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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July E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
HCP Ornamental Grass Garden Transformation
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener 
The Ornamental Grass Garden was once one of the most popular gardens here at the HCP. In the past few years, however, it has become known as "The Garden of Neglect" due to the ongoing problem with Equisetum arvense (Horsetail).
Phase 1 of the transformation involved using equipment to remove the Horsetail-infested plants. PHC students worked in teams to string trim, apply limestone and cover the entire area with black plastic to solarize the Horsetail. We still need to improve the drainage and increase both the soil pH and fertility to get this prehistoric weed under control!
We will keep a close eye on the solarization process, with the end goal being to design and install a garden that will grow plants to provide materials for our very popular Community Ed Holiday Wreath classes.
This project has been funded by Tim and Frances Price of Toronto in honour of their friend and former HCP Board President, Simon A. Wade.
Thank you to all involved for your support.

Picnic in the Gardens - A Growing Success 

Not everyone can say they've experienced the magic of being in the Gardens after hours.
Perhaps you've been a wedding guest at a reception in the Couvelier Pavilion, or maybe you've put in long volunteer hours cleaning up after Arts & Music in the Gardens. Ask a staff member and they might be able to tell you about the smell of the night blooming jessamine cestrum nocturnum, the way the sunlight trickles through the treetops to the west, or the relief of a cool breeze after a stiflingly hot afternoon.
However, after this June's wildly successful Picnic in the Gardens, the cat may now be out of the bag.
Introduced in 2016, Picnic in the Gardens occurs on the last Wednesday of the month, May through August, "Picnic Nights" feature live music and gifts and offer admission by donation. The 2017 series is presented by Berwick Retirement Communities, who are offering each visitor a welcome bag upon arrival.
Picnic in the Gardens has seen a slow and steady growth as visitors seek to enjoy cooler temperatures, fewer crowds and the draw of "after hours" admission. Attendees who braved the rain in May were rewarded by a romantic serenade from guitarist and singer-songwriter Matt Stern, while June attendees who waited out the afternoon heat got to cool down with celtic harpist Helena Murray-Hill.

The next picnic night is coming up on Wednesday, July 26th. Admission by donation begins at 5:00pm and the event ends at 8:00pm. We look forward to seeing you there! 
For a special treat, pre-order your picnic from Charlotte and the Quail. 
Plant of the Month - Hardy Fuchsias
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
It's hard not to love a Hardy Fuchsia! They are...
  • low maintenance plants
  • long blooming (May-October)
  • deer resistant
  • attract hummingbirds
  • edible flowers and fruit
  • full or part sun
We have several varieties for sale in our Plant Sale area, all propagated in house.
Come and walk around our Hardy Fuchsia Garden to see what the established plants look like.
A few favorites: Papoose, Voltaire, Delta Sarah, Galadriel
Hardy Plant Event
by: Susan McKay
The 2017 Hardy Plant Study Weekend hosted by the Victoria Hardy Plant Group was held on June 23-26th.  Over 430 enthusiastic local and visiting gardeners immersed themselves in all things gardening, including 26 public and private garden visit opportunities, 7 fabulous speakers, gorgeous floral displays, a Silent Auction, and an active Market Place of many plants (including HCP fuchsias) and garden art.

Two hundred people attended the Saturday Fete event at HCP.  The Gardens looked amazing, with many compliments received!  The weekend truly provided the opportunity for participants to "Flourish" in the company of plants and gardeners.  Thanks to everyone who helped make the weekend a reality and the great success it was.  
Cut Flowers Available

Beautiful cut flowers bouquets are now available in the Gardens at HCP gift shop. For only $5 a bunch they are seasonal, fresh and support a great cause.

Giles Jottings 
After such a slow start to the year, it feels to me like suddenly everything has come bursting out in just the last three weeks. And under this hot sunshine many things are bursting into flower and then fading almost before we get a chance to enjoy them properly.

One plant that has made an unusually impressive show this year has been the foxgloves. They are really biennial weeds - I don't think any of us actually sow them. We may plant some of the beautiful cultivated varieties, Digitalis lanata, for instance, or Digitalis ferruginea but the wild Digitalis purpurea spread themselves on their own. In the first year they will produce only leaves, requiring a second winter cold to stimulate their spikes of flowers and many will get weeded out during that first year's growth. But somehow this year in the gardens a whole lot of them have made it through to maturity and suddenly we have been surrounded by their lovely spikes of multiple purple trumpets. In fact the name itself, Digitalis, means "finger-like", referring of course to the way we, especially as children, would place them on our fingertips, like little fairy caps.

The roses are also now looking splendid. The 'Rose Allée' is a spectacular show of roses of every colour and to either side there are equally vivid displays. The fuchsias are coming into full bloom in the Fuchsia Garden. There is a range of wonderful clematis in the Hardy Plant Garden, and the Cutting Garden, full of lovely emerging annuals, has been delighting us for several weeks with the fiercely blue Anchusa italica. The Birds, Butterflies and Bees Garden next door has been looking impressively well cared for this year, and the golden Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata) and the honeysuckle (Lonicera 'Graham Thomas') are very striking.

In the wilder parts of the garden and throughout the Conservation Park, the Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor) is in full bloom. Their frothy white flowers give off a sweet scent and for a few brief weeks surround us with their tumbling cascades.

