On our recent trip to Victoria, we stopped in to visit Government House which is the home of the lieutenant governor of British Columbia. The garden is open to the public and I had never seen it before. This garden covers acres and acres of land and has amazing views of the ocean. We were able to drive right up to the house and park out front.
Mature trees stand tall throughout the garden. The Bruce Pavillion looks like it would entertain quite a crowd for afternoon tea. You can sit on one of the many benches inside to enjoy the vista beyond.
Beyond the Bruce Pavillion is the formal Victorian rose garden. Most of the roses were pretty well finished for the season. I love the use of boxwood to enclose each rose garden. Famous rose breeder David Austin donated many of the roses to this garden. As you walk through the garden each rose has a name and the occasion of its donation.
Many of the roses were finished blooming but this yellow one was still open and fragrant as well.
Leaving the rose garden we came upon a large expanse of lawn. Which way should we go? The gardens were originally designed in 1911. Wheelchair accessible pathways make walking the gardens a breeze.
Fall seems to bring out the best in the grasses as this border shows. We walked by this garden and then headed up behind the main house.
It was suggested we take a small path up by the main house and garage. This is where it took us. This is the Terrace Garden. In the distance are acres of Garry Oaks which grow so well here on the southern tip of Vancouver island. We stood upon this rocky bluff to take in the view of the Pacific ocean on the horizon.
The view continued as we walked along the back of the house. The house was about thirty feet above us and this is the view from the pathway below. I peeked over to check out the Verbena in bloom to see it was only about a foot high.
This tiny white flower was blooming about ten feet away. It looks like a fall crocus or Colchicum but I am not sure. My fall crocuses are pink and this one is white. Any ideas? As you can see they bloom without leaves much like fall crocus.
As we walked the path to the Rock and Alpine Garden I realized the gardens here get full sun all day and much of the garden is rocky. I was anxious to see what did well in this area. Grey leaved plants loved it. I have to wonder if this succulent has to come in for the winter. Victoria is known as being one of the mildest areas in BC. I think they are close to being a zone 9.
This border had lots of colour and I noted that most of the plants had small leaves. Smaller leaves retain moisture better and are suited for hot dry gardens.
The pathway led us up along the west side of the house where a planting of Heathers was being established. The vivid colours of this plant make it a good choice for Pacific Northwest gardens. Between the flowers and the foliage its an all season plant.
I am on the lookout for a few more of the heather with chartreuse foliage but they are hard to find. A plant that was so common here for many years is not being produced by local growers any more.
To the west of the house is the herb garden. I would love to see this in bloom in the summer. In the center is a sundial supported by a carving of an orca. Many of the herbs grown here are used in the kitchen at Government House.
We ended our walk by strolling the perennial border. I like the pairing of the rose-coloured Coleus with Persicaria.
Lantana and a dark pink Coleus were paired together in the garden. I loved walking through the perennial gardens. It’s a good way to see plants you may want to add to your gardens. Garden tours are so inspiring.
Callicarpa is at its peak now. This shrub was loaded with berries. I have to wonder how long it will be before the birds get to them. I wish we had seen the entire garden. There is a woodland trail below the Terrace garden and so much more to see. I think we did pretty good in the two days we stayed in Victoria. We saw Butchart Gardens, Government House, Abkhazi Gardens and Beacon Hill park plus many walks along the ocean walkways. Would I go back? You bet. I love seeing the heritage homes, gardens and walkable communities.