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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May  E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Tomato Day
Saturday, May 20: 9:00 to 12:00

Join us from 9:00 to noon for Tomato Day and choose from a variety of options.
You will find:
  • organically grown tomato starts along with other veggies, edible flowers, and herbs
Click here for a list of tomato varieties!

The long weekend in May is traditionally the time to plant your garden, so come early for the best selection! Free admission to the Gardens during the sale.

Hope to see you then!
Linda Petite, Head Gardener


Spring Plant Sale Recap
by Linda Petite, Head Gardener

HCP's spring plant sale is always the biggest of the year. This year there was a line up at the gates, and the real keeners had looked at the online availability list to plot their plant sale strategy in advance.
We made $21,000 in sales over the two days, as well as $450 in used books, and sold over 10 dozen muffins.
The polyhouses are looking empty now, but not to worry, the volunteer propagation groups are busy filling them up again!!
My sincere thanks to the volunteers, students, and staff who helped make this spring sale a huge success.

HCP Annual General Meeting: Sunday, May 28 at 2:00 pm


The Annual General Meeting of the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific
will be held in the Couvelier Pavilion on:

Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm

This meeting of the Members of the HCP has been called in accordance with the Bylaws of the Society to consider the business and motions as contained in the Agenda.

1. Opening & Welcome
2. Confirmation of Quorum
3. Acceptance of the Minutes of the 2016 AGM
4. Highlights & Achievements of 2016
5. Presentation of 2016 Financial Statements
6. Appointment of the Auditors for 2017
7. Notices of Motion (If Any)
8. Election of Directors
9. Recognition of Retiring Directors
10. Closing

Picnic Night Returns This Summer

Come join us the last Wednesday of every summer month starting in May for a Picnic in the Gardens! Admission is by donation from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Bring a picnic supper with your family and friends, stroll the Gardens, and listen to live music in the courtyard.

For a special treat, pre-order your picnic from Charlotte and the Quail.

HCP Hosts 1st Annual Chelsea Fringe Festival: Sunday, May 28, 2:30 to 5:00

For the first time in Canada, Victoria will host a Chelsea Fringe Festival event. Enjoy an afternoon of sun-soaked live music from some local talent, face painting, and art in The Gardens at HCP.

The festival features performances from Vic Horvath (Victoria - Folk/Blues), Tree Top Trio (Victoria - Jazz/Swing Guitar), and one of CBC's Best New Bands of 2016, Old.Soul.Rebel (Vancouver - Blues/Soul).

The Chelsea Fringe Festival is a not-for-profit community project intended to make garden culture more accessible to a wider community. The Chelsea Fringe Festival acts with the support of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show held in London, UK annually.

The Chelsea Fringe attracts a wide variety of garden-related events and venues. From art exhibitions to folk music, children's school gardens to new public parks, there are events of every scale to entice the green fingered and culturally curious.

Since the first Chelsea Fringe in 2012, over 1100 individuals and organisations have participated, with events happening all over the UK as well as Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Japan, and Australia. And now Canada joins the party.

Come join us on Sunday, May 28 from 2:30 to 5:00!

Adults: $12.00
Students and Seniors: $9.00
Under 16: Free
Members of the HCP: Free

Japanese Tea Ceremony in the Gardens: Sunday, June 11, 11:00 to 1:00

The Gardens at HCP is delighted to be hosting the Urasenke Tankokai Victoria Association for three tea ceremony demonstrations in our stunning Zen Garden.
Demonstrations will be led at  11:00 am12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm by facilitators and students of the UTVA. An English-speaking narrator will be present to answer questions following each demonstration.

The event is free with admission to The Gardens at HCP. Please note that visitors with limited mobility may require extra time to navigate the Gardens.

See you there!

Adults: $12.00
Students and Seniors: $9.00
Under 16: Free
Members of the HCP: Free

Staff Growth at HCP

As we enter the month of May, HCP says hello to a couple of new (but familiar) faces and goodbye (but not farewell) to another. Reggie Illy is moving on to dig deeper into the world of gardening, but will still be at HCP for Wednesday Volunteer mornings. In her place, HCP welcomes Jessica Jang, PHC student from 2014. Additionally, HCP also gives a warmest welcome to Laura Biggs, the new College Director. Both Laura and Jessica are excited to be part of the HCP team and continue "growing" the college in horticultural excellence. 

