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The Butchart Chronicles : February 23, 2018

Flower and Garden Report February 23rd – March 1st, 2018

Flower & Garden Report February 23– March 1 2018

By Thea Hegland


Winter_Day_.jpg

The thing about winter is that it can be relentless. Just when you start feeling bold and daring, tempted to put out some tender spring plants in the garden, a cold snap will roar in and remind us – winter is not over yet. Well, the good thing is that these cold winter days are actually very beautiful, especially with the trees and the powerful presence they have in The Gardens.

A recent snowfall captured the simple elegance of the trees. Most awe - inspiring is the collection of Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) found throughout the grounds. Simply the best, the Japanese maples offer such incredible year-round interest. Considered an essential garden structure plant, these treasures are always stunning. Collected for well over one hundred years, these mature trees are curiously laden with lichen and moss. Perhaps the best display of Acer palmatum is within the Japanese Garden; now barren and dormant covered in snow, they are absolutely captivating.

After a winter walk in the garden, venture inside and enjoy the amazing Spring Prelude. It’s warm, welcoming and full of flowers to enjoy. Highlights this week include flowering Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria) with its fragrant blue flowers, Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush) with its delicate umbel of reddish orange fragrant flowers and the ever sweet Convallaria (Lily- of-the- valley).

Regardless of when you visit The Gardens there is always something to see. That’s just the way it is, constantly evolving from one season to the next as the plant life presents its many stages of beauty.

Spring_Prelude1.jpg
Plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:

• Abeliophyllum distichum (White forsythia)
• Aucuba japonica (Spotted laurel)
• Bellis (English daisy)
• Bergenia (Elephant’s ears)
• Camellia
• Correa (Australian fuchsia)
• Cotoneaster
• Crocus
• Cyclamen
• Daphne odora
• Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush)
• Erianthus (Winter aconite)
• Erica (Heather
• Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop)
• Garrya elliptica (Silk- tassel bush)
• Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
• Helleborus (Christmas rose)
• Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)
• Jasminium nudiflorum (Winter jasmine)
• Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (Oregon grape)
• Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo)
• Narcissus (Daffodil)
• Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
• Orchid
• Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
• Pansy
• Pieris (Lily -of - the valley shrub)
• Polyanthus (Primula)
• Pyracantha
• Rhododendron
• Sarcococca (Christmas box)
• Skimmia japonica
• Tulipa
• Viburnum x bodnantense
• Viburnum tinus
• Viola

Indoor plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:

• Amaryllis
• Anthurium (Flamingo flower)
• Azalea
• Bromeliad
• Camellia
• Convallaria (Lily-of-the-valley)
• Crocus
• Cyclamen
• Daphne odora (Winter daphne)
• Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush)

Spring_Prelude.jpg

 
The Butchart Chronicles : February 16, 2018

Flower and Garden Report February 16th - 22nd

Flower and Garden Report February 16th – 22nd, 2018

By Thea Hegland

It feels much more like spring than winter these days. Gorgeous drifts of dainty pure white Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop) can be found amongst the trees and shrubs. Mass plantings of Crocus in a rainbow of colour paint the garden canvas. The sweet scents of Sarcococca (Christmas box) and Daphne odora fill the garden air. Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ with bright pink flowers can be found throughout the garden walk, while early blooming Narcissus (Daffodil) with their sunny yellow trumpet blooms lift the spirits. Prunus cerasifera (Flowering plum) is laden with flower buds ready to burst into bloom. Bulbs rising through the earth in tight bud... all the signs of a beautiful spring to come!
 
If the gorgeous gardens could possibly leave you wanting more there is the Spring Prelude! An absolute feast for the senses, the stunning indoor garden has it all: carefully crafted garden features and a mix of tropical and local favorites. Spectacular flowering trees and shrubs from Magnolia, Cercis, Prunus, Ribes, Wisteria, Loropetalum and Camellia are all blooming now. Flower beds filled with Tulips, Narcissus, Hyacinth, Crocus, Iris and Primula give a spring tease of what one will find outdoors in the months ahead.

Plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest

• Abeliophyllum distichum (White forsythia)
• Aucuba japonica (Spotted laurel)
• Bellis (English daisy)
• Bergenia (Elephant’s ears)
• Camellia
• Correa (Australian fuchsia)
• Cotoneaster
• Crocus
• Cyclamen 
• Daphne odora
• Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush)
• Erianthus (Winter aconite)
• Erica (Heather
• Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop)
• Garrya elliptica (Silk- tassel bush)
• Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
• Helleborus (Christmas rose)
• Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)
• Jasminium nudiflorum (Winter jasmine)
• Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (Oregon grape)
• Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo)
• Narcissus (Daffodil)
• Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
• Orchid
• Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
• Pansy
• Pieris (Lily -of - the valley shrub)
• Polyanthus (Primula)
• Pyracantha
• Rhododendron
• Sarcococca (Christmas box)
• Skimmia japonica
• Tulipa
• Viburnum x bodnantense
• Viburnum tinus
• Viola 

Indoor plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest


• Amaryllis
• Anthurium (Flamingo flower)
• Azalea
• Bromeliad 
• Camellia
• Convallaria (Lily-of-the-valley)
• Crocus
• Cyclamen 
• Daphne odora (Winter daphne)
• Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush)
• Erica (Heather
• Forsythia
• Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
• Helleborus (Christmas rose)
• Iris reticulata 
• Kalanchoe
• Loropetalum chinese ‘Razzleberri’
• Magnolia x soulangeana (Saucer magnolia)
• Medinilla magnifica
• Narcissus (Daffodil)
• Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
• Orchid
• Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
• Pansy
• Pieris (Lily -of - the valley shrub)
• Polyanthus (Primula)
• Prunus (Flowering plum)
• Ribes ( Flowering currant)
• Sarcococca (Christmas box)
• Sciadopitys verticillate (Japanese umbrella pine)
• Skimmia japonica
• Stromanthe
• Tulipa
• Viburnum x bodnantense
• Viburnum tinus
• Viola
• Wisteria

 
The Butchart Chronicles : February 2, 2018

Flower and Garden Report February 3rd - 15th

Flower and Garden Report February 2nd–15th,  2018

By Thea Hegland, Horticultural Assistant

It’s the middle of winter in the garden and everything is as it should be. At least for now. It seems to be a classic West Coast mild winter, without the dramatic weather we have experienced in recent past winters, that throw the plant life into a tailspin.

There are lots of winter flowering shrubs and flowers to provide the visitor with garden envy and perhaps inspire a visit to a local nursery. Our ‘Winter garden’ in the Sequoia grove is just beginning its seasonal show. Highlights include Abeliophyllum distichum (White forsythia) and the ever-fragrant Daphne odora (Winter daphne) which are loaded with flower buds ready to burst. An extensive selection of Helleborus (Hellebore) can be found in this area. Ranging from single flowering Hellebore to gorgeous double flowering varieties in shades of white, pale pink, chartreuse green and dark purple.

Indoors, it is the amazing Amaryllis that steals the show, with a bounty of a large trumpet-shaped flowers in a stunning array of colours. These beauties can be found inside the Spring Prelude garden, the photo window, and the Butchart Residence. In the Spring Prelude things have really burst into bloom; from Hyacinth, Narcissus, Tulips to Magnolias. My favorite is the most beautiful flowering plum, Prunus x blireana with gorgeous, double pink blooms.

From February 7th -11th, The Butchart Gardens will have a display at The Northwest Flower and Garden Show at The Seattle Convention Centre. If you're in the area, come by and see our exhibit to get a glimpse of what we have to offer at The Gardens.

Plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:

  • Abeliophyllum distichum (White forsythia)
  • Aucuba japonica (Spotted laurel)
  • Bellis (English daisy)
  • Bergenia (Elephant’s ears)
  • Camellia
  • Correa (Australian fuchsia)
  • Cotoneaster
  • Crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Erianthus (Winter aconite)
  • Erica (Heather
  • Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop)
  • Garrya elliptica (Silk- tassel bush)
  • Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
  • Helleborus (Christmas rose)
  • Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)
  • Jasminium nudiflorum (Winter jasmine)
  • Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (Oregon grape)
  • Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo)
  • Narcissus (Daffodil)
  • Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
  • Orchid
  • Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
  • Pansy
  • Pieris (Lily -of - the valley shrub)
  • Polyanthus (Primula)
  • Pyracantha
  • Sarcococca (Christmas box)
  • Skimmia japonica
  • Tulipa
  • Viburnum x bodnantense
  • Viburnum tinus
  • Viola

 Indoor plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:

  • Amaryllis
  • Anthurium (Flamingo flower)
  • Azalea
  • Bromeliad
  • Camellia
  • Convallaria (Lily-of-the-valley)
  • Crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Daphne odora (Winter daphne)
  • Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush)
  • Erica (Heather
  • Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
  • Helleborus (Christmas rose)
  • Iris reticulata
  • Kalanchoe
  • Loropetalum chinese ‘Razzleberri’
  • Magnolia x soulangeana (Saucer magnolia)
  • Medinilla magnifica
  • Narcissus (Daffodil)
  • Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
  • Orchid
  • Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
  • Pansy
  • Pieris (Lily-of-the valley shrub)
  • Polyanthus (Primula)
  • Prunus (Flowering plum)
  • Sarcococca (Christmas box)
  • Sciadopitys verticillate (Japanese umbrella pine)
  • Skimmia japonica
  • Stromanthe
  • Tulipa
  • Viburnum x bodnantense
  • Viburnum tinus
  • Viola

 
The Butchart Chronicles : January 29, 2018

Flower and Garden Report January 27th - February 2nd

Flower and Garden Report January 27th - February 2nd  2018 

By Thea Hegland, Horticultural Assistant

This dynamic garden is never static; always planning ahead, our gardeners navigate with ease as one season transitions into the next. Winter is a busy time for the gardeners. It is a time for major projects, pruning of trees and shrubs, mulching garden beds, repairing paths and rejuvenating tired flower beds. Behind the scenes, the greenhouse staff are preparing for what is essentially the busiest time of the year.

From about mid-February through mid-June it seems to be go, go, go. Plant propagation is a science and they are skilled at what they do. Seeds are sown, cuttings taken, greenhouses prepared and the environments closely monitored. Plants need to be potted and fertilized accordingly. Carefully calculated numbers are determined and timing is everything. No pressure at all….
 
The weather has been relatively mild resulting in some very pleasant daytime temperatures for January, allowing new flowers to suddenly appear here and there in the garden beds. The indoor Spring Prelude Garden is well-established for the season and The Historical Display in the former Butchart residence provides an abundance of things to marvel at.

The display, which is open for viewing each day through March 15th, offers incredible insight on the development of The Gardens. Amongst the historical photographs and handwritten garden plans by Jennie Butchart herself, you will discover many treasures and fascinating facts about the Butchart family as you tour the grand residence.
 
Afternoon tea was very important to Jennie Butchart. It was considered a highlight of the day, when one could just relax and savor the rewards of the garden with a warm cup of tea and some delectable treats. Jennie Butchart served tea to many visitors in her time in the original teahouse overlooking the Japanese Garden. Today, the traditional tea is served inside the Butchart residence in the conservatory, filled with an incredible variety Orchids, Amaryllis and other flowering wonders.
 
What a perfect way to cap off the day at The Gardens!
 
Plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:
 
• Aucuba japonica (Spotted laurel)
• Bellis (English daisy)
• Bergenia (Elephant’s ears)
• Camellia
• Correa (Australian fuchsia)
• Cotoneaster
• Crocus
• Cyclamen 
• Erica (Heather
• Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop)
• Garrya elliptica (Silk- tassel bush)
• Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
• Helleborus (Christmas rose)
• Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)
• Jasminium nudiflorum (Winter jasmine)
• Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (Oregon grape)
• Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo)
• Narcissus (Daffodil)
• Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
• Orchid
• Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
• Pansy
• Pieris (Lily -of - the valley shrub)
• Polyanthus (Primula)
• Pyracantha
• Sarcococca (Christmas box)
• Skimmia japonica
• Tulipa
• Viburnum x bodnantense
• Viburnum tinus
• Viola
 
