Spring flowers including tulips bloom in a flower bed along Government Street across from the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. (File photo by BLACK PRESS news services)

Spring flowers including tulips bloom in a flower bed along Government Street across from the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. (File photo by BLACK PRESS news services)

Tomlinson: Famous gardens in Canada are must-visit attractions

Butchart Gardens are famous but they are not the only garden in Victoria, British Columbia worth visiting. There are other vibrant, well-established public gardens that are worth the visit.

The gardens at Government House, home to the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, on Rockland Avenue are spectacular. Walk down the paths and explore some or all of the 36 acres. Like all gardens, it changes with the seasons. In spring the English Garden is filled with blooms from Hellebores, Primulas and bulbs.

The Rotary Garden of International friendship was built with the contributions of Rotary Clubs worldwide. In keeping with the theme, plants were sourced from around the world. A young blue/purple Rhododendron in full bloom enticed people to cross a soggy lawn for a closer look.

The herbs from the extensive herb garden is often evident at mealtime as it flavors and garnishes meals at Government House. Many of the herbs stay green throughout Victoria’s mild winter making it a must-visit spot all year long.

Be sure not to miss the stone wall planted in different varieties of Lewisia. When water is allowed to settle on the crown of Lewisia plants they tend to rot. Placing the plants vertically in the wall ensures that excess moisture runs off the plant as opposed to puddling.

Be sure to walk through the woodland gardens that are being brought back to a time before settlers. The area contains rare Gary Oak, along with native shrubs, perennials and bulbs.

These are just a few of the different gardens that make up the Government House Grounds

The gardens are immaculate with the work being completed by many volunteers who can be found working in the gardens or having tea on one of the many benches that overlook the gardens and sea.

Beacon Hill Park is a 75 acre park that is close to Downtown. The park has evolved since the land was given to the city by the province in 1882. At present time the park includes: a rose garden, ponds, spray parks, playing fields, children’s playgrounds, wooded areas and a children’s farm. Besides the farm animals the park is home song birds, geese, ducks, squirrels and peacocks.

The park is of cultural significance to both the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations who once lived and buried their members in the area. A Memory Pole was erected in 1956 and has graced the park ever since except for a year when it was being restored.

Hatley Park Gardens were created 1914 and continue to showcase that era. The formal garden is a large walled garden with straight paths and box hedges. It is home to 4 original statues and urns of Laurel trees. The Wisteria along the west side provides shade from the summer sun.

Do not miss seeing the Japanese Garden. Its path winds around ponds and across bridges. It is a quiet peaceful place to reflect and enjoy the garden.

During the summer months a visit to the rose garden is a must. Later when the Salmon are running they can be spotted swimming up the channels to their spawning ground.

The park is open from 10 am until 4pm. As this garden is part of the Royal Roads University one pays for parking but not entering the garden.

These are just a few of the gardens available in the Greater Victoria area. If time permits, the Abkhazi Gardens, and Finnerty Gardens are also worth a visit.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturist that has gardened in Central Alberta for over 30 years.