Are you one of these people? Toque & Canoe just learned that “flower” tourism is huge in Canada. If you don’t believe us, check out this link to VIA Rail’s “Stop and Smell the Flowers Garden Route.” Given the time of year, we want to hear about Canada’s hottest gardens. Maybe you’re the one to tell us where they are and why our readers should know about them.
Don E commented:
Any self-respecting flower tourist will be making his/her way to Victoria at this time of year, I would think. I’d suggest starting with Beacon Hill Park, expansive and free of charge. After tip-toeing past the tulips, head up the hill overlooking Dallas Road for a glimpse at the native blue camas, satin flowers and shooting stars of this remnant Garry oak meadow, one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada.
Next, head over to Oak Bay for the exquisite Abkhazi Garden, the garden built on an estate built on a love story.Yes, there’s a fee but the Land Conservancy is a terrific cause. Another great garden experience can be had in Langford in the shadow of Hadley Castle, now the campus of Royal Roads University. The zen garden is particularly beautiful. Oh, and before leaving greater Victoria you might want to squeeze in a visit to that famous garden that starts with B– overpriced, overcrowded and still worth a visit.
Back on the mainland, Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park (another freebie) is an oasis of bloom in the city. The UBC Botanical Garden is an unsung national treasure, and you really shouldn’t miss the impressive Van Dusen Gardens. Finish off with the stunning Sun Yat Sen Gardens, one of the finest classical Chinese gardens outside that country.
Better get busy- the daffodils are at their peak, which means the tulips aren’t far behind.
toque & canoe commented:
Thanks so much for covering the West Coast for us Don. Fantastic recommendations. You’re going to turn us into flower tourists yet!
Donna Balzer commented:
Oh Victoria! Gardeners in the know travel a bit upstream to reach the food regions in Sanich peninsula. After recharging there take the little Mill Bay Ferry across (catch it on the Brentwood Bay side and have lunch there first). PS World famous Buchart Gardens is also in Brentwood Bay.
Finally, head north to Minter Gardens – an old estate along the ocean just outside of Qualicum Beach (a few minutes north of Parksville on the old highway). The original historic house is still in place. This is a site where the royals visited in its day and photos are on the walls. This garden is all about spring. Don’t miss it.
Trish Boyum commented:
Flower tourists LOVE the carpets of wildflowers we see on river estuaries in June on British Columbia’s central and north coasts.
June is springtime here. Mountain peaks are still draped in snow and provide a stunning contrast against the azure skies of June. Granite walls rise thousands of feet out of the sea and above the estuaries and are laced with waterfalls that seem to fall from the sky. The towering trees of the Great Bear Rainforest rim these estuaries that are carpeted in wildflowers and teeming with new life.
These river estuaries are part of of the largest temperate rainforest on earth…and may surprise you with flowers that you haven’t seen anywhere else!
Contact Toque & Canoe and have them arrange a trip with us in June to enjoy the waterfalls and wildflowers of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Jeff de Jong commented:
Abkazi garden in Victoria is not only a magnificent garden filled with flowering trees, shrubs and perennials but it is home to many wonderful animals. We have three resident turtles, hundreds of birds. Yesterday I spotted a hummingbird on her tiny nest.
We also feature a restaurant with local organic ingredients and many gluten free options.
You’ll love it!
Donna Balzer commented:
Wait a minute – I feel like a traitor. I should have mentioned that readers should save their money and travel to Calgary instead of BC to see flowers in May at the Reader Rock Garden – oops. Hope my friends there don’t see this little slip. I will be back there soon enough to face them in person!
Emma Linda commented:
If you are visiting Kelowna early in July you’re in for a wonderful treat. This is lavender season. The Okanagan Lavender Herb farm, owned and operated by Andrea and David McFadden, is in its 19th year. Last summer from the deck of its new and charming shop, I looked down upon the fragrant flowering fields of lavender and sunflowers and the view might have been a scene from France. Extending beyond the lavender fields are vineyards and beyond them Okanagan Lake.
In the shop itself, essential oils are extracted and bottled. Available for purchase are a variety of culinary, bath and home products. Certain times of the year are designated as U Pick. Self guided tours are an option. Instructions for growing lavender and recipes for cooking and baking are provided on the website. Outdoor lavender festivals include lessons for weaving lavender wands or making wreaths – often to a background of live music. In the summer, they offer the likes of lavender lemonade and scones and lavender ice cream. For more complete information please visit Okanaganlavender.com.
Another beautiful sight in the spring is Kelowna’s official flower: the arrowleaf balsalmroot. These plants are sprinkled on the hillsides in and around the city including the Gallaghers Canyon and other golf courses. These brilliant bright yellow daisy-like flowers with voluptuous leaves are a first herald of spring.