 Indoor plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:
 
• Amaryllis
• Anthurium (Flamingo flower)
• Azalea
• Bromeliad 
• Camellia
• Crocus
• Cyclamen 
• Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush)
• Erica (Heather
• Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
• Helleborus (Christmas rose)
• Kalanchoe
• Loropetalum chinese ‘Razzleberri’
• Medinilla magnifica
• Narcissus (Daffodil)
• Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
• Orchid
• Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
• Pansy
• Pieris (Lily -of - the valley shrub)
• Polyanthus (Primula)
• Prunus (Flowering plum)
• Sarcococca (Christmas box)
• Sciadopitys verticillate (Japanese umbrella pine)
• Skimmia japonica
• Stromanthe
• Tulipa
• Viburnum x bodnantense
• Viburnum tinus
• Viola

 
The Butchart Chronicles : January 19, 2018

Flower and Garden Report January 15th – 26th, 2018

Garden Report for the period of January 15th- 26th 2018

By Thea Hegland, Horticultural Assistant

Spring_Prelude.jpg

Spring has arrived to The Gardens; well, at least indoors. The eagerly anticipated and much loved annual Spring Prelude indoor garden display has opened for the season this week and once again, it has the ability to lift the spirits and inspire. The phenomenal display features an eclectic collection of unique garden art and water features, rotating flower beds, flowering trees and shrubs.

As you enter the garden you will stroll through a sultry jungle filled with a wide variety of tropical plants with colours and textures that evoke a sense of mystic.  Bold and beautiful Phalaenopsis Orchids, Bromeliads, Anthurium and Kalanchoe stand out amongst the lush foliage.

Around the next corner flower beds filled with Tulips, Daffodils and Polyanthus brighten up a winter day amongst the classic West Coast flora. Featuring a spectacular pond
surrounded by Rhododendrons, a variety of evergreen shrubs and Loropetalum chinese ‘Razzelberri’. A walk on the bridge over the pond provides a perfect platform for viewing the Koi fish that swim happily in the indoor oasis.

Perhaps the reason that you come visit the Butchart Gardens in the not so dull days of winter is The Spring Prelude, you will also find yourself pleasantly surprised with what you encounter in The Gardens themselves. Many shrubs offer early winter blooms. Delicate aromatic flowers can be found on Viburnum bodnatense and Hamamelis (Witch hazel). Fuzzy, soft silvery flower buds on the Magnolia trees promise to reveal magnificent blooms come spring. The first Narcissus (Daffodils) have emerged while early blooming Camellia flowers shine amongst the textured and varied evergreen trees and shrubs.

With new and exciting things happening each week in The Gardens you can always count on being easily amused!

Spring_Prelude_2017_-_DSC_1235.JPG1.jpg
Plants, trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:
•    Aucuba japonica (Spotted laurel)
•    Bellis (English daisy)
•    Bergenia (Elephant’s ears)
•    Camellia
•    Correa (Australian fuchsia)
•    Cotoneaster
•    Crocus
•    Cyclamen
•    Erica (Heather
•    Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop)
•    Garrya elliptica (Silk- tassel bush)
•    Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
•    Helleborus (Christmas rose)
•    Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)
•    Jasminium nudiflorum (Winter jasmine)
•    Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (Oregon grape)
•    Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo)
•    Narcissus (Daffodil)
•    Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
•    Orchid
•    Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
•    Pansy
•    Pieris (Lily -of - the valley shrub)
•    Polyanthus (Primula)
•    Pyracantha
•    Sarcococca (Christmas box)
•    Skimmia japonica
•    Tulipa
•    Viburnum x bodnantense
•    Viburnum tinus
•    Viola

Indoor plants (Spring Prelude) trees and shrubs that are blooming or of interest:
•    Anthurium (Flamingo flower)
•    Azalea
•    Bromeliad
•    Camellia
•    Crocus
•    Cyclamen
•    Erica (Heather
•    Hamamelis (Witch hazel)
•    Helleborus (Christmas rose)
•    Kalanchoe
•    Loropetalum chinese ‘Razzleberri’
•    Medinilla magnifica
•    Narcissus (Daffodil)
•    Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
•    Orchid
•    Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
•    Pansy
•    Pieris (Lily-of-the valley shrub)
•    Polyanthus (Primula)
•    Sarcococca (Christmas box)
•    Sciadopitys verticillate (Japanese umbrella pine)
•    Skimmia japonica
•    Stromanthe
•    Tulipa
•    Viburnum x bodnantense
•    Viburnum tinus
•    Viola