The creeping Sedums that are now well-established on the 'green roof' of the Couvelier Pavilion have just come fully into flower. They make a wonderful crown of yellow and white flowers perched above the doors and windows.
Arts & Music in the Gardens
Seeking Vendors 

This year Arts & Music at the Gardens will be including a Harvest Theme. If you know anyone who sells jams, fresh produce or another tasty treat please share this opportunity with them. All interested vendors can contact us at
June Whatzit was a Senecio articulatus (commonly called candle plant). No one guessed correctly last month, but our Head Gardener assures us she will have some available for us to buy at the 2018 spring plant sale.
This evergreen succulent, commonly called the Candle Plant or Hot Dog Cactus, is an evergreen clump-forming perennial up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. Having originated in Cape Town, it's not likely to be hardy outdoors in our area and will likely need to be potted up in the fall and wintered over in a frost free environment. Those looking for something a bit different will be looking forward to the spring sale!

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
Upcoming Events:
Level 4 Landscape Horticulturist Program - Part-Time
Accepting Applications now!
Pesticide Applicator Certificate Course (Landscape General Category)
Course: Mondays, August 14 and 21, 2017,  
Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Exam: August 24, 2017Thursday 9 am - 12 pm

Save the Date - PHC 30th Anniversary Celebration
Since 1987, PHC has provided excellence in horticultural education. If you are an alumnus or current/past instructor of PHC, save the date and join us at the Gardens at HCP on September 17 from 1-4 pm for an afternoon of mingling and celebration!
PHC Information Session
Considering a career in horticulture? Join us and learn more about the program and the application process on  September 256-7 pm.

Landscape Design Student Project Applications - Apply Now!
Looking to rejuvenate your garden and receive professional advice? Each year, PHC students work with members of The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific and the public who are willing to offer their properties as landscape design student projects. For more information and criteria, please see HERE or contact the college for more information at We look forward to your submissions!
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    
Dates: Tuesday, July 4 & 18, Aug 1 & 15

NATURE AROUND US is a Walk & Talk session for children 5+ geared to the exploration of plants, insects and diversity in the gardens. Participants will tour the gardens at HCP as they discover more about the natural world around them.
Time: 11:00 am - 11:45 am    
Dates: Tuesday, July 4 & 18, Aug 1 & 15  
Please reserve your spot for both of these programs by calling the Office at HCP 250-479-6162              
*Free with a Family membership or an adult who has paid admission

Register for any of these programs by calling 250-479-6162 

Explore the amazing world of plants, how they grow and what you need to know to build and maintain your own miniature indoor garden. Participants are invited to bring along a glass container to transform (a great upcycle activity with an open glass container 20cm or less). Plants and other materials will be provided.
Date: Thursday, July 20      
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm   
Cost: $15/person      
Ages: 5+ years
These are very durable and a great way to create a garden path and add art to your home garden. Concrete, stones, gems, shells, and hands will be used to create a lasting impression!
Date: Thursday, August 3 
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm      
Cost: $15/person      
Ages: 5+ years
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

New this summer!            FAIRY GARDEN DROP IN SESSIONS!
Looking for a quick drop in activity to get your child's creativity flowing? Making tiny gardens and furnishings are lots of fun and these 1 hour sessions will be filled with ideas that your child can take home and add to each session or on their own. Start with the first session and create a mini garden to take home. Then each visit you can add a couple more features to enhance the Fairy Garden or add to the surrounding area in the home garden. We will be using natural materials with a bit of bling (everyone knows that fairies like gemstones   ). If you have something to share (beach glass, acorn caps, etc) bring them along to contribute to the materials. The sessions will be stand alone, so drop in when you can. Adults are welcome to attend or wander the gardens while you wait.
Dates: August 5th & 19th 
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am         
Cost: $10/person             
Ages: 5+ years 

(Pre-Register for each session at HCP 250-479-6162)
Spotlight on Volunteers

To Apply to be a Garden or Office Volunteer e-mail Cheri at 
Congratulations to our Youth Volunteers 
This month we celebrated our youngest and most enthusiastic volunteers at the HCP. The Berenshteyn family were awarded Youth Recognition Certificates from Volunteer Victoria for their work on our Ethnobotany Trail. Pictured with them in the photograph is their mom, Deanna Vlug and Ethnobotany Lead Steward Hoke Holcomb. The children have been volunteering for more than 2 years and love the opportunity to learn about native plants and biodiversity. The Ethnobotany group is always looking for more volunteers. Email if you would like to join this fun and energetic group.
Another young volunteer Quinn Adamson was rewarded a certificate to recognize his contributions. Quinn regularly assists his grandmother, Bev Adamson to collect and return refundable bottles and cans for our volunteer cookie fund.  
The HCP would like to thank our young volunteers for their contributions and dedication to our organization.


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

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
 June 17, July 15 & Aug 19 
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
This time of year our attention is drawn to all the beautiful plants to be seen in the gardens at HCP as well as those in many private gardens.  But have you ever looked at them closely - really closely?  Maybe even with a magnifying glass?
In our library at HCP we have a couple of books that have the most amazing pictures. They contain photographs of some very small things, such as seeds, that have been magnified many times. The results are amazing and beautiful. Well, the plant shots are beautiful. Perhaps the same can't be said for the snout beetle apparently found in a collection of seeds from Madagascar. But, then, even little critters can be interesting when seen up close and personal.
One of the books is called "Fruit - edible, inedible, incredible." The other is called "Seeds - time capsules of life."  Perhaps we should caution you that these are big books and probably not suitable for reading while lounging in a hammock!  Aside from that, they are highly recommended to anyone interested in the world around us that we so often fail to observe closely. They would be of particular interest to artists - who are more observant than most of us and would doubtless enjoy examining Nature's amazing and unique patterns.
Library Hours: 
Wednesday - 9:00 to 12:00
Saturday - 10:00 to 1:00