Welcome back everyone . . . and what a year 2016 is going to be!
2015 was a year of regrouping, gathering and re-establishing. Now that we have "amended our soils," it's time for growth and activity. Over the course of the year to come you will see some changes within the physical garden, volunteer programs will be launched, new community education programs emerging, and College curricula expanding.
The Gardens will be full of life, love and new beginnings, with our summer weekends being fully booked for weddings.
The gift shop continues to increase its stock of the latest and neatest garden trendy wear, tools and knick knacks. We are expecting a shipment of Mason bees today for you to take home and increase pollination in your garden.
As Gardeners and Horticulturists we know that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. As we are just beginning this new season of growth, I encourage everyone to come out to the HCP and become a part of it.
Saanich Seedy Saturday
Tomorrow, January 9th, 2016 the Gardens at HCP will be hosting the first Saanich Seedy Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm in the Couvelier Pavilion. Presented by Haliburton Community Organic Farm, this promises to be a great event.
New Plants for 2016
by Linda Petite, Head Gardener
Happy New Year everyone!
I love this time of year, leafing through catalogues and magazines to see what is new and exciting in the plant world!
The 'Dublin' Peony
I am giving a thumbs up to the Peony Patio Series. The patio series are named after European cities and produce double flowers, upright self-supporting stems and compact growth. They are ideal for containers. Try something new this year. Click here for the Peony Patio Series.
If you need more inspiration this year I recommend the 2016 Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. A group of friends of the HCP went last year and we were not disappointed!!! www.gardenshow.com
Happy Gardening in 2016!!
In addition to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the Gardens at HCP also has a Pinterest account. If you haven't used Pinterest before, it's a great tool to store information, tips, images and instructions from the internet. Essentially it's a virtual bulletin board. Pinterest is a great tool for those who like to cook, hobbyists, parents, travelers, and of course Gardeners!
We started our Pinterest account as a tool for our brides (we have 25 weddings booked in 2016!) to get inspiration for their wedding at the Gardens at HCP. It has now grown to include to highlight our true purpose - connecting people to plants! For example, under our 'Food from your Garden' board you will find articles and websites on growing herbs, a winter garden and blueberries.
Other boards include topics like 'Birds, Bees and Butterflies', or 'Gardening with Kids'. The internet can be overwhelming but Pinterest makes it easy to organize what you are interested in and find great ideas when you want them.
After a nice two-week holiday break we are all back at the Gardens, and a good deal of effort is being put into clearing up some of the debris from the recent winter storms. In the windstorm a couple of weeks before Christmas, a big
mature Douglas Fir came down in the Rhododendron Garden; yet by some stroke of luck it managed to fall only onto pathways, missing the Takata garden entrance and compound by literally inches. It looked quite a mess at first, but Bartlett's came for a few hours the following week and did a fine job clearing and chipping the branches and leaving the trunk cut into sections which we are hoping to send to be milled into planks.
In the same storm the Doris Page Garden suffered a lot of blow-down, but a couple of Wednesday mornings of hard work has brought it back to its normal tidy state and its winter colours are just beginning to appear. There are snowdrops already in flower. The orange-flowered Hamamelis at the lower end of the garden is in bloom. The Daphnes are showing buds that will open soon, some early Hellebores are already out. and there are colourful berries on the Skimmias, Gaultherias and Aucubas. And perhaps most impressive in the afternoon sunshine are the vivid red and orange stems of Cornus 'Midwinter Fire' and Cornus alba 'Sibirica'.
The level 3 students have been galvanised by their hardscape teacher, Rob Degros, and have been building several new features in the gardens. The slippery sloping path between the Heather Garden and the Winter Garden has been much improved by the installation of steps, and they are currently learning paving, creating new areas in the Childrens' Garden and outside the lunch room.
After years of reliable work by our volunteers at Outerbridge Park, Saanich now have a new on-going development plan and our volunteers have been involved in a range of interesting new plantings.
Many of these same volunteers are now also working in the Conservation Park, clearing some of the almost unlimited patches of blackberries. And over the next months we will be planting more Garry Oaks and Douglas Firs in order to complete the 'forest corridor' that has always been envisaged as an essential feature of that area.
This time of the year can seem a little grey and dispiriting at times, but when the sun breaks through and lights up the expanding buds of the Rhododendrons, the multi-coloured foliage of heathers or reflects off the raindrops on a hairy-leaved Phlomis, it reminds us that winter at the HCP can be quite as interesting and stimulating as the other seasons.
