Many people have heard of Butchart Gardens, created from the lands surrounding the home of Robert and Jenny Butchart. Robert manufactured cement and there were large deposits of limestone on the site. In 1909, after the quarry was exhausted, Jenny expanded her vision to add the Sunken Garden to the property. Millions of people from all over the world come to see the gardens and marvel at its beauty.
One highlight is the dancing water fountain, seen above through the tulips. What most people don't realize is that on the other side of that deep pond lies another park - the Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Both Butchart Gardens and this park lie along Tod Inlet.
Tod Inlet is a popular place for boaters, dog-walkers, and people wanting an easy stroll close to nature. Here one can see the crumbling foundations of the industry that provided the funding for Butchart Gardens. Old cement pilings, dock ramps, hydro-dam remains, and the outlines of the homes of the workers who lived and laboured on the site. One crumbling chimney stack is visible, both from the gardens and the inlet.
Now the inlet is quiet. People throw sticks for their dogs to catch. Boaters lounge on the water. And all around are tall trees reflecting in the water and casting green light along the forested shore. Herons pick their way along the mud flat at the end of the inlet at low tide. Kingfishers call and dart from water to tree. Gulls soar, bank, and land on the water. There are a couple of spots in the park where one can catch glimpses of the dancing fountain, but it's a natural place once again.
On Saturday we met our children and grandchildren at the entrance to the park for a socially distanced, outdoor walk. It was lovely, but we were all chilled after a couple of hours. Above is the first photo of all of our grandchildren together. They had such fun together; exploring and playing.
The next day, Sunday, Tim and I visited Butchart Gardens. The tulips are astounding! Huge swaths of colour fill the beds. In a few places the tulips were finished, in others they were at their peak, and in others they had yet to fully open. I love the underplantings of the clouds of blue forget-me-nots, and in some places the interplanting of white narcissi. So very lovely.
Butchart Gardens is a National Historic Site of Canada, and is still owned by descendants (a great granddaughter) of the Butcharts. We received a letter from her last week, with complimentary passes to the gardens, because we are year-long pass holders and the gardens were closed for part of the pandemic. Such a lovely gesture. We, and I hope, many others, will be renewing our passes so as to help this lovely place survive.
Two views, two visits. I'm glad we can enjoy both the wild and the cultivated.