Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

August 4, 2007

The Gardens: Butchart & Butterfly

I'd read a travel tip awhile back, that said Butchart Gardens is best visited later in the afternoon, once the crowds have thinned out. Being one of those "have to get there and see it when they open" people, this was a strange concept to me. But I figured what the hell, I'll tack it on to the end of the trip to Chemainus. This gave me a great excuse to take the Mill Bay Ferry, from my previous post.

Butchart Gardens was lovingly created by Jennie Butchart, after her husband moved his gravel mining operation to the Saanich Peninsula. My first stop after arriving was in the cafe for a veggie sandwich on wheat & lemonade. With my belly full and my bladder empty, I entered the beautiful gardens.

The photos seen here are just a tip of the iceburg of what I shot. It's really, really hard to take a bad picture. This is the sunken garden. Can you believe it used to be a gravel pit?
Ross Fountain. My original plan was to stick around the Gardens till it started to get dark because I hear the place is magical all lit up at night, but my feet were in danger of falling off by the end of the day, so I only stayed for a couple of hours.

The travel tip was right; I encountered far less people and that enabled me to take a lot of quality photos of the flowers.

Butchart Cove.

I walked over to the Cove just in time to watch a Harbour Air float plane come in for a landing. Float plane travel is as common as boat/ferry travel.

Italian Garden.

Just down the street from Butchart Gardens is The Victoria Butterfly Garden. It was 4:30 and my feet and ankles were killing. In fact, I was thinking about a photo of Tess & Diane, that they posted from their trip to NYC last year, of the 2 of them standing in a tub of water soaking their poor, tired feet. But I couldn't resist the lure of the butterflies, so I stopped in to have a look. I wasn't disappointed.

Blue Clipper.
There were exotic birds & ducks roaming freely.

The Butterfly Garden is inside of a large greenhouse-type building and is kept very hot and humid with misters. There's a lot of natural light from the windows; at least from those not covered by thick, tropical foliage.

I bought a postcard of all of the butterfly species in the garden, but I can't find one that is exactly like this appears to be a "Julia".

Yes, the flamingoes are real. They make the funniest honking sound. I wasn't sure what they sounded like, but I wasn't expecting a honk.
Brown Clipper.

I followed this guy around for quite awhile till he finally landed long enough for me to get off a shot. The wings were the most amazing shades of blue; it looked like he had sapphires set into his wings. Again, this one doesn't seem to be on the postcard either.

This is the closest I could get to the Blue Morpho, who would not open his wings no matter what. You would not believe the inside colour of his wings, based on seeing the camoflage on the outside. Later on in the giftshop, the woman there said that professional photographers will stay there for hours and hours and leave empty handed too.

So I ended up taking a picture of the fake Blue Morpho magnet in the gift shop.I climbed on a bench and moved a great deal of foliage to get this shot; I was surprised I wasn't admonished by a garden worker. Val, can you identify this bird for me?


  1. Anonymous12:23 PM


    OH MY GOD!!! Jo, these are outstanding. You take amazing pictures. Man.

  2. Julie - Thanks! -blush- I have to say, I am really, really pleased with the quality of the photos this year.

  3. WOW!! those are sooo pretty! can't wait to show my kids, they're all butterfly lovers;)

  4. They are stunning pictures, JoJo.

    The bird is a Turaco. The local pet shop once had one going slowly insane in a cage in the shop. I tried to so something about it, but sadly official animal care people know nothing about birds, and always say they are OK. I haven't shopped in that place since they let a beautiful baby blue-fronted amazon die for want of vet treatment, even though I told them where and when to go.

  5. Val - Thanks for the info. I'll be able to put a label in my photo album now. That pet shop should be shut down.