Taking tea at Spring Prelude

Butchart Gardens is bringing out the colours of spring a little early in their annual Spring Prelude event

Butchart Gardens' spring prelude runs until the end of March in the Blue Poppy Restaurant.

Butchart Gardens is bringing out the colours of spring a little early in their annual Spring Prelude event.

In what is normally a restaurant throughout the year, the gardeners have created a warm environment for a variety of local and exotic plants and surrounded them with waterfalls, streams, rocky paths and sitting areas. Butchart Gardens’ public relations director Graham Bell says the display offers visitors a respite from the drab, dreary weather of winter.

“It’s really still very early for natural plants to be showing up,” Bell said, adding even most of the outdoor gardens on site are still in the bare bones stage.

During Spring Prelude, flowers of many sorts are bursting out in vibrant colour and even marigold trees are showing signs of newly-formed buds.

“It’s a blend of things you probably won’t find in people’s gardens around here,” Bell said.

From now until March 31, this collection of unique plants, flowers and herbs is open to the public. The site, Bell continued, has become a popular spot for weddings and already they have quite a few bookings.

The environment is forcing the plants into early bloom — it’s warm and moist and new plants are being brought in every day to keep it lush and growing. With winter remaining on the Saanich Peninsula, Bell added, Spring Prelude offers people some greenery and colour amidst grey or rainy days.

At the same time, Butchart Gardens has opened its historical display, on until March 16, featuring the story of the Butchart Family who started a rock quarry and cement operation back in the early 1900s and built their home on the 135 acre site. In portions of the old Butchart homestead, people can visit dining and sitting rooms, as well as a billiards area. Behind the scenes, there’s a tiled swimming pool area that’s no longer in use. The room itself is used for storage now.

From the early days of quarrying and business deals, to the Butchart’s extensive travel and welcoming of dignitaries to their home and grounds, the historical display offers the stepping stones from the turn of the 19th Century to the turn of the 20th.

Visitors can end their Spring Prelude with high tea at the Butchart Gardens. Featuring specialty delectibles and their own 100th Anniversary loose tea, high tea is a special way to complete any visit to the Gardens. Learn more at www.butchartgardens.com.