Trip Start Sep 14, 2010
Trip End Oct 26, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, October 21, 2010

The next few days were spent relaxing around the island soaking up its beauty and enjoying its facilities. Rex enjoyed another round of golf, and just loved having the whole course to himself. I’m sure his game improved because of it!
On Thursday our spell of beautiful weather finally cracked, and we awoke to a thick fog which came up from the sea and almost to the house!  It wasn’t too thick though to hide a lovely young fawn who was grazing within a few feet of our front door, oblivious to our excitement and the clicking of our camera!
The fog kept us house-bound for the morning, but by lunchtime it lifted, and we were able to meet Ken at the dock and take the tender across to the mainland. Abby then drove us into Victoria, and dropped us at the stunning Butchart Gardens for the afternoon.

Wow, were they fabulous, even though it was mid-Autumn when we visited.  Abby shouted us the entry plus High Tea, which was a magnificent experience in the beautiful old original homestead, set amongst picturesque lawns and trees. The history of the gardens is really interesting too. They were started in the early 1900s by Robert & Jennie Butchart who operated a cement production company in the limestone rich Saanich Peninsula.

In 1909, when the limestone quarry was exhausted, Jennie set about turning it into the Sunken Garden, which was completed in 1921. They named their home "Benvenuto" ("welcome" in Italian), and began to receive visitors to their gardens. In 1926, they replaced their tennis courts with an Italian garden and in 1929 they replaced their kitchen vegetable garden with a large rose garden. But perhaps the most spectacular of all is the Japanese garden, which was designed by Isaburo Kishida, and is hugely popular.  

In 1939, the Butcharts gave the Gardens to their grandson Ian Ross (1918–1997) on his 21st birthday. Ross was involved in the operation and promotion of the gardens until his death 58 years later, and was responible for building the Ross Fountain to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the gardens.
In 2004, two 30-foot (9.1 m) totem poles were installed to mark the 100th anniversary, and The Gardens was designated as a national historic site.

Abby collected us about 5pm from the Gardens, and we drove back to the dock passing field and field of ripe pumpkins - all ready and waiting to be carved up for Halloween! Ken met us for the short trip back to the island, and that evening we enjoyed the most amazing venison dinner Rex and I have ever had.  The venison was raised on the island, and the way Jason prepared and cooked it was just stunning.

We had a reasonably early night, as jason had to be up with the birds the next morning for the red-eye flight to Ft. Lauderdale. But it was hard for us to sleep knowing that each time we woke our time on the island was getting shorter.

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