Spring_Prelude1.jpg

 
The Butchart Chronicles : January 18, 2018

Exclusive to 12 Month Pass Holders: Special Valentine's Day Dinner

When: Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Cost: $95 per person, tables for 2 only
wine pairings available

(Excludes taxes and gratuities)

Where: Spring Prelude indoor garden

RESERVATIONS: We began taking reservations on Monday, January 22nd, 9:00 am
250-652-4422 ext 320. Payment will be collected at time of reservation.


blog_Spring_in_the_Spring_Prelude.JPG

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Dinner for Two in a Spring Garden Oasis

Love is in the air at The Butchart Gardens - and especially so on Wednesday, February 14th when we offer a special Valentine's Dinner exclusively for 12 month pass holders.*
*Person reserving must have a valid 12 month pass at time of booking and for the event.

You'll understand when you see the beautiful tables set for two in the Spring Prelude Indoor Garden, why this adult-only special event sells out fast. 

Valentine's Day
To make a reservation, please call 250-652-4422 ext 320. We began taking reservations Monday January 22nd at 9am and the tables are filling up fast! Payment will be taken at time of booking.

  • This is a set menu dinner (only a gluten-free version can be substituted, and must be noted at time of reservation) Please note: the menu is subject to change

  • Cost: $95 per person (taxes & gratuity not included). Wine pairings available
  • Seating times are between 6:00pm - 6:45pm, based on availability (tables for two only)
  • At least one person at the table must present a valid 12 Month Pass to the admission gate upon arrival
  • Plan to arrive to The Gardens no more than 15 minutes prior to your reservation time. Both The Gardens and The Seed & Gift Store are closed at 4:30pm and will not be open for viewing or shopping during this event
  • The admission gate will be open at 5:45pm to welcome the 6:00pm reservations
  • If you are planning on arranging a taxi or dial a driver service, please do so in advance and provide the company with your contact number so they are able to notify you upon their arrival

Please note:  The Gardens are 100% smoke (and vapour) free. 


Valentine's Day

Valentines_collage.png

Valentine's Day

 
The Butchart Chronicles : January 16, 2018

Garden Notebook - Winter 2018

Garden Notebook – Winter 2018

By Rick Los, Director of Horticulture

This time of year is unique as we have both an indoor and outdoor garden open for visitors. Here's the details about both.

Indoor Spring Prelude

This year marks the 20th edition of our spectacular Spring Prelude indoor garden display as it was in January of 1999 that we initiated this concept. It really did begin as a concept without a formal plan to become what we are showcasing today - which is 20 years of evolving artistry and continuous refinement. Each year our talented staff strive to reinvent and reinvigorate this intimate garden experience to help lift our spirits and inspire us during the winter months.    

You may be thinking (or maybe not) how and why we first initiated this indoor garden display. Well, some of you may recall the famous blizzard of December 1996, where we had over a meter of snow fall in our region over a 24-hour period. The snow devastated many areas of the garden, including our greenhouses and remained with us for a long time. With the gardens submerged in this unusually deep white blanket, any visit to the garden was not quite as memorable as we would have preferred - or at least memorable in the ways that we would have preferred!

Therefore, in order to help alleviate any potential of unsatisfactory visits during our winter months, we came up with an idea to create a beautiful indoor garden for our visitors to enjoy – no matter what the weather conditions were outside. However, we did have a bit of an issue as the only facility available for us to create the garden was a restaurant! This didn’t deter us and once the transformation is complete, I don’t think that most people would even know that the Spring Prelude facility is (or was) a restaurant as there are no traces of a restaurant to be found anywhere inside! This beautiful conservatory-like restaurant facility lends itself quite well to a garden - a meticulous garden that is miraculously installed in just seven days!

