April 1st - October 31st 
the Gardens will be open
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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April  E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Spring Plant Sale
April 22 & 23: 9:00 to 4:00


Come join us on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23 for our annual Spring Plant Sale. The sale is open from 9:00 to 4:00 both days! Admission  to the Gardens is free during plant sales.

We will many unique plants, many of which were propagated in-house. The full plant list can be found here

Victoria Master Gardeners, staff, volunteers, and our Horticulture students will be available to answer your questions. 

All proceeds raised from the sale go back into the maintenance a nd development of the Gardens.

Earth Day is April 22. Celebrate by buying something special to plant in your garden! 

Hope to see you then!
Linda Petite, Head Gardener


Also at the Spring Plant Sale ...

Used Library Books for Sale
Come browse our tables of used gardening books in the pavilion. You may find a hidden treasure or two!

Coffee & Muffins in the Pavilion
Coffee and muffins will be available if you would like to sit and contemplate your plant and book purchases or just want to relax in our beautiful gardens! 

Coffee/Tea $2
M uffin $2
Coffee & Muffin $3

Cash Only Please!!!

Gift Shop
Come and check out the new items in the gift shop. We will also be holding a sale to clear out older items. Perhaps there is another treasure here!

We also still have mason bees available. Now that spring really is here, it is the perfect time to put the bees out!

Please note, plant, gift shop, used books, and memberships can be bought on credit or debit, but there is no ATM on site to disperse cash.

HCP Welcomes New General Manager Deborah Donahue

I am honoured to take on the role of HCP's General Manager.
For the past 3 years, I have been the Financial Administrator at the HCP and have an extensive background in Finance working for Public Accounting Firms, Not-for-Profits, small businesses, and as the Financial Controller of a Golf Resort. I have a very clear picture of exactly where the HCP is at financially and, while it is challenging running a large not-for-profit on a tight budget, we are also working towards long-term planning and sustainability. The staff and volunteers that I am fortunate enough to work with every day have the same goal and desire to see the HCP succeed as I do and with the continued support of our Board, we can continue to make the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific financially blossom and grow.

Giles Jottings
Well it is interesting to come back to Victoria. After a long grey wet winter on the west coast of England, it is intriguing to see how you have been faring on the west coast of North America. You have definitely had more snow than we did, but I think the persistence of the rain has probably been quite similar. However,  I am quite surprised by how late the spring is here. We are almost mid-April and there are very few plants in the gardens showing serious growth, let alone blooms.

The daffodils, of course, are magnificent, both below the Great Lawn and also the large patch beside the lake in the Conservation Park. And they are much more accessible this year after the work the volunteers did last year cutting out the Ha wthorn bushes ( Crataegus monogyna ) that had got quite out of control.

The stro ngest impression I have in the Gardens is the  beautiful combination of whites an d pinks that flows through the Winter Garden and surrounding areas. The  hellebores offer both white and pink varieties ( Helleborus foetidus , Helleborus niger , Helleborus x hybridus ) and are just beginning to go over. Then there are carp ets of trout lilies ( Erythronium ) in pale pinks and lilac (see photo). And that reminds me: last year the HCP was offered the opportunity to save some rare varieties of trout lily from a collector's garden in Duncan. We spent a day there digging up all sorts of bulbs, most of which were unidentified. Many of these have now been planted in the Fusion Garden bed on the right of the main path opposite the pavilion. Look carefully and you can see an interesting range of shapes and colours  of these plants, also known as Dog's-tooth violets.

The Daphne odora are in full bloom, offering both colour and  scent, and a little further down the path can be seen a large concentration of Tril liums, both whites and dark reds. Many of the dark-flowered variety ( Trillium erectum ) have also been the result of that day of digging bulbs last summer. 

The Rhododendron Garden is producing plenty of attractive ea rly spring colour. Rhododendron 'Sir Charles Lemon' is a startling white that reflects the several Magnolia stellata around the gardens and Rhododendron  'Missi on Bells' is just beginning to show its red petals. 

Passing on through into the Takata Garden, there  are Camellias in white and reds and pinks and a most attractive flowering cherry is now standing pink over the upper pool. 

