Monday, August 5, 2013

Butterflies, Moths, and Sushi, Oh My!

We started off grand today with the best dim sum restaurant in town. Though we ordered less than I was used to, it was magnificent. And then we were off on our adventure!

First we stopped by a Japanese grocery story to pick up our lunch, dinner, and snacks – sushi and mochi – and then headed to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens!


Now I’m no stranger to butterfly gardens and this wasn’t the biggest one by far, but perhaps it was the most dynamic. Not only did we have finches, quail, and parrots – but tortoises, turtles, ducks, and flamingoes as well! The butterflies swarmed you the moment you get in. and these aren’t just monarch and the like – these are the hand-sized Owl Butterflies, shimmering Tailed Jays, and spectacular, gorgeous butterflies that I can't identify, all imported from foreign climes and all utterly and completely smashed.

Owl butterfly from the top

Owl butterfly from the bottom

Yes, you heard me right – lots of fluttering butterflies drunk on fermented fruit.

There was a complementary tour and only Heather, Kevin, and I deemed to join it so it was just like having a personal tour! It was awesome.

There were also moths – Atlas moths to be precise, the largest moths in the world.

The caterpillar
The moth (male)

Though many of these butterflies and moths start life as imported cocoons, they also breed and grow in the garden itself!
Eggs in the room
Imported cocoons

Tailed Jay

Owl Butterfly caterpillar

And look at this little shy plant.

When you touch it, it closes up!

Wood Nymph

Then we left the fluttering swarm and headed to a new garden…an outdoor sort.

Butchart Gardens is amazing. Not only was it started in 1904, but it is also pretty darn massive with a variety of flowers.

The sunken garden used to be a giant limestone quarry.

Heather and I at the end of the Sunken Garden

Found this little guy while walking back!

There’s a carousel (with an accurate transient orca (pointy dorsal fin, solid saddlepatch, works for me!)!

A quick sushi break and then we entered the Native plants garden, heading to the rose garden.

A really tall lily!

Here we see what Heather and Kevin called “smallish” cedars.

Not so smallish to me, though!

And onto the Rose Garden!

And the Japanese garden.

I had fun.

The most impressive though, was not the Star Fountain…

…but the Italian Gardens. Ah, what a sight!

We took a luxurious tour of the gardens, taking multiple breaks to just gaze at the scenery. It was as if walking in a dream.

And then we went to Mt. Doug – a temperate rainforest in its dry season. The trees are so big, but I’ve been told that there are bigger in a forest a 7 hour drive away. But oh man, did I have fun today!

The trees are so tall!

And we climbed to the very top!

On the way down, I found Mt. Baker!

And attempted a picture!

It started getting dark on the way down

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