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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August E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Arts & Music in the Gardens 2017 

The staff of the Gardens at HCP is busy putting the final details on our Arts & Music in the Gardens Festival. This popular event is a major fundraiser for ongoing operations and development of the Gardens. As a not-for-profit teaching garden we rely on our supporters to continue to be a resource to our community.

Some highlights from the festival this year include:
  •  Forty Artists selling a variety of beautiful handcrafted pieces
  •  Fifteen Musicians providing entertainment throughout the gardens
  • Delicious food vendors
  • A children's area with puppet making
  • Victoria Floral Arts Guild providing beautiful 'Land art' accentuating the natural beauty of the Gardens
  • For the first time ever we are bringing in artisanal food vendors selling their wares in the Couvelier Pavilion
  • The Victoria Master Gardener Association will be on site to answer that burning gardening question you have
  • The Bonsai Society teaching about their art and selling starter trees
  • Cut flowers fresh from the Gardens at HCP's gardens
  • Stress-free parking by Free Shuttle Bus - just park at Vancouver Island Tech Park and be whisked to the festival. So easy! 
This annual festival is a highlight of the Victoria Art's Scene. Tickets are only $1 more than our regular admission price. Entry is free for our Annual Membership pass holders. See the Gardens at HCP and experience beautiful art and culture. It is not to be missed.  

Help Your Veggie Garden Survive the Heat
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener 
Hot weather is tougher on plants than it is on people. However, as with people, some plants tolerate heat better than others.
Heat loving veggies like tomatoes, corn, peppers and cucurbits actually need a month of 25-30C weather to develop a flavourful and abundant crop. As long as they don't run out of water, these sun worshipers are well equipped to survive the heat. On really hot days they conserve energy and moisture by slowing down. While resting, their foliage may appear to be wilting from lack of water, but as evening approaches they perk up again.
Cool weather crops like lettuce, spinach, brassicas and peas suffer in hot weather. When temps rise over 25C these plants stop growing, go to seed, or dry up and die. They need protection from heat and sun. Shade netting keeps soil and air temperatures as much as 10 degrees cooler and protects tender foliage from being scorched. 
Anything grown in a container is most vulnerable. If you ignore them for even one day ,they may never recover. Provide a deep soaking of the entire root ball.
Stay hydrated and enjoy the summer heat just like your plants do!
The Future of the Children's Garden 
For families visiting the Gardens it is impossible to not stop for a visit in our Children's Garden. Go all 'round the mulberry bush, visit a fairy house, say hello to one of the friends, taste a strawberry and, of course, play in the playhouse. For many of our grown-up visitors it is a whimsical visit, even without children. Unfortunately, though, the well-loved playhouse has seen better days and we are looking forward to building a new one.   

Some of our ideas for design are: 
  • Castle
  • Log Cabin
  • Classic House
  • Fairy Garden/Hobbit House
  • General Store
  • Dr. Seuss inspired
Which one would you vote for? Or do you have an additional idea? Send it along to:    She would like to hear from you!

Summer Students 
Thank you very much to our hard working summer students - summer is busy in any garden and ours is no exception. They keep things beautiful and help us run it smoothly. Good luck to them when they return to their studies in the fall.

Jacquie is busy helping with the
development of youth programs. Not only does she participate in the leading of the camps and children's activities, but she is also busy developing programs for youth from ages 5-17. Jacquie can also be found in the front office helping create promotional materials for the community education classes at the HCP
Nathan is our resident mechanic; no project is too complicated for him to handle. When he's not busy fixing gardening equipment, he can be found cutting, pruning, watering and weeding a variety of the different gardens.
Julie is busy working on the coordination of Arts & Music in the Gardens. From scheduling vendors to updating the website, Julie is quickly becoming an arts and music expert. When she's not working on Arts & Music, she can be found out wandering the gardens taking photos.

Giles Jottings 
The last few weeks have been so sunny and dry that we HCP gardeners spend almost all our time dragging sprinklers and hoses from one spot to another whilst trying to keep an eye on any plant that is beginning to suffer. And though on occasion a plant does get too dry, more commonly it is a case of these summer temperatures just being too hot for plants that are acclimatized to more moderate Victoria summers.

