Our visit to Butchart Gardens was focused on the lights but we got their before the sun went down and explored the Japanese garden. It was closed for the lights event so this was the only time to check it out. The gardens as a whole were quite quiet so it was peaceful wandering around the plants, across the bridges and around the water features.
There was a device for scaring wild boar. It was a water clock which would gradually fill with running water at which point it would overbalance, tip out the water and then fall back making a noise designed to startle any passing wild boar. I was particularly interested in some branches for one of the plants that were twisted into some bizarre patterns. I couldn’t make out whether this was natural or not but, if it is, I do wonder what the purpose would be.
While we got to Butchart Gardens before the sun set as seen in this post, the purpose of the visit was to see the illuminations. I had been there before during the day and knew it was a pretty garden but I didn’t know what to expect with the illuminations. I thought it might be pretty but was not expecting it to be so dramatic. The first are had some lovely lights within the trees with animated icicles. We then followed a route around the gardens to cover all of the areas. These areas also included displays themed around the twelve days of Christmas.
One area that really blew me away was a section under tree cover where they had lasers mounted on the tree trunks that scattered their light into the canopy above. The effect was magical and I spent a long time looking up at it as well as trying to get a decent shot of it. On one, the lens wasn’t originally zoomed out and so it drifted a little in zoom. The result was rather good but not what was needed. I like it but it will stay out of public sight.
Walking down in to the valley below the main house, the lighting was absolutely amazing. The density of light installations and the use of color was really impressive. The use of trees and plants to catch the light was great as was the use of some of the surrounding rock. They also had some streams of blue lights to give the effect of flowing water.
We had arrived at the gardens before the sun went down and we got in very quickly. There was no traffic. As a result, we had seen the whole display after dark relatively early in the evening. We were able to head back to town and, as we started to drive out, the traffic coming in was awful. We were sailing out but the cars were backed up the hill. I imagine it would take a long time to get in. I think our timing worked well.
Just before Christmas we made a trip to Vancouver Island to see Butchart Gardens at night with their illuminations. We got there before the sun went down and took a stroll through the Japanese Garden, a section that is closed for the night event. At the bottom of the garden, you come to Butchart Cove. There was a hole in the trees that provided a very predictable but worthwhile frame for the view into the cove. I decided to go for HDR for the shot given the extreme range of light between the shady trees and the exposed cove.