Majestic Hatley Park
The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion
Welcome! The teapot’s on! I’m thrilled you’re visiting with me today. It has been awhile. I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. I find that for me, it does seem to take a lot of time, and there are so many other demands of life at the moment, but that’s for another day. For now, I am glad to be here in the present, slowing a little and enjoying spending time with you.
Can it be that Spring is really just around the corner? We still have much snow, although it is beginning to warm here. To see sunshine and hear birdsong will make things alright.
Since everyone is sharing garden dreams these days, I assembled a photo collage to share with you of beautiful Hatley Park, a National Historic Site nestled on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island in Colford, a mere 25 minutes from downtown Victoria, British Columbia. I was at The Empress Hotel in Victoria for a work conference last May and stayed an extra week to enjoy some touring. Living on Canada’s East Coast, on the island of Newfoundland in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I could not imagine flying clear across the country for 7 hours, plus 4 hours of stopovers each way, from the East Coast to the West Coast, without seeing some of the glorious B.C. gardens that I had been reading about in my favourite magazines for so many years.
PHOTO: The celebrated Empress Hotel in Victoria on Vancouver Island is famous for its turn-of-the century architecture and supreme harbour location. Built between 1904 and 1908, The Empress is an icon in its own right and has been designated a National Historic Site. Perhaps one of its most captivating features is the veil of ivy that covers the face of this old hotel.
My hubby joined me on the trip and we set out on the renowned Garden Trail to see as many gardens as possible in the brief time we were there. Hatley Park was one of those magnificent gardens. The gardens surround B.C.’s Royal Roads University. The park grounds are open daily to the public for a modest fee but students of the University enjoy free access to the gardens. Can you imagine a more inspiring setting in which to study?
It’s time for another walk in the park! Won’t you come along?
A footbridge within the quiet beauty of the Japanese garden leads us into a magical setting of perfect quietude. I could have just stayed here for hours and not have ventured any further along the trail…(If you’d prefer a winter’s walk, take a side trip here in my home city).
The 565 acres of gardens of Royal Roads University include a Japanese Garden (photos above), Rose Garden and Italian Garden (photos below). The Italian garden is my favourite with frothy wisteria dripping over the garden’s ornate structures and entryways.
I love the pretty statuary of the Italian garden and the glorious pink roses that scramble wildly upwards over the castle walls. I do love pink!
The castle is named Hatley Castle built by The Honourable James Dunsmuir who was a coal baron and prominent businessman in British Columbia in the late 1800’s. He was elected Premier in 1900. After just two short years, he realized that he had no desire for public life and resigned in 1902. In later years, he served as Lieutenant Governor of the province. In 1908, Dunsmuir built impressive Hatley Castle set amidst spectacular formal landscapes and embraced by B.C. forest and expansive Pacific Ocean views.
Hatley Castle is now a classified Federal Heritage Building and is a popular site for weddings, special events, conferences, even motion picture filming and the buzz of late – experiential travel. Have you heard of it? Experiential travel is based more on real-life experiences than star-rated amenities and popular tourist attractions. Volunteering, immersing in cultural activities, trying new or exotic foods, even harvesting and cooking your own food – connecting with people where they live and experiencing everyday life – are what makes experiential travel so compelling and unique.
What struck me most about Hatley Park is the abundance, diversity and significance of the trees, including 250-year old Douglas firs that are said to be among the largest in the area. We had never seen anything like them and were awestruck by their lush beauty and colossal size. I stood under the enormous cedars letting their branches sweep over my face! I felt like a wee girl enchanted in a fairytale wonderland, dwarfed by their sheer majesty.
A picture is worth a thousand words. An entire photo album follows; you can do the math! :-) I hope you will get a feel for the grandeur, tranquil and reverent spirit of these winsome gardens. And, won’t you have some Japanese Cherry tea while you’re browsing? As you probably already know, it’s my favourite. My niece Janell gave me these sweet china cups many years ago. I love to sip from them while I dream of faraway places and their masterpiece gardens…
Online tea source: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Thank you for taking time to stop by and for leaving such lovely comments. I always look forward to hearing from you and am like a kid at Christmastime when I see your notes in my Inbox! Lol You just make my day. I hope to see you again soon. EnJOY your garden dreams! And, since there is so much green in this post, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Wishing you a beautiful day,