Vignettes from Victoria I

It's spring break this week and we're in Victoria, British Columbia to visit daughter #1, who is a student at the University of Victoria. I'm taking plenty of photos, like I always do, and I will share them throughout the week.

Even though Victoria has one of the mildest climates in the Pacific Northwest, it, too, had a much harsher winter than usual. There are signs of spring, but people are saying that everything is three weeks behind. The difference between now now and our visit last year in the second week of April is quite dramatic. You'll see what I mean when you look at the photos below. And yet, Victoria is beautiful even when it's gray and rainy.

Plum tree leafing out every so slowly on the campus of the University of Victoria

Flowering currant (Ribes sp.)

Magnolia flower buds--they look like catkins, don't they?

Magnolia flower bud opening up

Waterfront, Sidney, BC

Planter along the Sidney waterfront

Hellebore along the Sidney waterfront

Euphorbia characias. It's a very popular landscaping plant.

Landscaping at a hotel on the Sidney waterfront

Yes, there are succulents in Victoria--in a florists shop

Trees in the backyard of our vacation rental

Down the street from where we're staying

House down the street--what a serene setting in the middle of a metropolitan area

Many houses in this part of lower Vancouver Island sit on top of or are surrounded by large granite outcroppings

Imagine having this in your front yard

Willows Beach in Oak Bay turned out to the perfect spot for strolling along the water

Looking towards Washington State in the U.S.

Sky and water

Tide pool on Willows Beach

Simple yet elegant front-yard landscaping with bamboo

This is the Tulip House I wrote about last April. The tulips are still small and will need a few more weeks. Notice the tall fence around the property. Deer clearly are a problem here.

Pieris japonica

Spring vignette photographed at Government House. This is where the British Royal Family stays when in town.

This is hellebore perfection! Does anybody know the cultivar?

Nothing says "spring" like daffodils

Hellebores and twisted Japanese maple

Siberian squill (Squilla siberica)--at least I think so. The range of flowering bulbs we see in Davis is severely limited.

Looking southwest towards the Strait of San Juan de Fuca

Heathers galore

Stunted Garry oaks (Quercus garryana) on top of Mount Douglas, the highest elevation in Greater Victoria

Where might these mystery stairs be leading?

To this view! This is looking northeast towards Sidney.

The top of Mt Douglas is mostly exposed rock and moss

...and lichen

More stunted Garry oaks...

...densely covered with lichen and draped with moss

Wherever I turned I saw things I wanted to photograph

Trail into the forest
 Stay tuned for more vignettes from Victoria to come!


  1. What a beautiful place. And very non-arid. They must get 50" of rain a year. No, a search reports only 33". "Only" 33"! Ha, ha!

    Have a great visit!

    1. Non-arid, that's the perfect description. The gardens in Victoria look so exotic to me. Which I'm sure must sound funny to gardeners outside of California and the Southwest.

  2. Spring may have been delayed in Victoria but it's no less beautiful. As I was reading through your post, I began to wonder what that tulip house you photographed last year looked like when, voila, a photo appeared!

    1. Glad you saw a photo of the Tulip House in all its glory. I'm sure a tremendous amount of work goes into that annual display!

  3. Thanks for the gorgeous photos! I love Victoria, though it's been years since the last time I was there. Those glacier-carved granite outcroppings dotted through the city are one of my favorite aspects.

    1. I would love to have one of those outcroppings at home. They offer so many possibilities! Rock garden, crevice garden, etc. etc.

  4. I bet this vacation trip is making a nice change from California for you. I hope you like moss. Be careful, don't stand still too long, or it might start to grow on you. Thanks for sharing your photos, there are some really outstanding shots. I love the ripples on the tide pool.

    1. I never stand still long enough for moss to grow on my, LOL.

      We drove by a Kiwanis community center yesterday, and the signboard out front said "Will any-one please send a little sunshine?". That made me laugh.

  5. Even though I'm done with rain (on track for another record breaking month here in Portland) these very green photos are quite beautiful. So I'm curious, just how often does the British Royal Family visit?

    1. I don't know how often members of the Royal Family visit, but Prince William and his family were staying at Government House during their official visit to BC last fall. The location is beautiful, with sweeping views of the waterfront.

  6. Gorgeous photos! Victoria is lovely in the Spring. They get almost all 33" of rain in the winter. Summers are long and very dry so is still a perfect place to enjoy succulents. All the granite ensures excellent drainage!

    1. I've seen a few succulents here and there but fewer than I expected, considering how mild winters general are.


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