The Butchart Chronicles : January 10, 2014

Garden Notebook For Winter 2014

    Spring Prelude

When: Jan 15-Mar 31
Inside The Blue Poppy Restaurant


Spring Prelude 2014

We hope you'll agree our display this year will be at least as spectacular as last year. We have some surprises for you including more orchids, a new fountain feature, a slightly different pond/waterfall layout and many exciting new plants and planting schemes.  

Spring Prelude 2014

For anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to see this incredible indoor garden display, I think you will be impressed. The Spring Prelude display is created in our Blue Poppy Restaurant over one week right after our Christmas season ends on January 6th. The transformation from restaurant to garden is an incredible achievement in and of itself, but the beauty you find yourself immersed in makes it hard to believe the facility was ever a restaurant. This display is very popular with visitors as a refreshing change from winter and it is increasingly popular as a venue for weddings, during our January 15th to March 31st wedding season.            

Arboretum at the Spring Prelude

The Spring Prelude display is aptly named as this indoor garden provides you with all the colours of spring brought into bloom all at one time, in one place – well before the gardens outside begin to unveil their own spring beauty. As the cherry trees burst into bloom inside, the buds of the cherry trees outside are just beginning to swell; the tulips indoors provide carpets of colour while outside the plants are just slowly emerging from the ground. The contrast is striking, especially in January, but as the season progresses into March the outdoor gardens increasingly mirror the indoor display.

Moving outside…..

Weather obviously plays a big factor in what we can and cannot do in the outdoor gardens. Too much rain makes it difficult to get moving on any landscaping projects and too much cold and snow makes it impossible to get much work done in the garden at all. However, we are thankful to have such a moderate climate. 

In spite of the weather conditions, this is typically the only time of the year we attempt to complete any major projects in the garden. The experience any visitor has at any time of the year is of paramount importance to us, so it is always our goal to keep any kind of disruption in the gardens to a minimum. Thus, we only have a small window of opportunity to accomplish improvements, upgrades or new landscape installations. General wear and tear takes its toll on the structural elements in the garden and we eventually need to provide some fairly extensive care.

Winter in the Sunken Garden

At this time of year you will find our gardeners pruning some of the woody plant material. Pruning is done for many reasons with the main reason being to rid the plants of dead, dying or diseased growth. Other reasons are more aesthetic and include the removal of unsightly growth, managing the size of plants to prevent overcrowding, shaping to make plants more attractive and, in the case of fruit and flower bearing trees, to improve the size and quantity of both fruit and flowers. Timing is critical when pruning to encourage flowers and fruit, but I don’t have the space to go into enough detail in this article. I will try to address this in a future post.

As we head into February and March you will find dramatic changes in the garden on a daily basis. This is a very exciting time in the garden and we welcome you to experience all we have to offer.

Rick Los,
Director of Horticulture