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Gardening with Ellen Pell Butchart Gardens

Gardening with Ellen Pell




I recently had the delightful experience of visiting Butchart Gardens on Victoria Island, Canada. If you have the chance to visit this exquisite garden,three hours north of Seattle by high-speed ferry (passport required),take it! I promise you won’t regret it.


Perhaps the most interesting of the six garden areas is the Sunken Garden. Jennie Butchart, whose husband Robert was a pioneer in the cement business and who herself was herself a chemist; envisioned their depleted limestone quarry as a a botanical paradise. She trucked in tons of topsoil and planted masses of zinnias, New Guinea impatiens, sunflowers, Asiatic lilies, begonias, angelonia and hosta (of course.) What we see today far exceeds what she could have imagined.


DO NOT miss the Japanese garden (which has no flowers!) Its beauty derives from the foliage colors and textures of its trees, shrubs and plantings, and from the water features that define it: a flowing stream, bridges and fountains, ponds with stepping stones for the adventurous. It is the epitome of tranquility.


Pacific NW gardens are renowned for their roses, and Butchart is no exception. The roses were blooming profusely. Where are the Japanese beetles and the blackspot? The rose collection is one of the best in the world. Each rose is marked with the country of origin. There are 117 varieties of tea roses, 64 types of floribundas, and 400 grandiflora roses…and not a Knockout in sight!


Ellen Pell


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