Spring is officially arriving next week, but it arrived early, as it usually does, in Victoria and Vancouver. Both cities have been showcasing blossom-laden trees, daffodils and tulips, flowering rhododendrons, camellias, forsythias, and magnolias for several weeks now. Our mild coastal climate is great for gardens, but this year’s last month of winter has had exceptional early spring weather with above seasonal temperatures and lots of sunshine.
In fact, in Victoria, March 11th is the final day of their 39th annual flower count. Sponsored by Tourism Victoria and one of the world’s most famous gardens, Butchart Gardens, the flower count is meant to promote Greater Victoria as an inviting tourism destination this early in the season. Victoria is known as the City of Gardens, with many other great gardens to explore, other than Butchart Gardens. There is the heritage Abkhazi Gardens, created in 1946 by Prince and Princess Abkhazi, and known for its majestic trees and the actual site it is located on. Check out the Hatley Park National Historic site at Royal Roads University, with many interesting trees, formal gardens and the castle itself, and located on a seaside lagoon with great opportunities for bird watching. Government House, in the Rockland neighbourhood where you will find numerous Victoria Bed & Breakfasts, is home to BC’s Lieutenant Governor. Its grounds are open to the public and feature both formal gardens and the rare Garry Oak ecosystem.
Vancouver Gardens are no slouch either! From the highest point in Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth Park offers great views over the city, formal gardens, and the Bloedel Conservatory with its tropical vegetation, flowers and birds. The sunken garden is a favorite photo spot in the summer time! Not far away is the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, featuring plants and flowers from all over the world, and also especially known for its annual Christmas light display. At the University of BC you’ll find both the Botanical Garden, Canada’s oldest continuously operating university botanical garden, and the Nitobi Memorial Garden, one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America. And of course you cannot visit Vancouver without visiting its most famous park, Stanley Park. Named the Best Park in the world by TripAdvisor in 2014, Stanley Park is also home to the Vancouver Aquarium, the rhododendron and rose gardens, and the 8.8 km long sea wall that circles the entire park and provides fabulous views of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. Your Vancouver B&B innkeepers can recommend the best times to visit all of these Vancouver Parks and Gardens.
Explore Victoria and Vancouver’s beautiful gardens this spring. It’s good for the soul!