And before I forget, I must mention the impressive growth of ma rsh plants that are now blooming at the entrance to the Western Woods path, beside the Drive Sheds. There are both skunk cabbage ( Symplocarpus foetidus ) and palmate coltsfoot ( Petasites palmatus ) in full flower, which the Native Plant volunteers have  managed to establish and develop over the last few years. 
Highlight on Volunteers - Hardy Border Group
by: Cheri le Brun

This energetic volunteer group takes care of the three beautiful beds that make up the Hardy Borders Garden and has more than 20 volunteers. We chatted with a few volunteers who braved the rain a couple weeks ago to volunteer at the gardens. The Lead Steward volunteer for the group, Diane Pierce, is a fount of knowledge when it comes to identifying plants. Diane is an instructor for the Pacific  Horticulture College at the HCP and also teaches Plant Identification workshops one Saturday a month. Diane is well known for her good sense of humour and adventurous spirit. One of her fondest travel memories is of crawling on her belly through caves in New Zealand. Diane's partner, Hector Bussiere, also works with the group. He enjoys hiking and being outdoors. Before retiring he was a Horticulturist for the City of Victoria. Another volunteer out in the rain was Joan Grieg who has volunteered for at least 20 years with the group. When she is not gardening, Joan also volunteers as a dog walker for the SPCA. 

We also ran into Lynne Ewing and Trudy Duivenvoorden volunteering that day. Lynne has been volunteering with the HCP for over 20 years and also volunteers at the Beacon Hill Rock and Alpine Garden. Trudy is a newer addition to the group and started volunteering last year. Trudy is a garden writer and the back page columnist for Focus Magazine. 

The group has diverse talents and are dedicated to creating a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy. The group does welcome new volunteers, so if you would like to join them, please email the volunteer coordinator at
Hello! Goodbye!
by Linda Petite
Spring signals many kinds of changes in the garde ns. 

My assistant G iles Collins is back from his 6-month stay in Coniston, England.  He reports that he did about equal amounts of farming, building renovation, and bureaucracy.  Farming wise, Giles kept ducks, chickens, pigs, goats, 2 dogs, and a cat. R enovations mainly involved building a new attic ceiling with insulation, getting the entire house re-wired, and plastering and painting inside.  Bureaucracy applies to just about everything in the UK, from building and farming to health and safety--it seemed to be never ending.  All the rest of his time he spent walking the hills with the dogs.  WELCOME BACK Giles.

Mark MacKenzie Moore filled in for Giles during his absence. Mark will still be involved with garden projects and teaching for the college on Fridays. M ark would like to say, 
" It's been a pleasure stepping into Giles' shoes for the last 6 months.  I knew when I read Giles' Jottings that they would indeed be large shoes to fill. 
Time has gone so fast!    I am looking forward to slipping back into them in September when Giles returns to the farm.  Thanks to all the staff and volunteers for being so welcoming and helpful."
And THANK YOU, Mark! 

Mark is a Certified Irrigation Technician and has his own business which is just ramping up for the busy irrigation installation and maintenance season. If you are in need of any irrigation work, contact  Mark at He comes highly recommended!
Wanted!! Used Blinds and Square Pots


If you have any old blinds that you don't know what to do with, consider donating them to the HCP. The slats make great sticks for labelling plants!

We are also looking for square pots. If you have any that you would like to donate, they will be welcome here!

Contact Linda Petite, Head Gardener at if you have any blinds or square pots to donate.
We received only two communications about the March Whatzit!  Maybe everyone who would normally be checking our eNews had left the country in disgust because of the weather we were experiencing. But, now that you are back with us, you will doubtless recognize instantly - as did Carolyn and Mike - that this was a Daphne odora, commonly called Winter Daphne.
These are particularly loved for their scent, but aren't usually a long-lived shrub because they are a bit finicky. They like morning sun and shade when the sun gets high. Also, they do best when they don't get much water during the growing season and should have good drainage in the winter.  

See if you can tell us whatzit below?  Send your answer to

This month, not only are we asking you to identify a Whatzit?, but we also want to ask Wherezit? Can you tell us in which garden we can find the plant in the photo below? 

Send your answer to

Pacific Horticulture College
For more information on registration please call the office 250-479-6162 or e-mail
The PHC students are well into their studies now. Their days are mixed with classroom course work and exams, applying practical skills, working offsite or in the Gardens with different volunteer groups, and drinking coffee. We always know when they're onsite! They are hardworking, eager, and quite inspiring to be around!

Upcoming college courses and events:


Youth Programs

To Register: Call 250 479 6162 or email

Upcoming Programs
Once a month the JMG Kids Garden Club meets for seasonal gardening activities in our very own JMG Garden Plot! Our growing season starts early and there is always lots to do!! Join us on May 6 when we'll be harvesting kale, lettuce, chives, and parsley for take-home. We'll also be planting up more seeds and starts.

