There a lot more to Butchart Gardens than the Sunken and Japanese Gardens. In mid-April the colourful annuals like Hyacinth, Daffodils and Tulips were adding lots of colour, along with the flowering trees and shrubs.
The colourful flowers begin as you walk from the parking lot, even before you enter the gardens. These bright Daffodils were glowing in the afternoon sun.
And in the main entrance square is this remarkable sculpture of the 'Butchart Boar'. The original 'little pig' or Porcellino, was cast by the Italian sculptor Pietro Tacca in 1620. The marble original sits in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the original bronze casting in a market square there. Mr. and Mrs. Butchart acquired a rare copy of this sculpture on a trip to Italy, and brought it back where it is dedicated to all the children who visit the garden (who rub its nose for good luck).
As you walk through the entrance area, past the three restaurants and enormous gift shop, you're greeted by these colourful flowers. These are Hyacinths and Daffodils, but there's an understory of Tulips and Forget-me-Knots that will come into bloom next. Teams of garden staff will move through the beds removing all the bulbs that are finished, and planting new flowers as needed. There's a huge horticultural operation behind the scenes, with over 250 staff.
The million visitors come from a lot of places! This display of information pamphlets in 12 other languages reflects the diversity. And the parking lot for buses is huge!
As you explore the gardens you find some other interesting features. Two totem poles were carved to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2004. As the plaque says, this one was carved by master carver Charles Elliott, of the nearby Tsartlip First Nation in Classic Coast Salish style.
After the original Robert and Jennie Butchart passed on, grandson Ian Ross inherited the garden. He added a number of events like symphony concerts and fireworks displays, and this beautiful Ross Fountain for the 60th Anniversity.
This amazing Dragon Fountain is a gift from the People's Republic of China and the City of Suzhou, Victoria's sister city, unveiled just two years ago in 2015.
The Rose Garden created by the Butcharts looks rather barren in April, but it is beautifully designed, and must be amazing when all the roses are in bloom. And you get a rare picture of Mrs. Furry Gnome!
Lots of flowering trees - cherry, magnolia and others, as you explore the garden.
We finished with the tennis court behind the former home - which the Butcharts transformed into a formal Italian Garden (note the symmetry and central fountain) in the 1920's. Here it's planted in a beautiful colour pattern of white and blue Hyacinths and deep pink Tulips.
We thought our visit was a little expensive, but we'd highly recommend the Butchart Gardens to anyone.