Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Gardener's Garden

While in Victoria, BC, we visited the Government House Gardens. A series of gardens that once was built and maintained by a large crew of hired gardeners now kept up by a group of volunteers.

In 1992 the ‘The Friends of Government House Gardens Society’ was started to continue the gardening tradition. This group of gardening fools number around 135 according to a nice gent I met who along the way digging up an old shrub root.

The day before hubby and I had been to Butchart Gardens and many of my gardening friends were sure to remind me that Butchart is not a gardener’s garden when I announced that I would be traveling to Victoria to see the world renowned garden.

Although they admitted that Butchart is something everyone should see once in their lifetime it was actually a horticultural garden made perfect daily for the multitude of visitors who I assume would think it was actually real or something.

My hat is off to Butchart or any other family who can figure out a way to make real money in the gardening industry. They offer a beautiful landscape that is all inspiring whether you are a gardener or not. (enough ranting)

These same garden snobs would love The Governor Gardens as it is truly a ‘gardener’s garden’ where the landscape is allowed to ebb and flow throughout the seasons. The volunteers do an awesome job of keeping up with the demands of so many gardens while having fun.

Every volunteer I talked with enjoyed working the gardens and the comradely with others who share the same passion. Each one talked about their favorite plants or their favorite garden.

One lady volunteer told me that she has been in charge of hydrangeas for the past nine years. The first couple of years they were quite gangly looking. By the third year she was tired of propping them up and just whacked them all down to the ground. Of course people were shocked that she pursued such a radical course of action in Canada. When the hydrangeas came back stocky stemmed and beautiful then folks were just envious she said with a laugh. She explained on Victoria Island the micro climate is so different that one can get away with such pruning

It was a delight for me to tour a lovely and diversified garden a buzz with volunteer worker bees digging, planting, chatting, laughing and taking a break now and then for tea and ginger biscuits. What else would you expect on an Island named Victoria?

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