Winter Hours
November 1st - February 28
10:00 am - 3 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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February E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Hellebore Sunday - March 4th 
The genus Helleborus is comprised of 15 different species and belongs to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). It provides colour in the winter garden and, best of all, the deer won't eat them!

We will have several varieties for sale, including popular hybrids from the Honeymoon and Wedding Party Series as well as companion plants.
Come early for best selection, and don't forget to tour the Doris Page Winter Garden which is currently showcasing winter beauty. Doris has been given credit for bringing Hellebores to Vancouver Island.
Hope to see you on March 4th!
Linda Petite,
Head Gardener

Partnership Spotlight - the Victoria Horticultural Society  
The Gardens at HCP has a long-standing partnership with the Victoria Horticultural Society (VHS).
Share what you know ... Show what you grow ...
The VHS was established in 1921 and is a non-profit society. All activities are run by volunteers from the membership and the society is dedicated to:
  • Collecting and diffusing information on all matters relating to horticulture
  • Stimulating the knowledge and love of horticulture
  • Co-operating and/or affiliating with other horticultural organizations
The VHS provides annual funding of $1,000 for the upkeep of the beautiful Doris Page Winter Garden each year as a memorial to horticulturist Doris Page for showing that Victoria is one of the few places in Canada where you can garden year round. Membership with the VHS is $30 and because of our partnership we will reduce your HCP membership fee by 25% if you show a current VHS Membership card when taking out a new or renewing an existing HCP Membership. Visit the Victoria Horticultural Society website to see all their membership benefits. 
Plant of the Month
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener    
Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)
  • - is native to Europe and Asia
  • - has single yellow flowers resembling buttercups that carpet the ground in January-February
  • - is ideal to naturalize under trees and shrubs
  • - beam a golden glow into the garden at a time when the sun rarely breaks through the clouds
  • There are several patches in bloom in the Doris Page Winter Garden right now so make sure you come see them on your next walk.
HCP Planned Giving Event  
Presented by Berwick House, this event will provide information that  everyone should know when doing their will.

When: February 27th
Where: Berwick House at 4062 Shelbourne Street
Time: 2 - 4pm
Sara Neely , Director of Philanthropic Services at the Victoria Foundation
Stephanie A. Sieber , Principal at Sitka Law, specializing in Wills and Estates
Bill Fosdick , President of the Capital Region Beekeeper Association, with a talk on "Bees - Victoria's Plant Pollinators"
Please join us for this informative event - Coffee, tea and cookies will be provided.
RSVP to to secure your space as seating is limited.  
Giles' Jottings    
Thank you to Assistant Gardener Giles for sharing his jottings from England while he is away at his family home. 
Our winter here in the north-west UK has been extremely wet and we have had a good deal of snow. Yet in the last week the temperature has risen a bit and the bulbs are responding. There are already snowdrops ( Galanthus nivalis) opening and daffodils (Narcissus spp.) are beginning to push up out of the ground although I haven't seen any flowering yet.  However, given that it is still only January, I fear they may be getting ahead of themselves.

I have recently been visiting friends in Somerset in the south-west part of the country and one cannot help noticing the contrasting regional styles of field boundaries. Up here in Cumbria, close to the Scottish border, dry-stone walls are the tradition and over time these become covered with a range of mosses, ferns and lichens. In the south, in Somerset, fields and roads are bounded by high earth banks topped with thick hedges. Many of the high banks were established to control water movement in what are the low-lying marshy areas of the Somerset Levels. These are therefore very different types of environments and naturally support different flora and fauna.

