Winter Hours
November 1st - March 30
10:00 am - 3 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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January E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Message from the General Manager 
by: Deborah Donahue
Rested and Ready to go!
Welcome back to everyone! We have had a very restful break and are now ready to charge forward into 2018. I would like to thank Linda, Cheri, Megan, Laura, Jessica, Paula, Mark and Giles for all their hard work, smiles and bringing the joy and laughter back to the HCP. It is truly a magnificent place to be able to work every day and being able to do it alongside these people is the reason why. Our volunteers, including the HCP Board of Directors, who all give so much of their time to the HCP have our heartfelt gratitude and thanks.
If 2017 was a year of Economic Turnaround and getting positive here at the HCP, then we are in for a treat with 2018! The New Year comes with a new start, and our goals for 2018 are to continue to build on the platform of stability we established last year, to keep cultivating partnerships and relationships, and to expand on our relevancy in the community.
Thanks to the District of Saanich, we have been able to complete some much-needed renovations on our buildings. Jared and his team at Brokop Roofing have created a beautiful new roof over the main building. Rob DeGros and his team are working on our front entrance, to fix the drainage and make it safer for all. Last spring we had the 2nd Phase of the Green Roof finished on the Pavilion and you must come by and see what Robert and the Building Crew have done to the Library!  
Please join us in our efforts to make the HCP a household name!

 Come to the Gardens  
We are open today! After a wonderful restful holiday, the staff are back to open the Gardens and the College. We are open again 7 days a week 10 am - 3 pm. Winter is a wonderful time to come for a walk with the hellebore, daphne, heather and early bulbs peaking through. Visit our website for more information about hours, events, the gardens, directions and more. Our on-site restaurant Charlotte and the Quail will re-open on January 13th. 
Weddings at the Gardens    
Brace yourself for good news and stock the fridge with congratulatory champagne... it's officially engagement season!

Also known as proposal season, the seasonal nickname exists because so many couples get engaged during the weeks between (American) Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day - more than any other time of year! With families gathering together and festive spirits high, it's only natural that so many people choose to pop the question this time of year.

If you or someone in your life has recently decided to tie the knot, look no further than the Gardens at HCP! With multiple outdoor ceremony options and indoor reception space for up to 100 guests, many couples find the Gardens to be the perfect backdrop for saying "I do". We welcome your choice of catering and bar service and are happy to provide vetted recommendations for everything from the photographer to the marriage commissioner.

If the thought of wedding planning makes you dizzy, you'll be happy to know that we offer garden elopements as well! The perfect choice for small groups and short notice, you'll be provided with a signing table nestled into the Gardens and plenty of time for photography so you can share your special day with those not present. Garden elopements are especially magical during the winter months, with fewer visitors making it feel like you have the gardens all to yourself. (And the cactus greenhouse offers a warm and cozy respite from inclement weather!)

We have now begun booking 2019 weddings, though there are still a few lucky dates available in 2018! Act fast by emailing Event Manager Megan Stacey at to set up a site visit appointment.

Please note that Megan will be on vacation for the month of January and will be available for site visit appointments when she returns in February. Urgent inquiries are welcome to make site visit appointments with General Manager Deborah Donahue (

New Year, New Garden 
"In the beginning the new year, try to avoid the mistakes of last year, do not spend your time in trying to find the dark side of life, but seek for the sunshine and encourage it to shine in your homes. Be cheerful and try to make those around you happier. If you must prophesy what will be in the next harvest, prophesy that it will be an abundant one."
- The Old Farmer's Almanac

Happy New Year everyone and a successful growing season to all from Linda Petite, Head Gardener.
Saanich Seedy Saturday 2018    
We are once again looking forward to hosting the third Saanich Seedy Saturday. This Seedy Saturday is the first one on Vancouver Island for 2018 - it's never too early to start planning your gardens for the year.

 Seeds, plants and more from some great local vendors will be available. Enjoy listening to two amazing featured speakers; Bill Jones of Deerholme Farm will tell us about Gardening with Mushrooms and Dan Jason will speak on Ancient Grains & Seeds.  
We are looking forward to seeing you at our third amazing year at the beautiful Couvelier Pavilion in the Gardens at HCP. Admission for this event is only $5, cash at the door, and it includes entry to the gardens.
'Picture of the Month'
Thank you to reader Chelsea for our first 'Picture of the Month in 2018. It's back from that warm wonderful fall we had, what a treat. 
"I was lucky enough to visit the Gardens the weekend before our recent snowfall, when it was sunny and 17 degrees. I grabbed a latte from Charlotte and the Quail and strolled your glorious grounds - in a t-shirt!"
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
As 2018 begins, the college is as busy as ever. The part-time Level 4 program finished December 14th with 12 students writing their Red Seal exam right before Christmas. Congratulations to the Level 4 students on this admirable achievement! In addition, a full-time Level 3 program with 16 students is running over the winter, finishing on January 12th. We've enjoyed having these Level 3 students, who came from all over Vancouver Island to take this program. 