Birthday Girl Celebrates Earth Day in the Gardens

On Earth Day, April 22, Vivian Krawitz turned 6.  Not only did she choose to have her birthday in the Gardens at HCP with 20 of her friends, but Vivian also requested that, in lieu of presents, they make a donation to the HCP.
From the donation fund, Vivian bought gifts that she left in the Children's Garden. In this photo, she is leaving a wand by the fairy door - who knows what magic it will bring! We also have a new bunny munching his way in the garden (well, as much as a stone bunny can eat!). The remaining donations are going towards Youth Programs so other children can enjoy learning about the gardens.
Vivian truly lived the meaning of Earth Day by sharing her celebration and gifts in a way that will live on for others to enjoy.   

Giles Jottings
This hardly feels like May. The cold winter has bitten hard into some previously hardy plants and it is taking time for many to rejuvenate and put out their spring growth. 

But the rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis ) is flowering almost as strongly as ever. What colour do you call that? Is it a blue or a lilac? It has something dusky in it and the strong old plants tumbling over the walls of the Gathering Place and Bridal Beds give us some early colour and a reminder of the Mediterranean warmth from which they come.

In contrast, at the lower end of the Winter Garden, there is a magnificent rose, Rosa sericea, covered in pale yellow blossoms, a lovely sight. This species comes from south-west China, from around Mount Omei from where we also have that nicely coloured impatience ( Impatiens omeiana) that is beginning to do well in a couple of places in the gardens.

The camas ( Camassia quamash) is a deep blue carpet in the Native Plant Gardens. Ajuga and Bergenias give colour contrasts with the Euphorbias in the Hardy Garden beds and the pink candelabra primulas in the stream bed in the Takata are now at their best. The rhododendrons are always wonderful at this time of year with the constantly changing range of colours, but I must confess to a particular liking for the vivid yellow Rhododendron luteum.

And amongst all these splashes of colour there is also a pleasurable range of whites, their subtle shades changing day by day. There is a carpet of crowfoot, Anemone canadensis, in the Doris Page Winter Garden whose flowers are a brilliant white on the shaded slope. The Solomon's Seal ( Polygonatum spp.) above them have strong tinges of green in their hanging white flowers. The white Trilliums are going almost off-pink as they age and the robust white blooms of Choisya have a yellow tint, reflecting the golden foliage.

Highlight on Volunteers - Friday Propagation Group
by: Cheri le Brun
Our  Friday  energetic Propagation group is working under the direction of HCP Assistant Gardener Giles Collins.  The group has approximately 7 members and was formed in 2014 when Giles wanted to increase the volume of plants we have for sale. Giles is a knowledgeable plant propagator and this dynamic group loves to learn. They soak up all the information and tips that Giles can share. 

Many of the volunteers have been associated with the HCP prior to joining this group and volunteer in other capacities as well. Isabelle Jones is our Head Librarian at the HCP Library and has been volunteering for more than 15 years. 

JoAnn Braidwood has been with the group since it started and prior to that was the Accountant for the HCP for 7 years. She also volunteers on our Arts & Music in the Gardens committee to help plan our big annual event. JoAnn recruited Susan Palmer and Marilyn Lund who keep the group entertained with jokes and laughter. 

Linda Jones is also an original member of the group. Linda is very good at organizing information and, other than propagating plants, Linda helps keep an inventory and track what is being sold. Linda also volunteers for FLED (Find Lost and Escaped Dogs), an organization who helps people find their lost pets. Pat Mallet is the latest member of the group and also volunteers at the beautiful Outerbridge Park in Saanich. 
In the case of the April Whatzit, we were just looking for people who might recognize it as the bud of a tree peony - no particular variety, as it wouldn't be fair to expect people to identify something from the bud alone. Joy, Margaret, Georgia and Jean did recognize the bud as belonging to a tree peony.
Debbie, however, recognized it from having seen the "tree" in the HCP gardens. She says it's just uphill from the rhodo and winter garden.
By the way, try and visit our gardens soon because it's about time for tree peonies to burst into bloom!

