Fantastically FOrmal Italian
Hatley Castle, built in 1908 for coal baron James Dunsmuir, is one of Canada's renowned National Historic Sites. The castle is grand, elegant and very beautiful – inside and out. Located in Greater Victoria, British Columbia, this mansion and extensive grounds is also home to the Royal Roads University. Among the 650 acres there's the Rose Garden, The Italian Garden, the Japanese Garden and hundred of heritage trees dotted around the estate including a 250 year-old immense Douglas fir.
The Italian Garden is a perfect example the symmetry and geometry associated with formal designs. From the central pavilion lies a rectangular garden. Each corner of the rectangle is anchored by a large ornate marble urn. The urns are dressed differently each year with inventive and delightful plant combinations using bedding and tropical plants. The shape of the rectangle is denoted by tightly clipped hedges with openings for paths that open up to the outer area. The hedges, paths and statues are the bones of the garden; they never change, however, the beds that surround them do. They are filled with bedding plants such as dusty miller, fountain grass, purple kale and coleus. Since the plant combinations change yearly, the garden is never the same. Inventive plant groupings never fail to inspire. I was blown away when purple kale was used in bold rows, behind blue salvia and dusty miller. It's such a creative use of kale. It made me look at kale in a whole new light.
There are two parts to this article as the grounds are extensive. The first instalment covers the Italian Garden, the second part is all about the exquisite Japanese Gardens and surrounding grounds. These pictures are mostly from my visit from October 2021, but I have also included some ones from the past to show how inventive the designs are over the years. I was a bit too late for the Rose Garden since I visited late in October, however Italian and Japanese Gardens were in full autumn glory, much to my delight. I hope you enjoy this walk through the Italian Garden at Hatley Castle estate. To go to their website click on Italian Garden.