But what catches our eye in this very warm August Crocosmias are in full bloom and late summer Phlox are just beginning. And Betty's Cuttings Garden is marvelously productive. Every week they produce masses of brightly coloured bouquets made up of sweet peas ( Lathyrus odoratus) and Calendula, Cosmos, Clarkia and everlasting flowers.

Speaking of which, this is another plant whose name seems to have changed.  Known commonly as strawflowers or everlastings, I thought they were called Acroclinium or Bracteantha but wherever I look I find them referred to as Xerochrysum; something new to learn every day.

And finally a plant that is evidently thriving in the heat, the  Albizia in the Lily Garden. Related to the mimosas, it is a small tropical tree that is looking wonderful now in full flower.
The Golden Spruce at HCP 

A Golden Spruce, a direct descendent from the original Golden Spruce on Haida Gwaii, will be planted at the HCP on the above date! Watch for more details in September's eNews.
Picnic in the Gardens 

The Gardens at HCP are thrilled to announce the musician for this summer's final Picnic in the Gardens - Matt Stern!

Singer-songwriter Matt Stern played for our small, but dedicated crowd in May for 2017's first picnic night (can you believe it was rainy?) and we're so excited to have him back on Wednesday, August 30th for what's sure to be an end-of-summer blowout!
Once again, picnic boxes can be pre-ordered from onsite caf é  Charlotte & The Quail or you can bring your own dinner to enjoy anywhere in the Gardens. There are several tables and benches throughout the Gardens, but bringing a picnic blanket or lawn chair will provide you the most freedom.
Please note that alcohol is not permitted in the Gardens, but Charlotte & The Quail is taking reservations for dinner on their patio - the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing bottle of ros é with friends!
Event sponsor Berwick Retirement Communties has generally donated gift bags for every guest which can be picked up at the entrance to the Gardens. Perhaps they'll come in handy for your gift shop or plant purchases?
Admission by donation (and the live music) starts at 5:00 pm and the Gardens will close at 8:00pm.
See you there!

Marjorie, Carolyn and Janet all identified last month's Whatzit? as Peruvian lilies, otherwise known as Alstroemerias. Apparently these lovely flowers got their more fancy name courtesy of Carl Linnaeus, who was a friend of the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer. (Just thought you might have wondered . . . )
For those who would like to grow Alstroemerias in their own gardens, they are hardy in our area for the most part, but need reasonably good drainage. They will bloom most freely if the soil is kept damp during the growing season - though not soggy! Other than that, they don't seem to be very needy. Be warned however, that they tend to become deeply rooted over time so aren't easy to move should you prefer a different location after they have become established.

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

Pacific Horticulture College
For more information on registration, please call the office 250-479-6162 or email
News from the College
August is a busy month for the full-time Level 1 and 2 PHC students. The Plant Health course focuses on insects and plant diseases in the garden. In the Introduction to Permaculture course, taught by Solara Goldwynn of Hatchet and Seed, the students are learning about permaculture design principles and applications while preparing to install the new Permaculture Garden at HCP in October. In the Veggie class, instructed by our own Linda Petite, the competitive spirit is alive and well to grow the biggest vegetables to enter for the Saanich Fair in September.
In addition, PHC congratulates the ten Level 3 students who just wrote their provincial exam and have now moved on to the Level 4 program that started on August 8th!
Upcoming Events:
PHC Booth -- Arts and Music in the Garden
Coming to Arts and Music in the Gardens this August? Stop by the College booth, located in the Pavilion, to learn about exciting and new happenings in the college!
Save the Date - PHC 30th Anniversary
Started in 1987, PHC continues to provide excellence in horticultural education. If you are an alumnus of PHC, save the date and join us at the Gardens at HCP on September 17, 1-4 pm for an afternoon of celebration!
PHC Information Session
Considering a career in horticulture? Join us and learn more about the program and the application process on September 25, 6-7 pm.
For more information or to register about any of the above events, please contact PHC at or call at 250-479-6162
PHC Alumni Profile
Name: Natalie Foofat
Graduation Year: Certificate Program Nov. 2013, Red Seal Level 3 & 4 Jan-March 2014
Current Occupation/Employer: Self-Employed, Mustang Landscape & Design
Please describe your gardening activities since completing the college program.
I started out working for an established company, doing everything from maintenance to large commercial installations (irrigation, waterfalls, rainwater gardens, patios, driveways, softscape).
Now I run my own business where we offer full-service landscape services, from garden consultation and design to project management and full installations, followed up with garden maintenance.
 How did the program help you achieve your career goals? 
 The program gave me a basic knowledge in a wide variety of areas. The horticultural expertise has definitely been the strongest point of my education. The construction side of the program touched on the multitude of possible avenues in the landscaping business.  
How did the program affect your approach to horticulture?
My company has a very natural approach to gardening, using the IPM method and no pesticides. Regular maintenance is the best approach to a healthy garden as I can monitor plant health and stay on top of any pest problems in the early stages. Knowing which plants may have potential issues, or knowing which plants may be better for certain areas, can save a lot of headache down the road. The horticultural knowledge in this program cumulatively gave me the expertise to know "Right plant, right place."
Why would you recommend this program to others?
It is an affordable way (in length of time and cost) to get a competitive edge above others in the workplace. The Red Seal program in its entirety offers many tax credits and grants, so it really is an affordable option for anyone interested in the Trades or a career in horticulture. Also, the skills learned are practical and applicable in any city or town.

