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Who Would Have Thought?

In order to catch up, I'm writing again this afternoon. Mostly because I've seen so much since we went to Victoria that I am just bursting to show you what is happening NOW.  Birds, in fact, but that will come soon enough, it isn't every day that a girl gets to go to the Butchart Gardens! For those of you who have never heard of it, and I would have been in your camp a few years ago had Angela and Matt not gone, here is some information. While it was fantastic, if you can believe it, I was disappointed it was so darn SUNNY! Thus, most of my photographs are not great. In addition, as I mentioned about the flowers in Victoria, the same held true for the gardens; transitional season in progress. Nevertheless, I am thrilled that we went and perhaps you will be as well.

Before leaving the hotel, this was our view. Hard to imagine that there is snow remaining on the mountains isn't it? At least to a Floridian!
The sign gives you a notion about how long they have been showing the world what they have to offer.
Yup, that is a ball of flowers in the sign! Set in a former limestone pit, the only reminder of that is the remaining chimney stack.
The flowers are fantastic, as are the many decorative fountains found throughout the 55 acres. Mr. Peck took my photo in front of one of them. And yes, that is a homemade blouse.
This little guy is super cute.
The granddaddy of the fountains though is the Ross Fountain with water shooting in ever-changing, intricate patterns. Set in the quarry, it is pretty darn spectacular.
Peonies, peonies, peonies. Oh my goodness that is a fantastic flower that I've never had exposure to. Sure, they sell some every now and again at Publix, but seeing them on their lush plants is, well, in my opinion, awesome.
Since I've seen these I've seen a couple around town and they do NOT look like this. Must be a different variety?
Seriously, the architecture of flowers is nothing short of amazing isn't it? Apparently we lucked out because the Himalayan Blue Poppies were in bloom and who doesn't want to see a blue poppy? None of you I'm certain.
Apparently they are very difficult to grow, but if anyone can, the 79 gardeners there seem to be up to the task.
Pretty unreal isn't it? Set in the Japanese Garden, there were loads of great things to see, however, in the interest of keeping you engaged, let us enter the Italian Garden like Bruce.
There is a great plaza this leads onto and I'm showing you that because one of the most special aspects of the gardens are the great variety of trees in many colors. The contrast is wonderful. The giant trees, or so we learned from one of the gardeners are Purple Beech trees. He also said they are crazy messy when blooming, which we just missed. Can you imagine cleaning up the spent blooms from trees this size?
The building on the right is the wing which formerly held the Butchart's bowling alley! If you've got a few minutes, it is a very interesting story how one woman came up with a plan to transform the former limestone quarry into world class gardens. (see above link)

I've learned from our short time here that I am crazy for all poppies, however, this one, there are no words for the exquisite color.
Irises aren't half bad themselves and we can grow them in Florida which is a plus. It's a shame I've been exposed to all of this when I no longer have a yard, however, we do have a small plot and we plan to make the best of what we've got when we get home.
As if the gardens weren't enough, there is a greenhouse, adjacent to the Blue Poppy Restaurant with even more beautiful flowers and plants. Bonus points because I can actually identify some of them.
That said, many of the summer plants here we may very well know as I saw some city workers planting coleus today along with geraniums and begonia. Pretty soon I may not be in a perpetual state of wonder.😀

I just gave you a whirlwind tour that took us about four hours to see and what a joy it was. For our return ferry I'd not made reservations because we learned the ferry runs on the hour, so after lunch we drove about 12 miles to the correct location on Victoria. The ferries are quite large, some of them hold up to 300 cars! I think I've figured out how we got on the wrong ferry. Are you curious? Curious or not, here goes! Bruce printed our tickets for the outbound ferry, handing them over at the entry gate and the fellow took our money after asking B if he were a BC resident. In other words, should he really be getting a discount for that? Yes, he does have a BC license. Because the sign above the booth said Victoria, and I've checked my photo to make sure I wasn't remembering it incorrectly, we assumed we should just go forward, following the cars in front of us. Well, you know what they say about assumptions don't you?

This time around, the attendant not only handed us tickets with the lane clearly stated, she also told us where to go, something we are pretty darn sure the previous fellow neglected to do. In Tsawwassen there are about 15 lanes so getting it right takes some previous knowledge, or so it seems. Lane 7 she said, and lane 7 it was.
A woman we were chatting with on the first ferry said that the route we were meant to take was more scenic and she was not kidding as you travel between some of the islands, a whole bunch in fact. According to this article there are 15 between the mainland and Vancouver Island.
This ferry is something like 50 years old and still running great.
On the upper deck I began asking people the names of various islands, not getting an answer until I met a young father with his two children who was full of information because he lives on one of them. I asked him what the appeal of living in the ocean was and he replied that life was very simple, more like living was 30 years ago. Make of it what you will. I do know it is very beautiful, especially close to shore where the water color looked turquoise.
What we learned was that traveling via the BC Ferries, if you are in the correct lane, is a pretty simple way to travel, with no security measures and all the hassle that comes with that. You drive on, go up a floor or two and sit back and relax, watching the beauty before you unfold. Nice is one way to describe it.

Without incident, we made our way back to the city.
Short, sweet, and memorable. Not a thing to complain about.

I began writing this post yesterday afternoon and then lost my internet connection until this morning, something that has rarely occurred while we are here. That happened all the time at home with Brighthouse, a constant source of frustration. I wonder how it will be now that we have AT&T at home? I guess we'll find out in the next couple of months, won't we?

yours truly,

Gail
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