 On the largely limestone-based walls of the north varied species occupy the tops and sides. Schistidium moss ( Grimmia apocarpa) is a plant that colonises the top and upper, more exposed, parts of the walls, another common group being the Bryums. On the lower more shaded sides of the walls grow different mosses ( Brachytheciums and Camptotheciums). Small ferns also establish themselves in the cracks and crannies, one of the most widespread being the common polypody fern ( Polypodium vulgare). Some herbaceous plants also like to root themselves between the stones, yellow Welsh poppies ( Meconopsis cambrica) and broad-leaved willowherb ( Epilobium montanum). Chinks in the walls may be occupied by field-mice, small birds such as wrens and solitary bees.
In contrast the Somerset banks will be topped by thick hedges of holly (Ilex aquifolium), beech (Fagus sylvatica), hazel (Corylus avellana) and spindle (Euonymus europaeus) , often thickly infiltrated by ivy (Helix spp.). On the earth banks themselves will grow various gras ses. B ut in amongst those I spotted sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum), herb robert (Geranium robertianum), cowslips (Primula veris), purple bugle (Ajuga reptans) and lords and ladies (Arum maculatum). The hedges provide habitat for all sorts of birds, animals and reptiles. Frogs and newts like the damp shade, many birds enjoy the protection  and food source the hedge provides, bullfinches and turtle doves preferring the tallest hedges where the tree species are less hard pruned. Small and medium-sized mammals, voles, hares, hedgehogs, weasels and foxes all profit from the biodiversity found in these natural green corridors.
Emergency Preparedness  
HCP is offering a free Saanich Emergency Preparedness Workshop on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 11:30 am - 12:30 pm.
When disaster strikes, your chances of staying safe, healthy and comfortable are much better if you are prepared. This one-hour presentation offers the information you need to prepare yourself and your family to survive on your own for up to 7 days after any type of disaster.
You must pre-register by calling the office 250-479-6162
'Picture of the Month'
Thank you to our volunteer Tim for our February 'Picture of the Month in 2018. Tim is a long-time volunteer who contributes in the Conservation Gardens. 
Do you have a great shot from your visit to the Gardens at HCP?
Send your submission with a short description to  for an upcoming 'Picture of the Month'.

Pacific Horticulture College
For more information on registration, please call the office 250-479-6162 or email
January welcomed our 2018 horticulture class of 20 students! Despite the soggy weather, the group is off to a great start with classes in Botany, Plant ID, Pruning and Communication and Supervision Skills and Practical Skills. They have also successfully completed their Occupational First Aid Level 1 and WHMIS training. PHC is looking forward to seeing this group of budding horticulturalists grow with the season.

Additionally in January, a group of 16 students completed and passed their Level 3 six week program and Level 3 ITA exam. A well-deserved congratulations to them!

Lastly, another hearty congratulations goes to our 16 graduating part-time students, who celebrated their achievements in a lovely graduation ceremony on January 19.

Coming up:
  • Landscape General Category: February 24, 25, with the exam on February 26
  • Landscape General Category: March 20, 21, with the exam on March 22
For more information or to register about any of the above programs, please contact Pacific Horticulture College at  or call at 250-479-6162.

Youth Programs
Upcoming Camps and Workshops 
Junior Master Gardener (JMG) Camps
These popular camps are full of outdoor gardening activities and exploring nature around us. Our very own JMG Garden Plot keeps us busy as we plant, maintain and harvest year around. When we are not in that garden, we are exploring the many paths and plants around us, or busy with a variety of other nature activities and crafts.
JMG Pro - D Day Camps
Dates: February 23 & April 20, 2018                      
Please register at HCP (250-479-6162)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
JMG Spring Break Camp
Dates: March 19-23; March 26-29                             
Please register at Saanich Recreation (250-475-7600) 
Make Your Own Birdhouse Workshop
Our gardens depend on birds to thrive so let's look at what birds need for nesting and create a safe place for them to raise their young. We will be using wood, hammers and nails to assemble our pre-cut kits. We need big hands along to help handle the tools safely, so parent participation is required.

Date: Saturday, Mar 17, 2018
Time: 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Ages: 5 + years
Fee: $20/child

Starting Vegetables with Seed 
Learn about seeds, how they grow and what they need to become healthy thriving plants. We will be planting up trays of seeds for the JMG gardens as well as take home, so bring along your garden gloves. Don't forget about planning for our native pollinators too! They need flowers to keep them happy and we will include flowers along with our vegetable and herb seeds. Parent participation with children under 6 years of age.

Date: Saturday, Mar 17, 2018
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Ages: 4 + years
Fee: $15/child
Junior Master Gardeners KID'S GARDEN CLUB
Once a month we meet for seasonal gardening activities in our very own JMG Garden Plot! Our growing season starts early, and there is always lots to do!! When the weather is not quite ideal, we can work indoors to start seeds, learn to propagate plants, plan our home gardens, build trellising, and lots more. When the weather cooperates, we spend every minute creating garden beds, amending soil, mulching, planting, weeding, staking, and watering! These are great skills to get your garden enthusiast growing their own food at home. There are lots of take homes, from seeds to plants and harvests whenever available.
Club Dates: 
9:45 am - 11:45 am (Saturday's 2018 - Feb 3, Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5, Jun 2, Sept 8, Oct 6, Nov 3, Dec 1)
Cost: $10/2 hr session  
Ages: All ages welcome! Children under 5 need to be with a supervising/participating adult
Did you know ...
We host birthdays at HCP and would like to help plan your child's special event. Check out our website for more information or at to book your own celebration.