This program leads to opportunities in a wide range of careers from: nursery, agriculture, municipalities, parks, entrepreneurship, etc.  
For more information or to register for any of the above events, please contact PHC at or call at 250-479-3210.  
Youth Programs
Summer 2017 Programs
The Gardens at HCP is busy this summer with wonderful youth programs - camps and drop-in. Follow our Facebook events to catch new programs as they are added. We are even having a colouring contest! Have your child draw or paint a picture of their garden, even if it is simply a window plant. We will post them on Facebook at the end of the summer and pick a winner in the 3 -5, 6 - 8 and 8 - 11 age categories! You could win a prize pack from the gift shop and a couple's membership (remember, kids are free!). Just drop off your picture or e-mail it to Don't forget to include your child's name, age and an e-mail address on the back.

STORIES IN THE SHADE is a bi-weekly story time designed around a theme that explores subjects such as gardens, bugs, and nature through stories and a related craft. This program is designed for the younger ages (2+), although older children are welcome to attend with their younger siblings. Children under 5 years must be accompanied by an adult.
Time: 10:00 am - 10:45 am    
Date: Aug 15

*Free with a Family membership or an adult who has paid admission
This is an introduction to the art of making tea for children, including plant identification, growing, harvesting, and preparing flowers, leaves, and fruit to brew. Participants will host their own tea party to explore the various tastes and scents of herbal tea. Then we will finish by packaging up our own sample tea brews to take home.
Date: Thursday, August 17    
Time:  10:00 am - 12:00 noon  
Cost: $15/person    
Ages: 5+ years

Call 250-479-6162 to register.  
Spotlight on Volunteers

To Apply to be a Garden or Office Volunteer e-mail Cheri at 
Pacific Horticulture College Graduates  
It is always a pleasure when our College graduates return to volunteer at The Gardens. Graduate volunteers start out with a strong relationship already developed with this special place and its people.
Jano Wright has donated many volunteer hours since graduating from the Pacific Horticulture College in 2015. She volunteers every Wednesday with the Propagation group. She also generously volunteers her time for special events, kids programs, plant sales and for our big annual fundraiser - Arts & Music in the Gardens. 
Besides being an enthusiastic volunteer, Jano runs her own gardening and landscape company with an enchanting name  - The Festive Glow Worm. The name is well suited to Jano's playful and positive personality and is based on her favourite poem. Prior to completing the college program, Jano worked in the hospitality industry. She also spent time WWOOFING and gardening during her travels. She certainly has a trend of contributing to her community. Earlier this year, she donated her lovely hair to raise money for kids with cancer. She organized the first Balding for Dollars event in Victoria and we trust that event will grow and flourish in years to come. Thanks to Jano for planting the seed!
We are excited to have the opportunity to catch up with more of our PHC graduates with the 30th anniversary of the College in August. Alumni are invited to attend a celebration event on September 17th and we are looking forward to catching up with all of them.
Volunteers Needed - Arts & Music in the Gardens

Come Volunteer for Arts & Music in the Gardens  
Set Up - August 25, Event Dates - August 26 & 27 
Soon it will be time for the HCP's 23rd annual Arts and Music in the Gardens festival. Last year we had over 100 amazing volunteers contributing to its success. This year we would like to invite previous and new volunteers to share in the fun and camaraderie of the event. Remember, volunteers get free entry for the whole weekend.

