Gardens and Glass: Our Visits to Butchart and Chihuly Gardens

While we were planning our visit to Seattle I started realizing that Victoria, Canada was pretty close by and easily accessible. I checked out Victoria and then realized that the Butchart Gardens that top many must-see lists are there. OK, time to start figuring this out in earnest now!

Goodbye Seattle! Hello Victoria!

Goodbye Seattle! Hello Victoria!

We set off early one morning on the Victoria Clipper bound for Canada and the Butchart Gardens.

About three hours after we left Seattle we arrived in Canada. After going through immigration we were on a bus to Butchart Gardens. Nothing prepared us for Butchart.  My mother-in-law was a gardener and garden lover and took us to Longwood Gardens in the Philadelphia area, but even that didn’t prepare us for the beauty of Butchart.

Hello from Butchart Gardens!

Hello from Butchart Gardens!

We followed the map and started in the Sunken Gardens where I think between the two of us my husband and I took about 500 pictures! We won’t bore you with all of them! The Sunken Gardens are the site of a former quarry, and the quarry owner’s wife wanted to make a garden out of a retired limestone quarry. As you can guess with its name you walk down into these gardens. We really could have spent all day in this one garden, but we had a bus to catch back to the pier, and a lot more to see!

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I loved the redwoods in the gardens. I have never seen redwoods in real life before. They are something to see — and now I have Northern California on my wish list for travels to see more!

Redwoods in Butchart Gardens

Redwoods in Butchart Gardens

We explored the other gardens, took more photos, and (of course) stopped in the gift shop. Words can never do this site justice, so here’s more photos!

Last up I found this explorer in the gardens (that’s my husband)! 🤣🤣


After exhausting our camera batteries, filling the memory cards, and having a cup of coffee we were back on our bus to the pier to sail back to the US. This was a quick trip to Victoria, but we saw all we wanted to see and certainly appreciated it. We have a return trip to Victoria on our list!

The next day, after visiting the Space Needle, we headed to the Chihuly Gardens and Gallery. We have seen some Chihuly glass-art before in Delaware (again thanks to my mother-in-law) but like Butchart, we were not prepared for what we would encounter here.

Chihuly Gardens and Gallery

Chihuly Gardens and Gallery

This museum is made up of a gallery of several rooms of Chihuly’s glass-art as well as gardens with his art dotted all around. There are glass spheres, poles, twisty things, star fish, bowls, amazing structures, and more. Once again, we were filling the memory cards in our cameras pretty quickly! The color in his artwork is so vibrant and vivid. He also somehow figured out how to create and twist all this glass together into amazing sculptures. I can barely balance two coffee cups on top of each other in our cabinet — what he has figured out how to do is amazing.

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There is a greenhouse/atrium that offers views of the Space Needle framed by glass-art.


Lastly, we visited the gardens that are full of pieces of art — speres, posts, even glass plants. The vibrancy of the glass is crazy, I found myself looking for lights in them because I couldn’t believe how these were so vibrant without a light in them.

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As you can tell, these are two places we loved. If we have to opportunity to return to Seattle or Victoria these are on our list to visit again. Both are beautiful and worth a visit if you find yourself with a few extra days in this region!

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