The November Whatzit?
See if you can tell us its correct name.
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer to November's Whatzit: Fatsia Japonica.
Pacific Horticulture College (PHC)
On November 20th the Class of 2015 Pacific Horticulture College students graduated! It was a great event attended by friends and family. One special highlight was when two of our graduates, Bryce, accompanied by Meghan, performed their ode to Horsetail, 'Oh Equisetum'. It was a smash hit and you can view it here. Fair warning though, it's a very catchy tune and you will be humming it for weeks!
If you know anyone who is interested in a career in Horticulture we still have a few spots left in our 2016 class starting soon. Link here to the College
Elmarie Roberts & Linda Geggiewill teach community members, city planners, land owners, potential farmers, decision makers and students about this important subject.
This workshop is an opportunity to sit around the table with like-minded folk to learn more about the Incubator farm model as a proven opportunity for new farmers in need of land, business planning and infrastructure to start a farm business.
Tickets $15, please call 250-479-6162 to register.
Explore the sculptural design possibilities of the Wicker Basketry technique when starting with a wood base. Participants will learn control of shaping as well as a variety of weaving patterns. The rich variety of colour and design options makes for a fun and creative experience.
An understanding of how and why plants respond to pruning 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.
Many people are interested in environmentally friendly and low maintenance gardens that will attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to their garden. Kristen Miskelly, biologist and owner of Saanich Native Plants, will provide information on our local ecology, caring for and maintaining a native plant garden, native plant identification, propagation techniques, and benefits of native plants to wildlife. Special emphasis will be placed on the use of edible, deer resistant and drought tolerant species.
Diane, the Plant Identification and Culture Workshop instructor shares a preview for her January class.
Iris unguicularis is the tongue-twister of a name for a delightful winter surprise in the garden. Who would expect beautiful violet flowers through the winter, toughing it out in sun and drought, year after year, and one native from Greece to North Africa to boot. "Algerian iris" is one of the plants to be presented in Diane Pierce's Community Education Plant ID class Jan. 23 or Feb. 27.
If you want to sniff its lovely scent in the classroom and learn how to grow this plant and 24 others, we hold monthly sessions on Saturdays afternoon from 1:00 - 4:00 pm, sign up for one class or the whole year.
HCP Members $35.00 per session or $385 for 12 sessions
Non-HCP Members $45.00 per session or $495 for 12 sessions
Thank you to everyone who came out to learn wreath making in December at the Gardens as well to those who purchased one made by our Head Gardener Linda and her helper elves. It certainly was wreath city around here last month.
If you didn't see it the Native Plant volunteers made a 4' beauty entirely from Native Plants. It was gorgeous!
Learn and play with your family in the Gardens at HCP during our series of Growing Together workshops;
Seeds & Starts - Learn to select and grow your own nutritious edibles from seed ...and take home the fruits of your labour!
Garden Prep Basics - Learn about plot orientation and soil preparation ... and plan your best garden ever!
Maximizing Your Yield - Find out how to maximize your yield and grow healthy crops with less effort!
Creative Food Growing - Use your creative means to plan and plant a food garden in small spaces!
Dates: Saturday's February 13, March 5, March 19, April 2 2016
Fee: $25 / 2 hr session (up to 4 people with minimum of 1 adult) or $80 / 4 sessions.
(Materials are included in the fee)
E-mail: email@example.com or call 250-479-6162 to register your family
Focus on Volunteers
The Library Volunteers
Behind the restaurant, nestled in what was previously the caretakers cottage, you will find the HCP Library. This little library contains a plethora of horticultural books and is open to HCP members.
The library is run by Isabelle Jones and her bookish sidekicks Sue, Colleen, Lynn and Carolyn. The team has bravely tackled the enormous and ongoing task of transferring the library inventory onto computer. Please come over and say hello to these friendly ladies who are always ready to recommend an excellent book. The library is open on Wednesdays 9am to 1pm and Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays 10am to 1pm.
We've had some recent additions to the library, thanks to Susanne Burchanger. She has given us a number of books that belonged to her late daughter, a talented landscape designer. As a result, we now have books devoted to such subjects as designs for walls, paved walks, and even trellises. As well, there are a couple of new books on Japanese gardens and one that gives instructions for rejuvenating overgrown gardens. Specialty books like these are often hard to come by and so we are particularly pleased to have them in our collection.