Next up, the full-time Level 1 and 2 Foundation program begins on January 15th. We're excited to welcome the new class of 2018 and look forward to creating a valuable learning experience for these students. Stay tuned for updates about their progress through the year!
In addition, PHC is offering a couple of Pesticide Applicator Certificate courses early in 2018 on the following topics and dates:
- > Agricultural Category: January 29, 30, with the exam on January 31
-> Landscape General Category: February 24, 25, with the exam on February 26
For more information or to register, please contact Pacific Horticulture Colllege at or 250-479-6162.  

Youth Programs
Upcoming Camps and Workshops 
PRO-D Day Camp at HCP
This day camp balances outdoor and indoor activities for a fun garden experience. DO you know a young gardener who really enjoys digging in the soil and growing things? Keep your child exploring the natural environment through our seasonal garden activities in the Junior Master Gardener Plot. We grow food all year round and enjoy harvesting and tending these gardens while observing the many contributors to the garden. At our November camp we will be harvesting celery, kale and chard; complete our garden winterizing and make some art to display in the garden for winter interest. We will also be focusing on our overwintering birds, their migration and winter habitat needs and creating feeders for them.
**The next Pro-D-Day Camp will be held Friday, February 23rd from 9-4. Please register at 250-479-6162.
Making a Terrarium Garden Workshop
Gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Get creative as you learn about the needs of little plants for indoors, and what better place to place them, but in an up-cycled glass container. Bring along a glass bowl, vase, jar or other container and see what you can create for your room �� . (Containers should measure no larger than 20 cm in size).  
Date: Saturday February 3rd, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Ages: 5 + 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.
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

Cedar Bark Woven Cell Phone Holder or Pouch 
with Joan Carrigan 
Satuday, January 20th 
9:30 am - 4:30 pm 
Weaving a beautiful individualized pouch or cell phone holder with local plant materials is very satisfying. I have carried my cell phone in a pouch like this for years and have had so many comments I thought it was time to share the fun. We will begin with a discussion on how to plan the project to fit a specific cell phone. Then we will weave and design the pouch using a variety of plaiting, twining and twill patterns. Local natural materials used will be cedar bark, willow bark and sedge. Discussion will cover how to harvest and prepare these materials respectfully.
Please add your name to the interest list if the class is full. If we have enough interest, a second class will run on Sunday, January 21.
HCP Members $120
Non Members $140
To register, call 250 479 6162

Willow Chair Workshop 
with Andrew Kent  
Sunday, January 21st  
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.
HCP Members $250
Non Members $275
To register, call 250 479 6162

Grow your Own Cut Flower Garden Workshop - Winter
with Eiddwen Thomas 
Sunday, January 28   
9:00 am - 12:00 pm 
This Winter session is part of a four part series on Growing Your Own Cutting Garden through the four seasons of the year, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.
Winter is a great time to reflect on how your garden did last year and to start to plan your cutting garden for the year. It is a good time to enjoy the beauty of cutting things from the garden in our Victoria winter as well as the joy of potted bulbs brought indoors. This session will include a process to reflect on the previous year and plan for the new year.
Subsequent Workshops:
Spring - Sunday - March 4 - 9:00 pm - 12 pm
Summer - Sunday June 24 - 9 am to 12 pm.
Fall - Sunday September 9th - 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

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 learnt.
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

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

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
Jan 27, Feb 17 and Mar 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.

The Bookend
It's January now - a traditional time to settle by the fire and look through seed catalogs. Well, maybe these days we may go on line but, whatever, it's a time for gardeners to think about the crops they intend to plant in the new year. Town dwellers may plan a couple of raised beds just to have a few early greens, or those with larger lots will be thinking in terms of rows of peas, or maybe even corn. It's highly unlikely, however, that anyone will consider heading for the clearings, woodlands or riversides to collect a supply of foodstuffs.
Which brings us to a book we have in the HCP library called NATIVE AMERICAN FOOD PLANTS - An ethnobotanical dictionary by Daniel E. Moerman. This is a remarkable list of plants and their uses by 221 native American groups. Just a glance through the list reveals some particularly interesting information about plants the local people here on the West Coast used before the days of agriculture.
Just for instance, the Haisla used Alnus rubra, Red alder, to smoke fish and meat, and the pitch of Picea sitchensis, Sitka Spruce, was used as chewing gum. The bulbs of Allium cernuum, Nodding Onions, were cooked for eating and the tops used fresh with meat. In fact, the Hanaksiala, Hoh, Klallam, Kwakiutl and others seemed to use the Nodding Onions a good deal
The Makah also used the Sitka Spruce pitch as chewing gum, and they liked the rhizomes of Phyllospadix scouleri, Scouler's Surfgrass, for eating raw, particularly in the springtime. Close to home, the Salish liked an onion that had strongly flavoured bulbs - the Allium acuminatum, Tapertip Onion.
Obviously, diets depended a good deal on the areas in which the various native groups lived and travelled. It is interesting to discover how they made use of the plants in their respective regions - whether cooked, eaten raw, eating only the seeds, drying for winter use, and so on.
You might find some of the plants in the list during one of your nature rambles. Or perhaps just a browse through the 1500 plants mentioned in the Moerman book will be quite enough to send you back to browsing seed catalogs!

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