, historically, the Abkhazi Garden is the child of Prince and Princess Abkhazi, war-torn lovers of WWII.  The garden came to be in 1946 after they were finally reunited in Victoria.

The couple grew the fantastic west coast features of the garden together for almost forty years until their deaths. After, it was purchased by the Land Conservancy. Today, it is well loved by both tourists and Victoria locals.

Photo By: © Natulive Canada

Finnerty Gardens

With its University of Victoria location, the Finnerty Gardens see plenty of visitors including students, professors, tourists and other locals. The 6.5-acre plot is tended by a group known as the Finnerty Garden Friends, UVic Alumni and community members. Visitors will find over 200 species of rhododendrons (some of them over 6m in height), thousands of azaleas and over 4,000 different trees and shrubs in the gardens.

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Through careful planning and development, the paths, ponds and inviting benches provide rich diversity in scent, colour and display all year round. The best time to visit for the rhododendrons is in May. However, the ever-changing gardens are a treat at any time of the year.

Pair the garden visit with a tour of UVic, or check out the nearby boutiques and beach of the Cadboro Bay to enjoy a well-rounded day in the area.

Hanging Flower Baskets

A famous Victoria trademark since 1937, the hanging flower baskets that adorn Victoria’s downtown lampposts from June to September signify the beginning of Summer. They also add even more colour to the already bright waterfront city core. The beautiful sun baskets, as they are called, each possess a total of 25 plants and include 9 different varieties.

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Carefully designed for the warmer temperatures and to bloom until early September, these local, nursery grown plants fill about 1,350 baskets that are constructed over four weeks. The arrangements are hard to miss.  They are yet another display of the beautiful plant life the mild climate of Vancouver Island affords. Plus, they bring a smile to the faces of all those in the area.

Photo By: Martin Smith

44-Hectare Horticulture Centre

The Horticulture Centre is both a giant garden and teaching center. The not-for-profit has the goal of creating not only a recognized botanical garden but also a place of conservation, research and learning. Spanning 44-hectares of land, the vision is steadily making its way towards being a reality. It already has 21 gardens and 2 parks. The Conservation park covers 100 acres and is free to the public. It has many cycling trails, bird watching platforms and second-growth Douglas firs that surround the wetland and trails.

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The Outerbridge Park is a wildlife and bird sanctuary. The many other gardens include the 3 B’s Garden (Birds, Bees and Butterflies), and Takata Japanese/Zen, Bonsai and Mediterranean gardens. To see it all, more than a few visits are in order. However, it is well worth the time. The Horticulture Centre is both an educational and beautiful outing.

Photo By: Sam Vandervalk

Butterfly Gardens

If you’re already planning to visit the Butchart Gardens, then the Butterfly Gardens are a must-see along the way. Just 5 minutes from their famous neighbour, this 12,000sqft enclosure is a tropical jungle. It is home to thousands of free-to-fly butterflies, as well as various amphibians (and a chameleon!), tropical birds and flamingoes, tortoises and turtles and giant koi. Enjoy hundreds of blooming tropical plants and watch the carnivorous plants feed in the carnivorous plant display.

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For something a little different from the traditional gardens in Victoria, the Butterfly Gardens are a great spot.

Many of Victoria’s parks also feature amazing plants and well-kept gardens within. Check out our Parks page to find more hidden gems!

Photo By: Ye Lu

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