I didn’t get to see Arashiyama on my last trip to Osaka but my marshmallow test reward gave me something I like even better! Victoria, the capital of the Canadian province, British Columbia! Thank You, Lord for the blessing that comes with obedience to You!
It started with a 35-minute seaplane ride from Vancouver Harbor, landing straight into the middle of the city of Victoria:
This is a convenient option if you have very limited time and can only do a day trip because the alternative car/ferry mode would multiply the travel time each way: 1.5 hour ferry ride between the two cities plus an hour or so from each of their city centers.
Our first stop at Victoria was the Butchart Gardens at Tod Inlet. The stunning gardens, now a National Historic Site of Canada, was the former home of Robert Pim Butchart and his wife, Jennie, when they moved to Vancouver Island in 1902 for the rich lime deposits in this area which they needed for their Portland cement manufacturing business.
Jennie had great talent as a horsewoman and artist; she was awarded an art scholarship in Paris but after marrying Robert in 1884, she did not pursue this. She also obtained a certificate as a chemist which came in handy for her work in their cement company. Her skills in gardening/ landscaping were self-taught. It was only years after that she sought the help of professionals in further refining the gardens around their home.
I love how plants in a garden echo how God made each person different with her own color, shape, size, fragrance, etc… but every person uniquely beautiful. In the hands of the master gardener, everything comes together as a pretty, refreshing, healing paradise.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1. God is the Gardener who cuts off the non-fruitful branches, prunes the fruitful to be even more fruitful. It is He who makes the fruit grow.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
That is an awesome promise in verse 7 and I like to ponder the two requirements to validate this blank check.
Except maybe for Prince Charles, I don’t know of another male who might ooh and aah with me at the sight of flower bushes, hanging vines, and meandering walkways. Thank God for the gift of Lisa, my beautiful niece (by marriage) who was my perfect fellow-adventurer here. While the men scanned the garden then retreated to the cafe, Lisa and I were thrilled to explore the Butchart Gardens, still enchanting even if the climax of spring bloom was over.
The Japanese Garden designed by Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama:
The former limestone quarry was turned into the Sunken Garden:
The Butcharts named their home “Benvenuto” (“Welcome” in Italian), reflecting the hospitality with which they welcomed all their guests.
They replaced their tennis courts into an Italian Garden:
Their original home has been converted into the Dining Room:
They converted their own kitchen vegetable garden into a large rose garden:
And the original home was turned into the Dining Room which is available for meals and afternoon tea.
How awesome that what started as a home has been so beautified and now shared with many people to enjoy. Blessed are those nearby who can see the glory of these gardens in all her seasons. But I’m just so grateful to be in this time in this place with this company! ❤️🙏❤️