What’s in Bloom Now? Garden Updates July 7 – 14


By Thea Hegland

Deep inside the garden sanctuary you will feel the pleasure of respite; soothed by the towering trees, mystical streams and butterflies. Sweet perfume of Spartium junceum (Spanish broom) fills the air as you approach the iconic Sunken Garden – this is the point of no return; committed, inspired and now feverishly hooked.

Descending down the stairs you will wonder how it all came to be, the story is legendary.

In 1904 The Butchart family travelled across Canada from Owen Sound Ontario. Attracted to the region by the rich limestone deposits found in the region, Mr. Robert Pim Butchart discovered the jewel that would soon become a bustling cement factory on the shores of Tod Inlet.

An ideal juxtaposition of natural reserves and marine access was the perfect location for the family business, thus the new home of Portland Cement was found. After years of manufacturing cement, the limestone was depleted from the quarry, leaving the desolate quarry wide open to the imagination of one of the most inspirational women of her time; Jennie Butchart.

Jennie Butchart, the legend lives on

Today, the Sunken Garden is home to many unique specimen trees and shrubs gathered throughout the years. Handwritten notes from the family archives reveal the passion and sheer determination Jennie put into her garden, as well records of historical plantings and nursery orders, indicating just how old many of the trees and shrubs actually are.

Aside from the fascinating family historical element, there is the deep history of long-term employees that have worked, and still work, at The Gardens. Some employees have spent more than 50 years tending to the beautiful grounds and given an opportunity to speak with them is rather interesting. Oh, the tales they can tell!

Indian Bean Tree

This week in The Gardens there are many highlights. The Catalpa speciosa (Indian bean tree) is in full bloom with exquisite white orchid-like blossoms on the Concert Lawn. Old garden favourite, Tagetes (Marigold) is making a comeback in a big way at The Gardens. New varieties such as ‘Strawberry Blonde’ and ‘Durango Outback’ have been a very successful hit this year. Whatever brings you to visit The Gardens, you will be glad you came.

One of the newer varieties of Marigold at The Gardens

Plants that are currently blooming
  • Abutilon
  • Acanthus (Bear’s breeches)
  • Achillea (Yarrow)
  • Alocasia (Elephant’s ear)
  • Antirrhinium (Snapdragon)
  • Astilbe
  • Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’
  • Aruncus (Goat’s beard)
  • Astrantia
  • Baptisia (False indigo)
  • Begonia (Tuberous and fibrous)
  • Brugmansia (Angels’ trumpets)
  • Calceolaria (Scotsman’s purse)
  • Callistemon (Bottlebrush)
  • Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ (Sweetshrub)
  • Cardiocrinium (Giant lily)
  • Catalpa speciosa (Indian bean tree)
  • Cephalaria gigantea (Yellow scabious)
  • Centaurea montana
  • Chionanthus virginicus (Fringe tree)
  • Cladatris lutea (Kentucky yellowwood)
  • Clematis
  • Colocasia (Taro)
  • Cornus kousa (Korean dogwood)
  • Crambe
  • Delphinium
  • Deutzia
  • Dianthus
  • Digitalis (Foxglove)
  • Disporum (Fairy bells)
  • Eremurus (Foxtail lily)
  • Fuchsia
  • Helenium (Sneezeweed)
  • Heliotropium (Cherry pie plant)
  • Hemerocallis (Daylily)
  • Hibiscus
  • Hydrangea
  • Hypericum (St. John’s wort)
  • Inula
  • Impatiens
  • Iochroma cyanea
  • Lantana
  • Leptospermum (Tea tree)
  • Lobelia
  • Maglieta
  • Manettia
  • Matthiola (Stock)
  • Monarda (Bee balm)
  • Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
  • Pelargonium (Geranium)
  • Pentas
  • Persicaria (Knotweed)
  • Petasites
  • Phlomis
  • Phlox
  • Poncirus trifoliata (Hardy orange)
  • Punica granatum (Pomegranate)
  • Rheum
  • Romneya coulteri (Tree poppy)
  • Rosa (Rose)
  • Salvia
  • Spartium junceum (Spanish broom)
  • Stachys marcantha
  • Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell)
  • Syringa reticulata (Japanese tree lilac)
  • Tagetes (Marigold)
  • Tecoma
  • Thalictrum (Meadow rue)
  • Torenia
  • Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
  • Viburnum
  • Weigela
  • Wisteria