When consolation seems out of reach I often find solace in beauty. Yesterday I returned to Butchart Gardens seeking solace among the flowers and the trees. I’ve never forgotten my first visit to this garden or that initial wonder of looking down into the former limestone quarry and its riot of colour when I was four.
That heart-pinching response hasn’t changed much; somehow, it never grows old.
A plaque placed in the garden by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board Canada reads:
Jennie Butchart began to shape this magnificent landscape in 1904. She established, in the style of the grand estates of the period, several distinct gardens to evoke a range of aesthetic experiences.
An abandoned limestone quarry was transformed into the dramatic Sunken Garden, a reflection of the early 20th-century beautification movement and an exceptional achievement in Canadian gardening history.
Through successive generations of the Butchart family this site has retained much of its original design, and continues the Victorian tradition of seasonally changing the outstanding floral displays.
Inhaling the phytoncides (essential oils released by the trees) in the morning air, I wander the pathways between the flowers, dew still glistening on the lawns as the sunlight streams between the trees.
Around every corner more compositions of line, colour and grace appear.
Even the trash towers are columns of magnificence.
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.
Chief Dan George