CLUB DATES: Saturdays from 9:45 am - 11:45 am on May 6, June 3, Sept 9, Oct 7, Nov 4, Dec 2
COST: $10/2 hr session or $65/set of 8 sessions
AGES: All ages welcome! Children under 5 need to be with a supervising/participating adult 

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail if you have any questions.

This year we will focus on growing our own food in our gardening camps, including exploration of resident beneficial/pests, soils, organic gardening practices, growing food, and harvesting. We will create a garden, weed, plant, seed, harvest, and sample from the garden. There will be lots of growing things to take home and cultivate for later harvesting. This program is designed for kids who LOVE to be outdoors, are curious about their environment and want to grow their own food. There will also be garden crafts to make for our gardens on site and to take home!

        WEEK #1 July 10 - 14 (9-4pm)       $180/5 full days
        WEEK #2 Aug 8 - 11 (9-4pm)         $145/4 full days

Registration is through  Saanich Parks & Recreation .
Propagating 101 
This course is a fun way to grow plants from cuttings. If you like to  w a tch things grow, you will love trying these experiments at home. Learn about ta king cuttings, natural growth hormones, and what kind of growing medium  to use to grow lots of plants from cuttings on your own!
Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail if  yo u have any questions.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 29, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
$20 (materials provided)                                     
AGES: 8 to 14 years

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail if you have any questions.

Garden Stepping Stones
These are a beautiful and practical way to make a pathway through a favourite garden, soggy area or across a lawn or vegetable garden. Bring an adult to help you make a lasting piece of art for your garden or as a gift for MOM!

DATE & TIME: Saturday, May 13, 10:00 -12:00 pm
COST: $25 (materials included)
AGES: 5 to 12 years

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail if you have any questions.

The Art of Bonsai

If you have always wondered how these little plants stay sm all, come and learn a bit about the history of this beautiful art forms. The n begin  to train a tree or shrub of your own. It can take years to reach its full potential as a Bonsai, but we can get started together!

DATE & TIME: Saturday, May 27, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
COST: $35 (includes a 1 gallon plant suited to Bonsai)
AGES: 8 to 14 years

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail if you have any questions.


Kids love to explore nature. The Gardens at HCP provide endless exploration and natural materials to create keepsakes & art. Each day we will go on a scavenger hunt to explore a different part of the garden and create beautiful and practical pieces to take home, including planters, weavings and more!  All materials are supplied for the activities. No discounts apply.          

DATE: July 24 - 28 (5-11 years)

TIME: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm         
COST: $95/5 half days

Registration is through Saanich Parks & Recreation

Upcoming Workshops

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
April 29, May 27, & June 17
1:00 - 4:00 pm 
Learn all about plants with Diane Pierce, expert gardener, designer, and writer. Diane will introduce you to 25 new plants in each session. You will learn Latin and common names, plant descriptions, cultural requirements, general maintenance, and landscape uses. This is an ongoing course and can be joined at any time, all year long, one Saturday a month.
Members $35.00 per session
or $350 for 12 sessions

Non-Members $45.00 per session
or $450 for 12 sessions
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Medicinal Herb Walk & Wildcrafting Workshop
with Lily Fawn
Saturday, April 29
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Join Herbalist and Teacher Lily Fawn for a lovely medicinal herb walk and wildcrafting adventure at the Gardens at HCP. Tour the beautiful medicinal herb garden, native plant garden, and the conservation areas. Learn about wildcrafting, foraging, herbs as medicine, and how/when to pick wild medicinals. Additionally the class will include a harvest which we will use to prepare an edible herbal snack to share or take home.

HCP Members $40
Non Members $45

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Propagating Plants Workshop
with Gordon Mackay
Sunday, April 30
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
In this workshop, participants will learn about the main types of plant propagation - from cuttings, seed, division, and layering. Due to current trends and demand, sufficient time will be made for fruit tree propagation which can be done by grafting and budding. The focus will be on hardy outdoor plant material. Participants who have a grafting knife should bring it along as there will be opportunities to practice grafting and taking cuttings.

HCP Members $35
Non Members $45

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Fill Your Boots Succulent Workshop
with Linda Petite
Saturday, May 6
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
This workshop will give you another way to love that old favourite pair of boots. Bring along an old pair of boots to use as planters for a creative arrangement of succulents. Our Head Gardener Linda Petite will guide you through the process and teach you some tips about working with succulents. Succulents and soil are provided.

