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Year Round Personalized Garden Tours

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Guest Book

Karen Chapman; co-author of Fine Foliage, owner of Le jardinet

My recent trip to Victoria was for the sole purpose of photographing gardens for future publications. I had very specific requirements and wasn’t really sure if Joan would be able to grasp what I had I mind let alone find gardens that would work for me.

In fact she far exceeded my expectations. Not only does Joan have an outstanding botanical knowledge, she had researched ahead of time not only the gardens themselves but she knew which sections of the gardens would be most suitable and even which angles might work best for photography – and at what time of day! During the shoots she would help me spot the rogue dead leaf that threatened to ruin the image and produce a pair of pruners to deal with it! This attention to detail saved me hours, made the whole trip fun and enabled me to return home with a significant portfolio of images.

Having someone else take care of scheduling was huge but Joan went far beyond that by helping track down accommodation, reminding me to eat (gardeners do tend to forget) and even sharing interesting historical facts as we drove from one garden to the next.

Don’t just visit a garden – experience a garden with Victorian Garden Tours.

Recommended by Portland Garden Time TV program as #1 local tour guide!

From Martin Kovar
As a graduate of two Master of Landscape Architecture programs and a practicing residential garden designer in Canada, I was truly pleased with the high standard or guided tours offered by Joan Looy of Victorian Garden Tours. Having participated in several escorted visits to gardens in Europe, Joan surprised me with a customized itinerary of sites tailored to satisfy my individual interests, based on a telephone discussion Joan initiated in advance of our tour.

Paying careful attention to each garden location and exposure, Joan lined up our visits so as to show each site in the optimal light and time of day. Her intimate knowledge of Victoria gardens and access privileges to a vast array of sites, allowed me, an out of province visitor, to start my day experiencing the quiet wonder of treading on a grassy path shimmering with silver dew, hemmed by cushy mounds of textural perennials. Similarly, the study of shadow play and rich colours of pealing bark displayed by an aged rhododendron grouping, were offered in the afternoon.

Like a chef, Joan took me through the day serving the exact right dishes at the most appropriate times, with heavy emphasis on desert items. Delight yourself, and sample some of the sites Victorian Garden Tours gained access to over many years in business. Let Joan know about your taste preferences, and she will do her best to satisfy your appetite for the art of gardening.

From Helen Chappell – Tennessee
Your tour of the 3 private gardens was the highlight of our visit to Victoria! The gardens were fabulous, and your commentary on the design, color combinations and verticality were enlightening. A feast for the eyes and ears. We really appreciated as well your knowledgeable historical narrative on the points of interest in Victoria. The rest of our stay was richer because of it.

Thank you so much.

From Alice Joyce – Gardenwalks in the Pacific Northwest – pg 227, Globe Pequot Publisher
Enthusiastic and eminently knowledgeable, Joan Looy, offers customized, interpretive tours of private gardens and public landscapes in Victoria, British Columbia, and its environs. On a tour with Joan or an associate, you’ll gain access to gardenscapes that reflect Pacific Northwest style, viewing deeply layered designs created by homeowners who are avid plant collectors and true colourists..”

Alice Joyce added the above unsolicited review of Victorian Garden Tours to her book after a tour with us. Thank you Alice!

From Robert Amos – Victoria Art Critic
Your professionalism, your deep knowledge and fun attitude were everything my group could have hoped for.

From Dale – San Pedro California
Thank you for a wonderful day. This will be the high point of my trip.

From Peter and Sally – Palo Alto California
Thanks for a wonderful morning of flower gardens and herbs, even more interesting gardeners!

From Sherry – Medford Oregon
The combination of fragrance, color, design and personality made this tour perfect for our last day in Victoria!

From Hiroko and Msae – Osaka Japan
A very wonderful gardening tour! Thank you very much. I want to come back to Victoria in the near future!!

From Alice – Wellington New Zealand
Wonderful fall colours and I appreciated the informed commentary. Very inspirational. Thanks for all the tips on what to see and do.

From Elizabeth – Seidell Louisiana
Lovely gardens – Joan does a wonderful job! Thanks so much!

From Claire – Haliburton Ontario
Two great days in beautiful and interesting gardens. Thank you for showing us a small part of your area and sharing your knowledge

From Elaine – Windsor Ontario
A beautiful island – lovely gardens and interesting people. Thank you.

The majority of the time is spent in the gardens and the routes that are chosen for going from garden to garden are designed to give a scenic and historic overview of our area. (Meals can be arranged, if so desired)

For more information on our garden tours in and around the city of Victoria please email us at or fax us at (250) 383-2846. We look forward to hearing from you.

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