Cherry Blossom Time in The Garden City
Cherry blossom viewing in Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia has one of the mildest climates in Canada and is one of the first in the country to see signs of spring. Its climate is perfect for a wide variety of gardening, leading to its reputation as the “Garden City of Canada.” Come spring, cherry and plum blossom trees line Victoria streets with white and pink blooms.
There are several varieties of cherry and plum blossoms in a range of hues throughout the city. Some bloom early spring, some late spring. The plum trees on View Street are often the first to bloom. Blossoms can be found downtown and throughout the city. The neighbourhoods of Fairfield and James Bay have the highest concentration of trees. James Bay also has a large collection of heritage homes and is within walking distance of downtown.
Trees date to the 1930s when the Japanese community donated two thousand dollars to the City of Victoria after winning two top prizes with Victoria Day Parade floats. Cherry and plum trees were imported from Japan. City of Victoria gardeners propagated hardy root stock, resulting in twenty-seven varieties of trees.
Hanami means “flower viewing” in Japanese, but commonly refers only to cherry blossom viewing. Traditionally it means a picnic party under the blooming trees. My hanami was a drive around Victoria streets with my sister to view the blossoms. Often, when we stopped we came across other viewers and their cameras.
Blossoms can start as early as mid-February and run through March, depending on the particular winter and spring. Victoria experienced a harsh winter this year and blossoms were later than normal. Most of these photos were taken on the last day of March. Many trees were in full blossom, a few were already dropping petals, and others were still in bud.
The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society, an organization celebrating Japanese-Canadian culture, has a Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) page, which describes the varieties of plum and cherry trees to be found in Victoria and identifies best viewing locations. And you may want to visit the famous Butchart Gardens, which will be full of pink hues in cherry blossom time.
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I love this time of year for the beauty it brings. The cherry blossoms are just amazing. How I wish I could walk among them now.
Susan, I haven’t often been in a place when the cherry blossoms are blooming. It was great to see them open up over the couple weeks we were there.
Absolutely gorgeous! So many cherry blossoms! I’ve never seen much of anything here in Toronto but of course now I’ll on the lookout. Victoria-envy of the weather and cherry blossoms!
Jan, this winter was colder than normal for Victoria, with several snowfalls which don’t happen often, so the blossoms were a bit later than usual. I’m glad I was there to see them.
The cherry blossoms look beautiful. And, better yet, they are a sure sign of spring.
Ken, and a delightful sign of spring at that.
The cherry blossoms seem to be super-gorgeous everywhere this year! Love these scenes in Victoria, one of my favorite cities. Thanks for sharing.
Carole, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It does seem to be a good year in many places for cherry blossoms.
I really appreciate learning about another great destination to enjoy those beautiful cherry blossoms. Victoria has been on our must-visit list for a while now. You’ve added another wonderful reason. Thanks!
Sue, there are lots of good reasons to visit Victoria, whether it is at cherry blossom time or another time of year. It’s a beautiful city.
Oh Donna, how beautiful! This really makes me want to schedule a visit to Victoria for next spring. So MANY blossoming trees. Spectacular!
Donna, I loved seeing the cherry blossoms. I’ve visited the city a number of times, but my visits ever coincided with cherry blossom time before.
Wow! Your photos of the cherry blossoms are jaw-droppingly stunning, Donna. I can easily imagine driving around for a few afternoons to take in these beautiful blooms. Looks like spring comes to Victoria with a special kind of style! Anita
Anita, jaw-droppingly stunning for sure. It was a delight to turn down a street and see it lined and canopied with blooms. On some streets you could get a glimpse of the ocean beyond the. Beautiful.
I love this time of year. Vancouver has bee blooming the passed few weeks and the cheery blossoms are at their peak right now. I’d love to head to Victoria one year to check them out there.
Nathalie, I know Vancouver also cherry blossoms, but I’ve never been there at the right time to see it. Another year perhaps.
Looks like an ideal time to visit Victoria. I have only been there in the summer and way too many years ago. Hope to visit Victoria, Canada again soon.
Charles, it is a good time to visit for the cherry blossoms and spring flowers. But other times of year offer other attractions and all kinds of flowers.
Wow, I’ve only had one quick trip to Victoria, and not in blossom season. It looks like non-stop beauty! Wishing for scratch-and-sniff posts!
Kristin, I like he idea of scratch and sniff posts!
Wow. So utterly lovely. We stumbled on the cherry blossoms blooming in Washington, DC one spring and it was magical. Victoria looks like I ought to put it on next year’s travel schedule. Thank you so much for sharing.
RoseMary, it felt magical to me too.
Donna – I love Victoria, but had no idea it had so many cherry trees! Now I have to plan a trip out there some day!
Cindy, I too love Victoria and have visited many times. It was a delight to be there during cherry blossom time.
Donna, when you live in Victoria, BC you probably won’t need Horticultural Therapy – it’s right there provided for you. Must have been amazing seeing all of that – how I envy you (but nicely LOL)
Lenie, there is definitely lots of horticultural therapy available in Canada’s Garden City. I was glad I was able to visit this spring during cherry blossom bloom time!
Sadly Victoria is no longer the City of Gardens. Rather, it is now the City of Garden Maintenance Noise. Expect a sonic assault from unnecessary leaf blowers and endless lawn maintenance whether you visit Beacon Hill Park or not. I should also add that the construction industry here is booming and so is the noise that accompanies it. Ear plugs are a wise investment for residents and visitors alike.
Jacob, noise pollution can certainly detract from enjoying things of visual beauty. I still find Victoria’s gardens really pretty, though.