We took a short drive down West Saanich Road the other day, Chelsea and I, with the destination of Glendale Gardens & Woodland in mind. I had said, “Do you want to go to a garden?” and she had responded with all the affirmative bouncy-ness of her three-year-old self. So we climbed in the car and went.
When I got there I realized that I had forgotten Chelsea’s sun hat – not being used to seeing the sun consistently in these parts for so long – but we did have sunscreen so on it went for the both of us. And we bounded through the gate and paid my fare (Chelsea got in free as she’s under 16) and then had the run of the place – pretty much.
I had brought along a picnic lunch and Chelsea couldn’t wait to dig in, so we found two white chairs in a gazebo near the orchard to eat it. Who cares that it was 11:00am and not quite time for lunch? We must have known that we were going to need the fortitude for what was to come – a full-on assault of exploration of the place at a preschooler’s quick pace. After lunch, Chelsea was in her element and it was all I could do to keep up.
It turned out that the lack of a sun hat wasn’t too much of a problem, as the Japanese, Pacific Rim and Native gardens were fairly shaded – and we spent most of our time there. There were so many things to look at and so many paths to take. I followed a near-running Chelsea down almost every path, but sometimes we parted briefly and then met up again. I did make sure to hold her hand over the river crossings (even though she didn’t want to – “big girl” that she’s becoming), but the rest of the garden was completely worry-free.
After about an hour of eating and lower garden exploration we decided to come up to the top again, towards the upper gardens. Chelsea had just started to try to convince me that I should carry her, that she was getting tired, when we spotted some garden beds with a whole handful of interesting child-like things in it. Lo and behold, we had stumbled right into the Children’s Garden and quickly discovered its kitschy and cute little children’s playhouse right smack in the middle. Suddenly, Chelsea wasn’t tired anymore! She now had something her size to explore, complete with a tiny table and chairs and a little stove. And she played there for at least another half an hour. I’m actually glad that we discovered this quaint part of the garden last, as I’m sure it would have been hard to tear Chelsea away from it to see the other parts of the garden if we’d discovered it first.
Soon it was time to go and take one of us home for a nap. (You guess which one!) It had been a wonderful visit, and one I will definitely repeat soon. Who knew that a demonstration garden could be such a delight to both kids and parents? Even though I’d been to Glendale Gardens a few times before I saw things on this trip that were new to me, things that they’ve definitely enhanced since my last visit. I highly recommend a lengthy visit to this nonprofit demonstration garden, especially if you have kids.
To see my complete set of photos from this visit, click here.