The event will be featuring three stages and up to fifty artists and visitors will enjoy wonderful creative, local talents. This year we will also have local artisanal food vendors in the pavilion and local food trucks outdoors serving delicious fare to appease any food lover's tastes.

Volunteer shifts are typically 3 - 4 hours long on August 25th, 26th or 27th. There are many volunteer positions available. Please email our volunteer coordinator, Cheri at for more information or to sign up.
Upcoming Workshops

Willow Chair Workshop 
with Andrew Kent 
Sundays, September 10th or October 15th 
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 Bent Willow Rustic Chair. This is a great introduction to rustic building. Learn how to make a square frame from pieces of alder & work with different sizes of willow to create your chair. All tools will be provided.
Members $250  
Non-Members $275
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Effective Microbes for the Garden  
with Christina Nikolic 
Sunday, September 17th  
10:00 am - 12:00 pm 
Using probiotics in the garden? If you already like the concept of compost tea, you will love learning about Effective Microorganisms (EM). These cultures have similar health benefits in the garden as yogurt has in the gut. Explore how to make and use a fascinating microbial inoculate. Participants should bring a clean empty 1-liter plastic bottle with lid to take away a sample of their own.
Members $25
Non-Members $30
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Art of Bonsai - Winter Care  
with Mark Paterson 
Saturday, September 23   
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 third of a three part series and can be taken independently.
Bonsai, and most plants, can use a little extra love late in the year. Come to class to trim and refine your bonsai that has been growing all year. If you need to create a bonsai or repot your bonsai we can do that this class too. But we will also focus on how the choices you have made over the year about your plant will result in some specific winter care requirements.
Members $35
Non-Members $45
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Watercolour Paper Basket Workshop  
with Joan Carrigan 
Saturday, September 23   
9:30 am - 4:30 pm 
Learn the art of basket weaving with Joan Carrigan, experienced instructor and artist. Watercolour paper is very strong and durable and offers endless opportunities for the basket maker. In this workshop, we will be plaiting with ¼" wide pre-painted watercolour paper creating an attractive decorative vase with curl embellishments. Please bring sharp scissors,a ruler, and a flat screwdriver. Variations of shaping and curl embellishments will be on hand for participants to choose their own design.

Members $120
Non-Members $140
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
 Sept 16, Oct 21 and Nov 18 
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.

The Bookend
David Douglas 
Some of us have experienced the dubious pleasure of having discovered a new plant in the middle of our garden, one that we definitely didn't plant there and which we can't identify. We ask ourselves "Is it a weed?" "Is it potentially useful?. . . or dangerous?
It does make one stop to consider - assuming we have time for such a luxury! - how it must have been for the people who went exploring for the sole purpose of finding new plants. They must have had to make decisions as to what might be worth saving to take back home and what should be left well enough alone.
Some plant hunters, such as George Forrest, had a particular preference when they set out on their travels. Forrest's interest happened to be lilies. However, in the course of his travels in the Sino-Himalayan mountains, he collected varieties of primulas and rhododendrons that had never been seen before back home in the UK.
And then there was David Douglas (whom we probably automatically associate with trees, having one named after him and all). He was a Scotsman, like Forrest, but he chose to do his adventuring in North America. That's where he discovered new flowers that included California poppies, lupins, and evening primroses. A book we have in our library about his travels is called "Traveller in a Vanished Landscape."
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was an associate of Charles Darwin and other illustrious botanists and adventurers. He was a surveyor and a talented amateur artist who did sketches of plants and landscapes that are quite significant. Some of his drawings can be seen in a book about him in our library written by Ray Desmond.
So, one day when you are feeling adventuresome, do drop in to the HCP library and take a journey with some plant hunters. Besides enjoying some good true stories, you will most likely develop a new appreciation of the plants we now enjoy, thanks to those dedicated plant hunters who discovered so many of them long before our time.

Library Hours: 
Wednesday - 9:00 to 12:00
Saturday - 10:00 to 1:00