Upcoming Workshops

Pruning Ornamental Plants 
with Patty Brown 
Monday, February 19  
6:30 - 9:30 pm  
Wednesday, February 21
6:30 - 9:00 pm
Saturday, February 24
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Gain an understanding of how and why plants respond to pruning. This workshop will help you get the results you want with any plant in your garden. Patty Brown, Pacific Horticultural College instructor, will take you through the steps, theory and techniques of pruning. The workshop consists of two lectures and one hands-on session to practice what you've learned.
HCP Members $95
Non Members $115
To register, call 250 479 6162  

The Backyard Orchard Workshop 
with Ryan Senechal  
Saturdays - March 3 & 10 - 9:00am - 12:00pm

This workshop is for those serious about cultivating fruit and nuts in an urban space. Ryan Senechal will cover: selection of cultivars, planting, staking & training, soil, nutrients & watering, pruning, plant health & cultural controls, grafting & propagation. The focus will be on apple, cherry, pear, plum, peach, kiwi, Carpathian walnut, butternut, hazelnut, fig, blueberry & raspberry.
HCP Members $90
Non-Members $110
To register, call 250 479 6162

Hypertufa Workshop  
with Paul Spriggs 
Saturday March 3 
10:00am - 1:00pm 
In this hands-on workshop, participants will produce a 12 x 14 inch hypertufa trough in the classic rock garden style. Hypertufa is a concrete substitute that looks just like concrete but weighs much less, making it easier to transport. Participants will go through the process of creating the forms, mixing the materials, and setting the trough. As there is a curing period, participants will have to return at a later date to collect their creations. Included in the cost are the forms and all the materials to make one trough. The forms are reusable, so once the skill has been learned, participants may continue to create many more troughs in the future. 

HCP Members $65
HCP Non-Members $70

To register, call 250 479 6162

Grow your Own Cut Flower Garden Workshop - Spring  
with Eiddwen Thomas
Sunday, March 4   
9:00am - 12:00pm 
This class is part of a seasonal series and can be taken on its own. Learn the secrets of growing your own flowers for cutting and arranging with floral designer, Eiddwen Thomas.  Growing your own flowers can be a very rewarding and creative experience. You can select which flowers you want to grow according to your own style and taste. Having your own flower garden will ensure fresh quality for the very best of flowers for your home, special events or for gifting. Participants in the Spring class will learn what to do in April/May for their own cutting garden. This session will include what plants can be grown in the Spring for cutting, starting your own seeds, locating the site for your cutting garden and preparing the soil.
Classes in this series include:
Summer - Sunday June 24 - 9 am to 12 pm.
Fall - Sunday September 9th - 9 am to 12 pm
Winter - Sunday January 20th 9 am to 12 pm
Members $55/Non Members - $60 - per class 
Members $180/Non Members $220 - for 4 part series

To register, call 250 479 6162

Healthy Soils Series: Soil Basics for the Home Gardener  
with Christina Nikolic
Sunday, March 11  
10:00am - 12:00pm 
Th is class can be taken on its own or as part of our Healthy Soils Series.
What kind of soil do you have in your garden? How can you improve your soil health? If figuring out how to care for your soil seems like a complex and daunting task, then this workshop is for you.
Instructor Christina Nikolic of the Organic Gardener's Pantry will teach you how to determine the soil types and how they function. You will learn about organic matter and living organism in the soil and how these impact plant health. You will also be introduced to safe and simple fertilizers and amendments to improve your soil health. The home gardener will leave with the basic knowledge and resources to make the best of the soil conditions in their own gardens.
Classes in this series include:
Soil Basics for the Home Gardener - Sunday - March 11 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Effective Microbes for the Garden - Saturday - April 7 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Compost Tea for the Garden - Sunday - April 29 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Selecting Fertilizers & Mulches for the Organic Garden
- Sunday - May 27 - 10:00am - 12:00pm

Individual Classes - HCP Members $35/Non-Members $40
Entire Series (4 Classes) - HCP Members $100/Non-Members $130

To register, call 250 479 6162

Hoop House Workshop  
with Mark Mackenzie-Moore 
Saturday, March 17   
9:00am - 12:00pm 
Looking for a simple, low cost way to increase your garden yield in the shoulder seasons? Join Mark Mackenzie-Moore for a workshop on building your own hoop house. During this workshop, we will discuss different methods and material for hoop house construction -- from smaller open ended systems to medium 8 x 12 structures. We will then put our knowledge into practice by building a hoop house at HCP. This workshop can be taken on its own or in combination with our Hoop House Irrigation Workshop the same day. Please bring a waterproof jacket (in case it rains), notebook, and pencil. No experience necessary.

