The Gardens
Jewel Box
Two one hundred year old apple trees anchor a border featuring a rainbow of hellebores combined with a collection of wonderful companion plants.

Surrounding a heritage cottage, under ancient apple trees is a garden that combines extensive collections of hellebores, cyclamens, snowdrops and euphorbias with other perennials, including wonderful foliage plants, and shrubs to create layered artistic borders of year round interest.

Complimenting the ambiance of the home and garden are carefully selected containers and art. The enthusiastic gardening couple that have created this exquisite garden still find time to volunteer at Government House and with an international seed exchange program.
Butchart Gardens
As part of your customized fall tour spend some time with us in the world famous Butchart Gardens. The year 2004 was the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Butchart Gardens.

In one of the first gardens developed, the Japanese garden, we see in our temperate Northwest setting, the fusion between the Edwardian influences of Jenny Butchart with the traditional Japanese garden design of Isaburo Kishida. This gifted landscaper came from Yokahama Japan at the age of 65 to work on this and other Japanese style gardens in the Victoria area. (ask about our customized tour featuring his gardens). Fall provides us with a kaleidoscope of foliage colour for the Japanese art and architecture (some dating back to the time of Mr,Kishida) and Jenny Butchart’s rustic Edwardian structures.

The origin of Butchart Gardens as the restoration of a limestone quarry is seen in the use of faux bois cement features here and throughout the other display gardens.
Government House
Government House Gardens are part of the estate of the Queen’s representative to the people of British Columbia. These gardens are designed and maintained by volunteers from Victoria’s gardening community. Join us for an escourted tour through the lush and fragrant winter/early spring plantings that start to come into bloom as of mid-January. The exuberant perennial borders feature plantings have been designed to provide year-round colour and texture. An extensive rockery on a natural rock outcropping overlooks the ocean while the fragrance of a herb garden with it formal tapestry planting featuring Mediterranean herbs beckons you on. Walk through drought-tolerant plantings including native plants while viewing out over a native Gerry Oak meadow to the vista of the Streight of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountain range.
Hatley Gardens
The largest, intact Edwardian gardens in Canada are to be found on this historic, 565-acre estate now called home by Royal Roads University. Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Hatley Park Society and the University the estate has now been named a National Historic Site.

Nestled in an old growth forest, the Hatley Castle is adjacent to the Esquimalt Lagoon and the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Olympic Mountains of Washington State on the horizon. This majestic setting provides the perfect backdrop for a range of beautiful gardens including a four acre Japanese garden, designed by Isaburo Kishida, who also designed the original Butchart Japanese gardens, a formal, walled, Italian terrace garden featuring many of the original urns and statuary, a bog garden as well as an Edwardian roped and walled rose garden. Additionally, you will find expansive perennial borders.

Abkhazi Garden

Victorian Garden Tours loves to escourt our visitors through Abkhazi garden, a  beautiful heritage garden established by Prince and Princess Abkhazi over fifty years ago.  This is truly an enchanted place with a garry oak meadow, glacial rock outcropping, magnificent vistas.  Throughout there are wonderful plant combinations incorporating both native and exotic plants.  We enter the garden through the gate into a wonderful grove of heritage rhododendrons which have been pruned up.  Under the graceful branches there is a carpeting of groundcovers combined with other shade loving plants. Throughout the year there are treasures to discover as you wander through this inviting woodland along meandering paths.  Upon leaving the woodland you arrive in a garden room with an inviting  lawn area where you can sit on a beautiful crafted bench backed by the majestic rhododendrons and surrounded by deeply layered mixed borders.  Leaving this area you pass under a historic Abies pinsapo glauca planted by Prince Abkhazi and enter upon a magnificent glacial rock outcropping featuring three ponds and a range of alpine plantings including historic conifers.  This rockoutcopping looks over a lawn designed by Princess Abkhazi which leads up to a summer cottage under a canapy of magnificent garry oaks.  Our galleryof pictures of this beautiful garden is currently under construction. For more general information and historic information please visit the Abkhazi Garden website by clicking here!


A Testimonial

From Martin Kovar
As a graduate of two Master of Landscape Architecture programs and a practicing residential garden designer in Canada, I was truly pleased with the high standard or guided tours offered by Joan Looy of Victorian Garden Tours. Having participated in several escorted visits to gardens in Europe, Joan surprised me with a customized itinerary of sites tailored to satisfy my individual interests, based on a telephone discussion Joan initiated in advance of our tour.

Paying careful attention to each garden location and exposure, Joan lined up our visits so as to show each site in the optimal light and time of day. Her intimate knowledge of Victoria gardens and access privileges to a vast array of sites, allowed me, an out of province visitor, to start my day experiencing the quiet wonder of treading on a grassy path shimmering with silver dew, hemmed by cushy mounds of textural perennials. Similarly, the study of shadow play and rich colours of pealing bark displayed by an aged rhododendron grouping, were offered in the afternoon.

Like a chef, Joan took me through the day serving the exact right dishes at the most appropriate times, with heavy emphasis on desert items. Delight yourself, and sample some of the sites Victorian Garden Tours gained access to over many years in business. Let Joan know about your taste preferences, and she will do her best to satisfy your appetite for the art of gardening.

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