You see a spectacular view of the Sunken Garden from the lookout. Deep expansive walls (remnants of the old quarry) cradle beds of annuals, flowering trees, and unique shrubs. A central rock mound, the graceful Ross Fountain, and plantings in the Bog Garden all add to the unique nature of this unforgettable garden. Note: Those who require wheelchair access can avoid the stairs and follow a more gradual path into the Sunken Garden.
After walking out of the Sunken Garden, you’ll see our domed Children’s Pavilion and Rose Carousel—a menagerie of 30 hand-carved wooden animals and chariots. This lovingly crafted carousel is very popular with all ages. Beyond this, two impressive totem poles carved by artists of the Tsartlip and Tsawout First Nations overlook the Fireworks’ field. From here, you can circle the Concert Lawn and walk through one of the finest dahlia gardens (summer/fall) in the region.
Near the Concert Lawn, rose-laden arches greet you with bright colours and luscious scents (summer/early fall). Bordered by magnificent Pacific Giant delphiniums, the garden has an extensive collection of floribundas, ramblers, climbers and Hybrid Tea Roses (summer/early fall). We’ve marked each rose variety by name, origin and year registered with the American Rose Society. Walk the pleasant pathways and discover the frog fountain and our popular “wishing well”. After leaving this garden, you’ll see our immense bronze Sturgeon Fountain cast in Florence, Italy.
A Torii gate marks the entrance to our serene Japanese Garden. Gentle paths (dotted with Himalayan Blue Poppies in the late spring) guide you by streams, ponds and bridges. Japanese maples and beech trees rustle softly giving a peaceful experience. Jennie Butchart, with assistant Isaburo Kishida, an expert Japanese landscaper, completed this garden in 1906. If you visit in the summer, be sure to take a boat tour of Tod Inlet from the wharf near the bottom of the garden.
After the Japanese Garden, you will discover the splendid Star Pond—originally designed for Mr. Butchart’s collection of ornamental ducks, this twelve-point pond, surrounded by colourful annuals (spring/summer/autumn), has a charming frog fountain rising from its centre. Beyond the pond, stands the Italian Garden bounded by two arched entrances. This garden, originally the Butchart’s tennis court, has a bronze statue of Mercury and an intricate cross-shaped pond. This impressive garden was commissioned from Samuel MacLure, a prominent Canadian architect.
Past the Italian Garden, you follow the short tunnel to the Piazza and the Florentine bronze statue of Tacca, the boar. Thousands of visitors have affectionately rubbed Tacca for good luck, resulting in a finely burnished snout. Walk back to Waterwheel Square and towards the car parking area and you'll discover our Mediterranean Garden. This fairly small area will surprise you with the arrangement of lush, exotic plants from around the world.