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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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!

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.

Ross Bay Villa - Grounds & Gardens - Victoria, BC, Canada

Ross Bay Villa – Grounds & Gardens – Victoria, BC, Canada

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.




  1. Looks like a beautiful place. You did a great job capturing it.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Oh my gosh, Scott, thank you SO much! Coming from you that means a whole lot to us my friend!

  2. avatar Jim Denham says:

    What a beautiful place with awesome details in design. The rain barrel is so, so cool and the finials on the roof peaks are just outstanding! Thanks for sharing it with us Toads!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      And how can we possibly thank you for taking the time to visit and leave us your fabulous comments here, Jim? I have no idea… you, sir, are a true scholar and a gentleman, and we sure do appreciate all the friendship & support you show us here!

  3. avatar LensScaper says:

    A beautiful, intelligently created garden, faithfully restored and well photographed. Looking at that last shot of the tile. Is that first word ‘Doulton’? If so I wonder if it has any connections with the British Royal Doulton company – probably too much of a coincidence.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It absolutely does, Andy, that was one of the original tiles from the garden that Mrs. Roscoe made in 1865 when the house was new! A lot of care and effort went into working with the folks at Royal Doulton to create genuine reproductions that you now see around the garden in our post here! Many kind thanks for taking the time to pop by today, my friend, we sure do appreciate all your support!

  4. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nice series Scotty, that garden walkway shot is beautiful!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, kind sir, we really do appreciate your wonderful comments and support here!

  5. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    What a grand old place Toad. As much as I liked the interior, the exterior is just as beautiful if not more so. Wonderful post my friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you SO much Len, that just means the world to us my friend! We really appreciate you taking the time to pop by and see us, and for leaving us your wonderful comments!

  6. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    What a terrific place! The photos are beautiful and your write up is great as usual! Superb Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Rich, that means an awful lot to us coming from you, my friend! Many thanks!

  7. avatar Rick Louie says:

    What a beautiful place. The walkway and yard entrance are gorgeous!

  8. Really stunning work here Toad. Just love the feel of the photos and your eye for detail

  9. Awesome post as usual. Love that last pic and the dappled light.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Chris! We’re beaming from ear-to-ear here this morning after reading your comments! Much appreciated!!

  10. Another well written post with beautiful imagery. I especially like the shot of the path winding through the garden. Nice job.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks SO much Steven, we really appreciate all your support and friendship here!

  11. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Wow beautiful property. Great post as usual Toad and the images of the gardern are fantastic.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so kindly, Edith! Coming from you that means an awful lot to us here!

  12. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    Such a beautiful place! Nicely seen and documented.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      How can we properly begin to thank you for all you do for us, Chris? It really means so much! Thanks, my friend!

  13. Another great set of images and lovely post overall, Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Gosh, thanks so much Mark, that really means a lot to us my friend! Your visits to The Hollow are always a highlight of our day, thank you for taking the time here!

  14. avatar Tom Barnett says:

    Great post. Love that last photo and the great story behind it. Fantastic work as always!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you ever so kindly, Tom! That really means an awful lot to us my friend!

  15. There is nothing more visually exciting than checking out these wooden structures built a century and a half ago with work by top notch artisans. Especially after a restoration project to remove the ravages of time puts it back to the way it was originally built and decorated. Top notch photography Mr Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That is so, so kind of you, Joseph, thank you very much my friend! I totally agree with your thoughts and sentiments here, truer words never spoken! We sure do appreciate you taking the time to pop by and see us here, and for leaving us your great comments!!

  16. […] A Project of Love, An Afternoon at the Villa, Tea at the Villa, Dinner with the Roscoes, and Catching Butterflies. Find more wonderful photos on their blog ToadHollowPhotography.com and see excerpts from their […]

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      One of of key initiatives is our ongoing work with the great people at TLC, and we really look forward to doing so much more! We sincerely appreciate all the support they show us!

  17. avatar ehpem says:

    Hi Toad, I have looked at these images several times the past week and am very impressed. Terrific series, so well done. Your processing emphasizes and enhances the documentation of this wonderful project of so many dedicated volunteers. You make it look so easy! And I know that it is not at all easy.

    I am off to the Canada Day festivities today to see inside Ross Bay Villa for myself. I only ever walk by and admire the garden so it is a long overdue visit, inspired by your photos.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What wonderful comments, my friend, you have NO idea how much we really appreciate that! It was a true honor and privilege to finally have a chance to meet you at the event this weekend, both Mrs. Toad and I have been talking all weekend about how nice a time we had! Hope to see you again, very soon! And once again, many heartfelt thanks for your visit here and for your kind comments!

      • avatar ehpem says:

        It was very nice to meet the Toads at long last and to have a chance to speak face to face for a while, quite a long while in fact 🙂 We must get together again.

        And Ross Bay Villa was amazing. The archaeology of wall paper was a new one for me. I had no idea that they peeled it off one layer at a time (with scalpels) so they could see and document the room as it looked before the next layer was added. Even mapping the faded outlines of pictures, and the location of holes for picture hangers and so on such that they could recreate the decorative scheme of each period. And so many layers of wallpaper since the 1860’s. That is a true labour of love, and containing so much information. A real eye opener.

        • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

          The facility is absolutely amazing, it’s like there are interesting secrets to be discovered at every turn! We are so very happy you had a chance to pop by and see for yourself! We had a wonderful time spending time with you and your lovely wife and are really looking forward to having a chance to do that again sometime real soon! Thanks for all your friendship, support and encouragement, my good friend, it really means so much to us here. 🙂

  18. Awesome series, love the 4th one Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much there, Mike, coming from you that means an AWFUL lot to us here!

  19. Great post and images Toads! The opening picture with the tree framing the house is great! So happy to see you had a good time at the event. Pretty amazing to see the tiles recreated!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It is an AMAZING place, Michael, so glad you had a chance to share in this with us here! Thank you for your kind visit, my friend, much appreciated!

  20. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    Lovely shots Toad 🙂 Congrats on dropping the .wordpress.com 🙂

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Adam, all your friendship & support here means the world to us my friend!

  21. Great set – really like the garden shots

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Mark, once again coming from you this just means so much to us! We really appreciate all your encouragement and support, my good friend!! 🙂