Jennie Butchart started the Butchart Garden as a hobby in 1904. In 1906, she created a Japanese garden with designer Isaburo Kishida. In 1909, when the quarry was exhausted, she started to turn it into a sunken garden, which was completed in 1921. The tennis courts were replaced with an Italian garden in 1926 and a large rose garden (design of Butler Sturtevant of Seattle) replaced the kitchen vegetable garden in 1929.
Ian Ross (the grandson of the Butcharts) received the Gardens on his 21st birthday in 1939; he was actively involved in its development and promotion for the next 58 year.
Lots of underground wiring was laid to provide night illumination, to mark the 50th anniversary of The Gardens in 1953. To celebrate the 60th anniversary the ever-changing Ross Fountain was installed in the lower reservoir in 1964. The Canadian Heraldic Authority granted a coat of arms to the Butchart Gardens in 1994. To mark the 100th anniversary, two 30-foot totem poles were installed and The Gardens was designated as a national historic site in 2004. Robin-Lee Clarke (Butchart's great-granddaughter) is the owner and managing director since 2001.
"The public area of The Butchart Gardens covers 22ha (55 acres) with much more, for the most part, "off stage." Twenty-six greenhouses covering almost 2 acres, along with trial growing areas, a plant and a tree and shrub nursery help to keep The Gardens in prime viewing condition."
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