HCP Members $30
Non Members $45

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Willow Club Workshop
with Andrew Kent
Sunday, May 7
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Join artisan Andrew Kent from The Willow Way for this full day workshop.  In one day, with Andrew Kent's expert instruction, you can make and take home your own Classic Willow Club Chair. This is a great introduction to rustic building. All tools and materials will be provided. Dress appropriately and bring a packed lunch. 

HCP Members $225
Non Members $250
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Saturday, May 13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Back due to popular demand! This workshop will provide practical advice on how to convert a conventional lawn to a meadow habitat using a variety of techniques. Kristen Miskelly, biologist and owner of Saanich Native Plants, will guide participants through developing a site plan, site preparation, planning materials, and maintenance. Participants will go home with some of the tools needed to embark on their own lawn-to-meadow restorations.

HCP Members $45
Non-Members $60

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

with Joan Carrigan
Sunday, May 14
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Learn the art of basket weaving with Joan Carrigan, experienced instructor and artist. Willow is highly valued as a basket making material. We will begin with a discussion about how to grow, harvest, and prepare willow for weaving. This project offers a wonderful introduction to working with willow and in the process you will create a gorgeous center piece perfect for serving or displaying your fresh garden produce.

HCP Members $120
Non-Members $140

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Sunday, May 14
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Learn why rock, wood, and crevice garden styles are becoming so popular with Gordon Mackay, PHC College instructor. Gordon will share many examples of rock, wood, and crevice gardens to get your imagination going. Participants will learn about techniques used to install a crevice and rock garden and hopefully be inspired to try these at home in their own gardens.

HCP Members $35
Non-Members $45

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Art of Bonsai - Rootcutting Workshop
with Mark Paterson
Saturday, May 20
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Come learn the art of bonsai with Mark Paterson, President of the Vancouver Island Bonsai Society. This is the second of a three-part series and can be taken on its own. Come pot up the bonsai you made in spring or learn about root cutting with your own plant.  Learn how to control roots by trimming and using different types of soil. Workshop includes an asian-style shallow pot. The next class on September 23 will cover later season and Winter care. 

HCP Members $140/ Series or $60/Part 1
Non Members $160/ Series or $70/Part 1

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Herbal Kitchen - Cooking With Wild Edibles
with Lily Fawn
Saturday, May 20
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Come spend the afternoon learning to find and identify medicinal edible herbs. Wild plants are nutritious, tasty, and a great way to increase your health and cut your grocery bill.  In this workshop you will learn about the many delicious, healthy, and nutritionally-packed wild edible, medicinal plants that are yours for the picking! This class will focus on healthy edible weeds that grow all around us. You will learn how to identify and harvest these tasty edibles, as well as several different ways to prepare them. Take home recipes and enjoy a wild edible meal prepared during class.

HCP Members $45
Non Members $50

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Driftwood and Succulents Workshop
with Linda Petite
Saturday, May 27
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Create a beautiful driftwood and succulent display to take home. Our head gardener Linda Petite will guide you through the process and share some tips about working with succulents. Driftwood and succulents will be provided. 

HCP Members $25
Non Members $35

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Introduction to Garden Design
with Patty Brown
Seven Mondays: 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
May 29, June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 10, 17

Two Saturday field trips: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
June 24 & July 8

  This 9-session course with PHC instructor Patty Brown is designed for the homeowner and for those with an interest in landscape design. Students will learn to draft and design a residential landscape plan to scale. Two field trips will be used to look at existing landscapes and plant choices. Topics covered will include design principles and processes, garden styles, site analysis, plants as design elements and landscape materials. For the practical side of this course it is ideal to have a project or area to design so to apply and practice each step. 

HCP Members $250
Non Members $295

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Bookend
When Nicola Ferguson first started gardening, she couldn't find a book that would help her with her cold and shady garden, so she wrote one herself! The result is Right Plant, Right Place. The copy we have in the HCP library has been updated from the original version. It includes hardiness zones and illustrations of over 1400 plants to suit various conditions.

Similar books on the shelf include What Plant Where by Roy Lancaster, which considers dozens of different garden types and suggests ideal plants for each. Perfect Plants by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix illustrates the easiest-to-grow garden plants.
Perfect Plants for Problem Places by Gay Search helps to make the best of a problem spot where some plants struggle to thrive. Or you might like to check out Ortho's The Easiest Flowers to Grow
for tips on "foolproof" flower gardening. Your HCP library has many similar books to help you plan your garden. Just make a note to drop in on a Wednesday (9:00 to 12:00), Thursday (12:30 to 3:30), or Saturday (10:00 to 1:00) and find the perfect book for you.