When finally the daisies spring forth, the butterflies are not far behind. After traveling thousands of miles by treacherous sea, a private garden patch would have been an oasis of peace for Mrs. Roscoe and something she tended to with much love. Surrounded by rich, thick BC forest at the time, a delicate garden of this beauty with its paths, fruit trees, and beautiful features introduced a bit of home into this new place. A tiny bit of comfort in an unfamiliar land.
Join us as we visit the gardens and grounds of Ross Bay Villa, a beautiful heritage home that was saved from certain demolition by the great people at TLC The Land Conservancy of BC. They have spent an incredible amount of time and passion on restoring this very important link to our heritage on Vancouver Island and this attention to perfect detail also extends to the meticulous grounds. To read about the history of this important landmark, please visit our previous post “An Afternoon At The Villa” for all the details.
As you stand on the front lawn taking in the beautiful architectural details gently softened by the delicate lace curtains hanging in the antique windows, the myriad of flowers and faint buzzing of honey bees in the garden really bring this home to life. Things like the wooden rain barrels may seem simple at first, but really they add a touch of character to a scene that is already kissed by magic.
Architectural details like the double-flue chimney and the decorative turned finials are hallmarks of early west coast architect John Wright. He designed many of the early buildings in San Fransisco which are all now long destroyed from earthquakes and fires. These extra touches bring a unique artistic element to an already poignant little place. This is a rare and special home, indeed!
The last time we cast our lens upon this scene, a group of archeologists were performing an active dig looking for artifacts from the period. Today, it’s a perfect footprint of the original garden. The kitchen area of the house is located in the back, making for easy access to the garden for meal preparations by the live-in cook.
During the planning period for restoring and recreating the original grounds and gardens, we were told TLC commissioned archeological excavations to find the exact layout. Some of the fruit trees in the yard are also original to the landscape, and will remain happy inhabitants for 50 plus more years.
Peeking through the trees, we see the beautiful flowers that create a perimeter to take the viewers eye to the garden gate. The colors are vivid and varied, attracting bees and butterflies as they flitter through the yard looking for something to enjoy.
This wooden rain barrel was a wonderful find. Rich in texture, the image is immediately immersed in nostalgia, creating a scene that has to be seen to really appreciate it.
The bright purple Foxgloves stand tall and proud here, receiving plenty of care and nourishment from both Mother Nature and the caregivers from TLC. Just behind the row of flowers hides another wooden barrel, one that is scarcely seen except by those who choose to linger for a few moments.
The footprint of the path and the circular center garden are exactly where the original garden lay. Royal Doulton was contacted and worked with TLC to carefully and perfectly recreate the tiles that form the circumference of the garden. With the accents provided by the different colored flowers that are seen everywhere, this magical place really comes to life and transports the visitor back over 150 years in the blink of an eye.
And in a highly emotional moment that really speaks of the wonder of our experience, we learned something so very special as our visit came to an end. During the last archeological dig that was performed, almost on a whim, just behind the fenced area the archeologists found this tile. It is original from 1865, when Ross Bay Villa was just a brand new home to the Roscoe family. It is one of just a few brought over by boat by Mrs. Roscoe with the sole intent of creating a little space reminiscent of her homeland. The restored tiles were recreated using only fragments pieced together, this is the only one found intact. It is nothing short of astounding that the staff and volunteers were able to so precisely recreate them, but then this place is full of little miracles.
It was an honor and privilege to be part of this direct connection to our past. If you’re in the Victoria area over the Canada Day long weekend, we really encourage you to come see the Canada Day Lawn Party hosted by The Land Conservancy of BC and sit in the garden for yourself as we celebrate the weekend with a visit to our past.
Thanks for visiting our post today, we really appreciate your kind support. We really do love to hear from all our visitors so we encourage you to leave us any comments that you may have.