trip was a nice break for us both…we rented a convertible, hoping
that it wouldn’t rain while there and were not disappointed…the
weather was beautiful. Upon
arriving at the airport we got our car then headed off to visit Rick
and Jean Sorenson, not ten minutes from the airport.
After a wonder couple of hours with them including a tour
around the garden by Rick – you can see Rick pondering a new
clematis and Rick and Tom sitting on the grass chatting, we headed
off to Tom’s sisters place to get ready for the press gathering at
the show that afternoon.
first picture you see is of the show from a distance.
This is a small lake just in front of the castle and where
we are is on a road that is actually a short cut from Victoria to
where we are staying…Tom grew up in this area so is very
knowledgeable about it.
year’s garden and flower show was held at the beautiful
on the grounds of
Dunsmuir commissioned Samuel Maclure, a Victorian architect,
to design the "Castle", and Messrs. Brett and Hall,
landscape artists of Boston, Massachusetts, to plan the gardens
and surroundings. Local stone, trimmed by
sandstone was used in the building's construction. Its impressive
exterior is matched only by the lavishness of the interior
appointments; oak and rosewood panelled rooms, baronial fireplace,
teak floors, and specially made lighting fixtures. James is quoted
as saying: "Money doesn't matter, just build what I
building is 200 feet long and 86 feet wide; the turret is 82 feet
high. The wall surrounding the estate, also built of local stone,
cost over $75,000; the Conservatory, costing a like amount, was at
one time filled with white orchids imported from India; a large
banana tree grew in the centre under the dome. The rooms of the
house were filled with flowers from the Conservatory throughout
the year. Ten kilometres of road interlaced the estate, and a
hundred men were employed in the gardens. There were a number of
other buildings on the estate to provide for the needs of the
large household, but many of these have now been demolished: the
vast refrigeration plant; the cow stables; the slaughter house and
smoke house; the three silos, each of 100 ton capacity; the
reserve water tank to the south of Belmont Drive; the old stable
near the bridge to the east of the present fields; to say nothing
of the Chinatown to accommodate 80 to 120 gardeners. There remain,
however, the model dairy and the stables, which were of solid
brick and concrete construction. The "Castle" was
completed in 1908, and the Dunsmuir family took up residence in
Tom and I visited a couple of years ago, we wandered off to the
old glasshouses. There
is one old one standing and inside this building we some very nice
people who let us walk around and see what was there.
There were fig trees there and you will never taste
something so good as a fresh fig.
There was also a grape vine here.
I asked about this grape vine and was told an incredible
story. This vine was a
baby when sent here over 100 years ago – and was a slip off the
great grape vine at
Who would have thought – I got to taste these sweet
next pictures are that of the show and of course the Castle is
included in some of them.
The grounds are very beautiful, just look at the Italian
garden which is right off the balcony of the Castle.
That’s Art Drysdale and I walking around the Italian
will also see a grouping of three big leaves…can you believe
that this is man made? It’s
actually a waterfall of sorts and was just beautiful!
exception, this event is open to landscape architects and
designers and to any individuals, garden clubs, nurseries,
societies, florists, garden centers, municipalities and
businesses, who wish to join in celebrating the beauty of our
unique garden city. Five categories will be available for your
choice of submissions and will include Show gardens (demonstration
gardens); Hanging Baskets; Floral Arrangements (cut or dried
category); Cut Flowers; and
category will be judged by both a jury of your peers as well as a
people's choice award. Each method will carry its own trophies and
prizes. It is possible to win first prize by both methods, however
keep in mind that juried peers will be much more discriminating
than the people's choice.’
noted from the Flower Show site, this is a great way to showcase
the beauty of
are also lots of pictures to see on their site…