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A Visit to Butchart Gardens

Making It Grow Minute

  At Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada, plants are arranged for maximum Wow factor – what must be miles of borders of vividly contrasting colored and textured bedding plants were packed among perennials and evergreens. It was most effectively viewed, I thought, when we looked down and over several acres and could discern patterns as if Oriental rugs were laid out over the contours of this former limestone pit. At the end of our visit, we entered the Japanese Garden, were serenity finally prevailed. Japanese maples that nearly towered after a century of growing in this pocket of moisture and moderation were mixed with sculptured yews, and glades of fatsia. Here we were in Canada – at a latitude of 48 degrees (as opposed to 34 degrees back home) and gordonia and mimosa were blooming in an 8b hardiness zone.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.