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

Landscape Design Student Project Application for the Pacific Horticulture College
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.
If your property is chosen, three or four PHC students will be assigned to your property to consult, design and present their individual designs to the property owners. Please note that the project does not include the actual installation of a design in your garden.
The Landscape Design Instructor will review all applications and will contact the short-listed properties to set up an appointment to visit the property first hand around the end of June or beginning of July 2017.
Please read through the following points carefully to see if your property fits our criteria:  
  • Your property is within the Greater Victoria Area (excluding Sooke and Metchosin) from Pacific Horticulture College
  • We are looking for average sized properties with the need for a backyard (and possible) side yard design. The size and the complexity of the property need to be suitable for a student project.
  • You are available for consultation during late August - November. The successful design process requires communication between client and designer and your absence would make this impossible.
  • You are willing to make a $400 donation to the PHC Student Bursary Fund (a tax receipt will be issued for this donation).
Thank you for your time and consideration! If you are interested in applying for this project, please fill out this FORM and email or drop it off at Pacific Horticulture College/HCP by June 24, 2017.

Youth Programs

To Register: Call 250 479 6162 or email

Upcoming Programs
Once a month the JMG Kids Garden Club meets for seasonal gardening activities in our very o wn JMG Garden Plo t! Our growing season starts early and there is always lots to do!! Join us on June 3 where we will have more to harvest and plant!

CLUB DATES: Saturdays from 9:45 am - 11:45 am on June 3, Sept 9, Oct 7, Nov 4, Dec 2
COST: $10/2 hr session or $65/set of 8 sessions
AGES: All ages welcome! Children under 5 need to be with a supervising/participating adult 

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail if you have any questions.

This year we will focus on growing our own food in our gardening camps, including exploration of resident beneficial/pests, soils, organic gardening practices, growing food, and harvesting. We will create a garden, weed, plant, seed, harvest, and sample from the garden. There will be lots of growing things to take home and cultivate for later harvesting. This program is designed for kids who LOVE to be outdoors, are curious about their environment and want to grow their own food. There will also be garden crafts to make for our gardens on site and to take home!

        WEEK #1 July 10 - 14 (9-4pm)       $180/5 full days
        WEEK #2 Aug 8 - 11 (9-4pm)         $145/4 full days

Registration is through  Saanich Parks & Recreation .
The Art of Bonsai for Kids

If you have always wondered how these little plants stay sm all, come and learn a bit about the history of this beautiful art form. The n begin  to train a tree or shrub of your own. It can take years to reach its full potential as a Bonsai, but we can get started together!

DATE & TIME: Saturday, May 27, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
COST: $35 (includes a 1 gallon plant suited to Bonsai)
AGES: 8 to 14 years

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail if you have any questions.


Check our website for lots of fun things to do in the garden this summer!


Kids love to explore nature. The Gardens at HCP provide endless exploration opportunities and natural materials to create keepsakes & art. Each day we will go on a scavenger hunt to explore a different part of the garden and create beautiful and practical pieces to take home, including planters, weavings and more!  All materials are supplied for the activities. No discounts apply.          

DATE: July 24 - 28 (5-11 years)

TIME: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm         
COST: $95/5 half days

Registration is through Saanich Parks & Recreation

Upcoming Workshops

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
May 27, & June 17, & July 15
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 Art of Bonsai - Rootcutting Workshop
with Mark Paterson
Saturday, May 20
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 second of a three-part series and can be taken on its own. Come pot up the bonsai you made in spring or learn about root cutting with your own plant.  Learn how to control roots by trimming and using different types of soil. Workshop includes an asian-style shallow pot. The next class on September 23 will cover later season and Winter care. 

HCP Members $140/ Series or $60/Part 1
Non Members $160/ Series or $70/Part 1

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Herbal Kitchen - Cooking With Wild Edibles
with Lily Fawn
Saturday, May 20
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Come spend the afternoon learning to find and identify medicinal edible herbs. Wild plants are nutritious, tasty, and a great way to increase your health and cut your grocery bill.  In this workshop you will learn about the many delicious, healthy, and nutritionally-packed wild edible, medicinal plants that are yours for the picking! This class will focus on healthy edible weeds that grow all around us. You will learn how to identify and harvest these tasty edibles, as well as several different ways to prepare them. Take home recipes and enjoy a wild edible meal prepared during class.

