The Butchart Chronicles : October 3, 2013

October in The Gardens

We kick off October with the arrival and sorting of tens of thousands of bulbs to be planted shortly for the spring display in 2014. The majority of our bulbs have travelled overseas from the Netherlands, but this year we also will be planting Canadian grown (Prince Edward Island) tulips for the first time ever.

The greenhouses begin the month packed with biennials that will find their way into the garden to create what we call the underplanting for our bulb display. If you didn’t know, a biennial is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its lifecycle – with the flowering taking place in the second year.

The tender plants we grow in the garden specifically for the summer season are returned to the greenhouses. These include hundreds of fuchsia standards and baskets, canna lilies, brugmansia, abutilon, tibouchina and tuberous begonias which are pruned, repotted and put to bed (cool and dry) for the winter. The greenhouses never seem to slow down much – even in the off season.

In every garden area – with the exception of the Japanese Garden – our gardeners will be busy changing over the entire summer floral display with the planting of the biennials and bulbs we hopefully sorted and organised properly!


The gardens begin to glow with the onset of fall foliage colour this month and there are some great vistas for fall colour in the Sunken Garden and especially in the Japanese Garden. Weather does play a factor in the intensity of the colours, but you can always expect a really good show once we get past the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

October is a transition month for the garden and it’s a time when you can come and really appreciate the hard work and effort it takes for our gardeners to create our world class display.

-- Rick Los, Director of Horticulture