Each year we have focused on a couple of different themes ranging from tropical borders accented with exotic orchids, to a temperate area which features an amazing range of more familiar plant material that is forced into bloom. The idea of different themes was intended to provide as much diversity as we could to try and satisfy the desires of as many of our visitors as possible. It’s very hard to begin to describe in detail the beauty of the display as it is truly a sensory experience – which in essence, also means that every individual will experience it in their own personal way.  


Over the past 20 years this spectacular creation has become a focal point of our winter garden experience and we sincerely hope that you have a chance to experience this beauty for yourself.

Outside Gardens

The garden is delightful during the winter months and is still the highlight of any visit – even with the competition that the indoor Spring Prelude display provides. Contrary to what most people may think, you can still find flowers in the garden regardless of what the weather conditions may be. However, in contrast with the warmer seasons, you may have to look for the flowers as in many cases they may not be very conspicuous to a casual garden observer.  

To give you an idea of the plants which we find delightful at this time of year, we have an abundance of Daphne, Edgeworthia, Mahonia, Witch Hazel, Viburnum (bodnantense), Sarcococca, Hellebore and Galanthus (Snow drops) that dependably bloom for us. We even have some rogue Narcissus (daffodils) that have begun blooming for us early in December when the weather conditions have been favorable.

As we move in the latter part of January and through February the anticipation of spring builds as subtle changes become less subtle on an almost daily basis. Crocuses probably provide the boldest seasonal impact with their striking colours and by late February they have made their presence very evident throughout the gardens. The earliest of our cherry trees begin to bloom in early March and their beauty is accentuated with pockets and/or waves of reticulata Eranthis, Iris, Scilla, Anemone blanda, Chionodoxa and Narcissus as well as many other early blooming bulbs, perennials and shrubs. Of course, this all should (emphasis on should!) bloom in harmony with our carefully planned display borders of biennials and bulbs which are perhaps the most well-known and well-loved features of our late winter garden.   

I thought that it would be fitting to provide you with a paraphrased quote that we received from one of our visitors last year.

“What I liked, however, was the garden without the crowds and that we were forced to look for the flowers and to consider the small details. The topiaries we may have otherwise overlooked as well as the water features, rocks and moss-covered trees. The beautiful stone paths, the sculptures, the tiny bulbs just starting to sprout. It’s true, there is always something to see and appreciate here – the gardens are always a treasure.”

It’s always very rewarding to hear these sentiments from a visitor, as even though we may feel the same way, it’s truly the feelings that our visitors experience during their visit that are the most important to us.

That being said, we trust that our garden will delight you at this time of the year. If you do visit and need any gardening questions answered or need help identifying any winter blooming plants, our knowledgeable team of gardeners are always more than willing to provide any assistance that they can.

 
The Butchart Chronicles : January 16, 2018

Evolution of The Seed & Gift Store

The Blue Poppy seeds sold in the Seed & Gift Store are still cultivated on the property and the tradition of hand packaging continues.

Seeds and Their History at the Seed and Gift Store

The original purpose of the Seed Store, now The Seed and Gift Store, was to package and sell seed from plants grown in the seed fields of Jennie Butchart's garden. Jennie opened the Seedhouse in 1920, with the first Benvenuto Seed Catalogue being issued at that time. Back then, seeds were only available by mail order.

Seed_sorter_DSC_9688.JPG

"The Clipper" was purchased for $50 in 1929


You may have noticed the field to your left when you're arriving and approaching the admission gates, or the left when you are driving out. This large lawn area between the entrance and exit roads was called the "Seed Field", where seeds were collected, dried and then seeds and finer chaff were separated by "The Clipper". The machine, pictured above, tumbled the seeds through a screen of varying mesh depending on the size of the seed. It separated the chaff by the agitation of tiny paddles then deposited it to the bottom box for disposal.

It was a time-consuming process of hand packaging, so a "Ballard Seed Packaging Machine" was purchased in 1975 from Concord, Massachusetts. It turned out to be a short-lived experiment as it was difficult to calibrate. The process using a high powered machine was quite daunting and the ladies in the Seed & Gift Shop went back to utilizing their tables in the store during the off season to hand sort and package seeds.