HCP Members & Non Members:
Per Workshop - $45  
Both Workshops - $75

To register, call 250 479 6162

Build Your Irrigation Workshop  
with Mark Mackenzie-Moore 
Saturday, March 17   
1:00pm - 4:00pm 
Attending our Build Your Own Hoop House workshop or already have a hoop house? Wondering where and how to start irrigating your veggies? Join Mark Mackenzie-Moore for a workshop on micro irrigation techniques and design for your hoop house. We will learn the basics of drip/micro irrigation, followed by hands on practice installing micro/drip irrigation in HCP's newly built hoop house. Please bring a waterproof jacket, notebook, and pencil. No prior experience necessary.

HCP Members & Non Members:  
Per Workshop - $45  
Both Workshops - $75

To register, call 250 479 6162

The Nature of the Native Plant Garden  
with Kristen Miskelly 
Saturday, March 24    
9:00am - 12:00pm 
Native plants in home gardens are not only beautiful, but also a way to help maintain local biodiversity, promote positive human connections, and foster an appreciation of nature. Participants will learn about Victoria's local ecology, including its abundance of unique plant species well-suited to home gardens, and the wildlife that depend on them. Edible, deer resistant, and drought tolerant species will be highlighted.

HCP Members: $45
Non-Members: $60 

To register, call 250 479 6162

Willow Chair Workshop
Andrew Kent 
Sunday, March 25  
9:00am - 5:00pm 
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.

HCP Members: $250
Non-Members: $275

To register, call 250 479 6162

Basketry with Gourds 
with Joan Carrigan 
Sunday, March 25  
9:30 am - 4:30 pm  
In this workshop we will be exploring the use of gourds as a base for coiling. Gourds offer an extension range of decorative design possibilities which combine well with basketry techniques. Discussion will cover the preparation of gourds from the cleaning, cutting, painting and drilling. Next, we will coil around the rim of the gourd using pine needles or other local materials on hand.
Please add your name to the interest list if the class is full. If we have enough interest, a second class will run on Saturday, March 24.

HCP Members: $120
Non-Members: $140

To register, call 250 479 6162

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
 Feb 17, Mar 17 and Apr 14  
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
Nothing can beat fresh veggies! And by "fresh" we mean veggies eaten within minutes of having been harvested from the garden. So this month we are looking at a book called "How to Grow Food - A step-by-step guide to growing all kinds of fruit, vegetables, salads and more."  Author Richard Gianfrancesco certainly attempts to cover the field very thoroughly indeed. What's more, the pictures are so attractive as to possibly cause a mouth-watering experience!
We are told where and how to plant a great variety of fruits and vegetables - and even how to preserve them. There is information here about soils, including the making of compost. The calendar that accompanies each plant description gives us an idea of what to expect throughout the growing season. Furthermore, suggestions are made as to how we might grow plants in everything from pots to plots.
The plants are listed according Root Crops, Leafy Crops, Seed and Fruit Crops, Stem and Flower Crops, Herbs, Tree Fruit, Soft Fruits (rhubarb got tucked into the end of this section), Tender Fruit, and Nuts.
Though there is nothing said explicitly about where the author lives and does his gardening, one gathers from a few clues that he lives in England. However, their seasons are so similar to ours that the novice gardener should be quite safe following most of Richard's directions. One does hesitate, however, at the "Almond" page. Reading of the almond's need for protection from frosts and of warmth throughout the summer, we might be inclined to wait a few years for climate change to warm things up here by a couple of degrees . . .  
Caution: The varieties of the various plants mentioned in the book may not be available in Victoria, so it may be necessary to look for seeds/plants that simply have similar characteristics.
We hope you will find inspiration in this and other books. Even if you don't have a lot of space or energy to grow anything this season, you will at least become a font of knowledge for those who have yet to crack open a book on this subject! 

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