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.
I was sitting at the gate waiting to board a flight when the sound of a heavy jet reversing thrust outside caught my attention. It was a Japanese 747-400. JAL retired their 747s a few years ago and that made an appearance on the blog here. That meant this was a Japanese Government 747. I was really annoyed to have only seen it at the last minute. However, I was on the right side of the plane on takeoff to try and get a look. I did get a shot but looking through the camera made me lose the wider view. The Japanese 747s tend to travel as a pair. Sure enough, a second jet was parked up and I didn’t spot it was there until too late.
Located in Balboa Park is the Japanese Friendship Garden. Just alongside the Spreckels auditorium (which had an event underway whose speakers were sufficiently loud to somewhat diminish the peacefulness of the garden), it drops down into a valley in the park. Work is currently underway on some new areas and, after walking through the top and seeing that building work was underway lower down, I was a bit concerned that it might prove to be a little lacking in interest.
However, once we dropped down the steps and into the valley, it became apparent that there was more to see lower down than up above. The garden was beautifully laid out with a number of different pathways to take you through the trees, around the blossoms and past the water features. A tour was underway while we were there which actually served well to keep most people together and us, therefore, with a bit more space and peace (other than the noise from next door) to enjoy the garden.
Someone had come in a kimono to have their picture take so we were moving around trying to avoid getting in their way. Some of the other visitors seemed a bit more oblivious! Our timing was good for the blossoms to be in good condition. Obviously that was not something we had planned but we were happy to take advantage.