By the late 1970's it became difficult to collect pure seed as other homes and gardens were built around Benvenuto and pollinating insects often mixed the varieties, however the long history of a mail order Seed Catalogue continued with much of the seed being purchased in bulk. The seeds were used for both the gardens and packaged to sell by Seed & Gift Shop.

This hand-packaging tradition continues today, not only for nostalgic reasons, but also because it allows us to control the quality of the seed packs. This is integral in obtaining clearance for many of our seeds to enter the United States via land and air. Today, we sell over 140 different packets, most USDA approved for import into the USA, and available not only in The Seed and Gift Store but online as well.

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To this day we carry on Mrs. Butchart’s tradition of packaging seeds and selling them via mail order. A few specific varieties grown in isolated areas of the Butchart Gardens are still collected and used in our greenhouses, however the popular Blue Poppy is the only seed collected at The Gardens, and sold here.
*Hint: if our online store lists the Blue Poppy seeds "in stock", that means they are available both in store and online.

We sell approximately 100 different seeds and seed combinations. New Mixes for 2018 include: Deer Resistant, Fragrant, Edible, Shade Mix, Bird Lovers, Honey Bee, Low Growing, Western Pollinator, Monarch Butterfly. 

Our two best selling seeds are the Blue Poppy and our Anniversary Blend and are available in store or online.

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The Butchart Chronicles : January 15, 2018

Chef's Corner: Greek Quinoa Salad

Chef's Corner: Greek Quinoa Salad

Straight from the Butchart kitchen

Get your New Year off to a healthy start with a fresh Greek Quinoa Salad. This makes a great side dish to accompany your main meal or tasty lunch to-go. It is also a crowd-pleaser at barbeques and potlucks.

This salad was a perennial favourite on last year's Dining Room menu and will give your quinoa a burst of flavor.

View: Greek Quinoa Salad Recipe

 
The Butchart Chronicles : January 15, 2018

The 2018 Historical Display

On Now: Step Back in Time at the 2018 Historical Display at The Butchart Gardens

From now until March 15th, join us as we showcase the 18th annual historical display. Located in the former Butchart residence, this fascinating display features memorabilia and  photographs to show the quarry to garden transformation and more.

White Room

As you enter the residence, you will be in the White Room. Here you will discover letters about the quality of the cement being porduced at the cement plant, along with samples of old cement flower pots that were produced here into the 1950's, after major cement production stopped.

Additional White Room Highlights

  • Letters from visitors requesting The Gardens as venue for events, along with pictures of these events
  • Correspondence from people throughout North America seeking Jennie Butchart's reclamation expertise
  • The story of Jennie's private garden. This is still maintained as a private display today.

Breakfast Room


After the White Room, you will enter the Breakfast Room. Here you will get a glimpse of the Butchart's travels and leisure. See their travel plans including books on Japanese gardens in preparation for their trip to Japan as well as memorabilia from their avid tennis days.

Tango Room

 The Rose Garden is a big part of Butchart history. In this room, discover the development of the Rose Garden including landscape architecture, pergola blueprints, and other references to planning. Once this garden was established, the Butchart's became members of the National Rose Society based out of London, U.K., later featured in a publication that you can see for yourself in the Tango Room.

Billiard Room

From Gardens visitors to royalty and film stars, the Butchart's regularly entertained. In the Billiard Room, you will feel as though you're one of their guests.

Billiard Room Highlights

  • Early photography - camera equipment and stereoscope demonstrations by staff
  • Musical box demonstrations as well as various games and instruments
  • A fashion flashback, looking at Robert Butchart's walking stick collection, clothing brochures and images of attire from the era
  • Photos of the indoor pool, including a letter from the Duke and Duchess of Connaught about their swimming experience

From quarry to garden, the Butchart's history is filled with interesting events and connections to current day. Let our knowledgeable and passionate staff paint you a picture of the past and walk you through time in the 2018 Historical Display.

To top off the experience, enjoy High Tea in the conservatory room of the Dining Room Restaurant, another long-standing Butchart tradition.

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