The Butchart Chronicles : January 9, 2015

Garden Notebook for Winter 2015

Spring Prelude
Spring Prelude 2015 (Click here for information on our Historical Display)

There is nothing quite like experiencing the beauty of spring weeks before nature intended it to arrive! Each year we provide that opportunity for visitors as we bring spring indoors in our signature Spring Prelude indoor garden. Staff spend months planning, growing and forcing plants into bloom to form an incredible indoor garden experience.

We like to challenge ourselves to try to improve what we present in the garden and the same holds true for our Spring Prelude display. This year you will notice a striking change to the display as soon as you walk through the front door as there is a new water feature to greet. Another highlight is many more orchids from our collection as their exotic presence seems to delight people. We’ll leave the rest of the changes as a surprise for you to discover as it would be a shame to give too much away.    

If you’ve never had the opportunity to see this incredible display, I know you will be impressed. What you will may find impossible to believe is this complete garden display is put together in one week in what is normally our largest restaurant facility. The transformation from restaurant to garden is truly an incredible achievement and must be seen to be appreciated.    

Moving outside …

The garden is truly a delight at this time of year. There is a sense of peace and tranquility. In our climate we are fortunate that we have flowers blooming outdoors throughout the winter months – although in moderation and directly in relation to the prevailing weather. As special as these flowers are, you do have to change your mind-set when visiting at this time of year, as the abundance of colour and flowers we are famous for simply aren’t present until spring.

Having said that, any garden claiming to be world class has to be beautiful in every season and we are no exception – I would go so far to say we are exceptional even without the flowers! This is great time to appreciate the garden in its purest form as the genius of Jennie Butchart is revealed in the unique layout and design – the Japanese Garden is especially satisfying as the structure of the plant material and the cascading waterways are fully exposed to reveal their true beauty.               

This is typically the only time of year we attempt to complete any major projects in the garden. As your experience is of paramount importance to us, it is always our goal to keep any kind of disruption to a minimum. By limiting this schedule, we only have a small window of opportunity to accomplish any improvements, upgrades or new landscape installations. Any landscaping project is made to look like it has been established for years so many people may not even realize the changes we make, unless we actually tell them! There have been times when some of our staff didn’t realize we had made significant changes in an area! This is a skill that we are proud of and really have a lot of fun with when we are designing and creating.     

Another creative endeavor for us at this time of year is the pruning on many of our trees and shrubs. Pruning is done, the main reason being to rid the plants of dead, dying or diseased growth. The more artistic side kicks in with the removal of unsightly growth, managing (controlling) the size of the plant to prevent overcrowding and shaping to make it more attractive. For flowering and fruit bearing trees – pruning improves the size and quantity. The time of the year for pruning is an important consideration and is different with each plant.    

As we move through our winter season and head into February and March you will see dramatic changes in the garden on an almost daily basis. What I really love is when March arrives the outdoor garden begins looking more and more like the Spring Prelude display we have created indoors! This is a very exciting time and we welcome you to come and experience all that we have to offer.