What’s in Bloom Now? Garden Updates March 16 – 31

Spring at The Butchart Gardens

By Thea Hegland

The recent stretch of warm sunny days has brought the familiar smell of fresh cut grass and many flowers. Beautiful Narcissus (Daffodil) and fragrant Hyacinthus (Hyacinth) fill the endless beds, complemented by adorable Bellis (English daisy), and Myosotis (Forget-me-not). Gorgeous Prunus (Flowering cherry and plum) with delicate pink blooms softly flow through The Gardens while the earliest varieties of Rhododendron have begun to bloom; with over 300 different varieties and hundreds (and hundreds) of shrubs, these essential shrubs will be blooming now throughout the month of May – the best is yet to come.

Rhododendron have begun to bloom

Butchart Gardens SpringA symphony of blooms in the Sunken Garden

Viola (Pansy) baskets have just been put out, adding splashes of colour here and there. Simple, yet so understated… these pretty flowers come in an array of colours and offer a sweet and subtle fragrance. The early flowering spring shrubs and trees are poised, ready to open. Magnolia stellata (Star magnolia) with its silky buds are a few warm sunny days away from exploding in to gorgeous blooms. Other highlights include the Helleborus (Hellebore), Erica (Heather), and the unusual, Abeliophyllum distichum (White forsythia). One of my favourites is the Anemone blanda (Grecian windflower) that will soon bloom along the banks of the Sunken Garden exit path.

Viola (Pansy) basket

Container’s filled with Prostanthera rotundifolia (Mint bush), Forsythia, Primula and different plants fill the imagination with possibilities. In the Sequoia Grove, hidden treasures such as Fritillaria elwesii (Fritillary) and Lonicera fragrantissima (Honeysuckle) can be found. In the Japanese Garden, look for Polygala chamaebuxus with unique flowers producing deep purplish wings and yellow lips.

Behind the scenes the greenhouse technicians have been busy propagating plants for the upcoming seasons. Dahlia cuttings are taken, Begonia seedlings are ready to be “pricked out”, cuttings taken in January have been rooted and are now ready to make the journey from sand to soil as they are potted up. Greenhouse operations are very critical to the show of flora in The Gardens and March signals the start of the busiest time for the skilled technicians.

Plants that are currently blooming
  • Abeliophyllum distichum (White forsythia)
  • Anemone blanda (Grecian windflower)
  • Arabis
  • Aubrieta
  • Aucuba japonica (Spotted laurel)
  • Bellis (English daisy)
  • Bergenia (Elephant’s ears)
  • Camellia
  • Correa (Australian fuchsia)
  • Cotoneaster
  • Crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Daphne odora
  • Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper bush)
  • Eranthis (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)
  • Lonicera fragrantissima (Honeysuckle)
  • Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (Oregon grape)
  • Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo)
  • Narcissus (Daffodil)
  • Ophiopogon planiscapus (Black mondo grass)
  • Orchid
  • Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
  • Pieris (Lily -of – the valley shrub)
  • Polyanthus (Primula)
  • Prunus (Flowering plum)
  • Pyracantha
  • Rhododendron
  • Ribes (Flowering currant)
  • Sarcococca (Christmas box)
  • Scilla (Squill)
  • Skimmia japonica
  • Tulipa (Tulip)
  • Viburnum x bodnantense
  • Viburnum tinus
  • Viola

Butchart Gardens TulipsThe earliest Tulips starting to bloom