Gardens To See in Victoria BC

The world famous Butchart Gardens are often the first stop for anyone seeking out notable local gardens in the Victoria area.  Butchart Gardens are a privately owned 22 ha (55 acre) estate that is now a National Historic Site.  The gardens are located 23 km (14 miles) north of Victoria and their street address is 800 Benvenuto Avenue in Brentwood Bay.  These spectacular gardens were begun over 100 years ago and today close to a million people visit them each year.  Visit butchartgardens.com for more details on hours of operation, admission fees and the many featured attractions of the garden including firework displays, concerts in summer, and restaurants on site.

Apart from the world famous Butchart Gardens, there are several other public gardens in Victoria that attract thousands of visitors each year.

Government House gardens are located at 1401 Rockland Avenue .  The grounds are extensive and include 8.9 hectares (22 acres) of a rare Garry Oak ecosystem and 5.7 hectares (14 acres) of formal gardens.   The gardens are open to the public, daily (with occasional exceptions) from dawn to dusk and entry is free of charge.

These breath-taking gardens are maintained by the Friends of Government House Garden Society.  They include a native plant garden, a cottage garden, a cut flower garden, the Dorothy Lam orchard, the Victorian rose garden, the winter garden, rhododendron gardens, rock and alpine, perennial borders, a lily garden, an English country garden, a heather garden , the BC Iris Society garden and several other gardens. Admission is free. Go to ltgov.bc.ca/gardens for more information.

Another lovely garden is Abkhazi Garden, operated by the The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC). It is located at 1964 Fairfield Road.  Prince and Princess Abkhazi began creating this garden in 1946.  Their romantic love story led them to Victoria where they developed  this one acre property which has been maintained as a public trust through the efforts of the TLC.  The garden includes perennials, conifers, rhododendrons, bulbs and alpine plants all skillfully planted in a design that takes advantage of extensive rock outcroppings.  There is a restaurant overlooking the garden, open from March to October.  There is an admission charge and the garden is open daily. For information on the garden go to abkhazi@conservancy.bc.ca or call 250-598-8096.

Another great garden is the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (formerly Glendale Gardens).  This garden is also home of the Pacific Horticulture College and is located at 505 Quayle Road, a short drive out Highway 17 to Saanich.  (See directions on the website www.hcp.ca)  This wonderful garden was created in 1979 and includes over nine acres of gardens showcasing over 10,000 varieties of plants.  The plants are extensively labeled as the thirty-four different areas of the garden are designed and planted to demonstrate landscaping techniques suitable for the Pacific Northwest.  From May to September the gardens are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week.  Oct. 1 to April 30 hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 days a week. There is a modest admission charge. There is a restaurant on site and a gift shop as well as plants for sale.

Another garden worthy of a visit is the Hatley Castle Gardens which surround historic Hatley Castle, now home to Royal Roads University.  The castle was built by coal baron James Dunsmuir. The 565 acre Edwardian estate, now a National Historic Site, is just 25 minutes outside of Victoria.  The showpieces are the Rose garden, the Italian garden and Japanese gardens.  These are open daily and there is a modest admission charge. Information is available at hatleygardens.com.

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