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Spring Sensations

Exploring the City of Gardens

From the world-famous Butchart Gardens to an elegant city garden designed by royalty, the City of Gardens holds no shortage of possibilities for the garden enthusiast!

Abkhazi Garden is an oasis in the heart of the city, the 1946 creation of Prince and Princess Abkhazi featuring an amazing mix of oaks, maples, rhododendrons and more.

In nearby Rockland, the Government House Gardens feature six hectares of gorgeous mixed beds, massive rhododendrons, an elegant rose garden, herb garden and more, not to mention stunning city views.

Rockland, along with the nearby community of Oak Bay, is also a popular neighbourhood for a walk or bike ride, allowing green thumbs to appreciate the many beautiful private gardens gracing the region’s stately older homes. Over the blue Johnson Street Bridge, the beautiful gardens of Saxe Point Park are well worth a stroll, as are the Finnerty Gardens at the University of Victoria campus, about 15 minutes northeast of downtown.

Heading out the Saanich Peninsula, Glendale Gardens and Woodland offers 17 specialty and demonstration areas – Victoria’s “garden for gardeners.” Particularly lovely is the native plant wildflower garden, rhododendron and hosta garden and hardy fuschia garden, not to mention the Takata Japanese Garden.

The Saanich Peninsula is also home to Victoria Butterfly Garden, whose lush, tropical gardens provide the ideal backdrop for thousands of free-flying butterflies. Nearby, Butchart Gardens boasts 20 hectares of breathtaking gardens. Visit this spring to take in vast seas of flowers, shrubs and trees bursting forth in stunning colours.

In Victoria’s West Shore community, Hatley Park National Historic Site is home both to Hatley Castle and Royal Roads University, plus beautiful Italian, rose and Japanese gardens. The Mother’s Day Paint-in May 8 is a terrific time to come explore the gardens while also enjoying the talents of local artists.

Glorious Gardens!

The 29th annual Victoria Conservatory of Music Mother’s Day Garden Tour is a must on the calendars of both Victorians and visitors.

Meander through cloistered paths rich with bursts of colour and wander through motifs ranging from simple to elegant. Your ticket is a self-guided tour of the textures, colours and aromas of spring. On May 7 and 8, from 10am to 4pm, garden enthusiasts can immerse themselves in a melody of colour and sound as live music will be performed in the gardens by VCM students and faculty. All funds raised support the conservatory.

Tickets for the self-guided tour are $30 for a two-day pass, available from all Victoria-based Thrifty Foods locations. Visa, Master Card and debit card payments will be accepted at the Conservatory

Call 250-386-5311 for details.

— Jennifer Blyth

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