HCP Members $45
Non Members $50

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Driftwood and Succulents Workshop
with Linda Petite
Saturday, May 27
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Create a beautiful driftwood and succulent display to take home. Our head gardener Linda Petite will guide you through the process and share some tips about working with succulents. Driftwood and succulents will be provided. 

HCP Members $25
Non Members $35

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Introduction to Garden Design
with Patty Brown
Seven Mondays: 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
May 29, June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 10, 17

Two Saturday field trips: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
June 24 & July 8

  This 9-session course with PHC instructor Patty Brown is designed for the homeowner and for those with an interest in landscape design. Students will learn to draft and design a residential landscape plan to scale. Two field trips will be used to look at existing landscapes and plant choices. Topics covered will include design principles and processes, garden styles, site analysis, plants as design elements and landscape materials. For the practical side of this course it is ideal to have a project or area to design so to apply and practice each step. 

HCP Members $250
Non Members $295

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Herbal Tincture Making Workshop
with Lily Fawn
Saturday, June 3
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Herbalist, Lily Fawn, shares the secrets of medicinal tincture making. She will walk participants through the different types of tinctures and the various ways to make them. This herbal workshop is designed seasonally in order to utilize fresh wild-gathered or herbs from the garden. This session will also offer an informative introduction to a materia medica of the herbs used in the class and receive a detailed handbook outlining all the information covered in class. You will get an opportunity for hands-on participation in making your own tincture to take home. Herbal tea and treat is complimentary during class time and all supplies are included.

HCP Members $45
Non Members $50

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent
Sunday, June 11
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 sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Bee ID Workshop & Introduction to Pollinator Citizen Science App
with Cameron Cartiere, Geoff Campbell, & Dr. Lora Morandin
Sunday, June 11
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Join Cameron Cartiere & Geoff Campbell from Border Free Bees, in collaboration with Dr. Lora Morandin, Pollinator Partnership Canada, for a fun and informative day of hands-on bee identification training. Whether you are a gardener, a pollinator enthusiast, or someone with little knowledge of bees (but great enthusiasm), you're bound to learn something interesting and exciting at this workshop! You'll also get a chance to test the new Insight Citizen Science pollinator monitoring app in the gardens of the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Border Free Bees is a public art and design research initiative of Emily Carr University of Art + Design ( Pollinator Partnership Canada is dedicated to the protection all pollinators and their habitat ( Lunch is not provided, so please bring your own snack or visit the restaurant on site - Charlotte & the Quail (

There is no charge for this workshop, but spaces are limited. To register, call 250 479 6162 .

Grow your Own Cut Flower Garden Workshop - Summer
with Eiddwen Thomas
Sunday, June 25
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

The Summer workshop is part of a seasonal four-part series on Growing Your Own Cut Flower Garden. Each class can be taken on its own or as part of the series. In the glorious month of June you will learn about what can be cut now from your garden. Eiddwen Thomas will be talking about roses and peonies along with other flowers for cutting. Participants are also invited to bring examples of what is presently blooming in their own gardens for group discussion. This workshop will also focus on what you can be starting now for glorious blooms next year in your garden. This is a great opportunity to get together with like-minded people who are passionate about beautiful flowers! The instructor, Eiddwen Thomas of Cartref Gardens, is a flower farmer/floral designer who has a small garden, less than an acre, where she has grown flowers commercially for 15 years -
Subsequent workshops:
Fall season - Growing your own cutting garden  Sunday September 24th from 9 am to 12 noon.
Winter season - Growing your own cutting garden in the cutting garden - date to be determined

HCP Members $45
Non Members $60

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Bookend
Our HCP library has quite a number of books for sale - books that (1) We have to discard due to lack of shelf space or (2) That have been donated for the very purpose of helping us raise money toward books we need to add to our collection. (Helen Chesnut has been a particularly generous donor.) In case you are not yet aware of it, the list of books is available on our website ( and you can also access it by clicking here.
Books we have found room for recently include one called simply "Frittillaries." Another is a "Wildflower Gardener's Guide," and then there's one with a great title: "Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History." A thoughtful former member dropped off a book for us before leaving for Thailand:   "The A to Z of Plant Names."   (Just thought you might like to bone up on the subject to impress summer visitors.)
By the way - to bring up a subject that some people seem to avoid - we have two great copies of "Garden Insects of North America." It's a publication full of information, plus great pictures, to help you identify all the tiny critters in your garden.

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