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March 1st - October 31st
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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April E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Spring Plant Sale
April 21st & 22nd at 9 AM daily 
Come join us for our annual s pring plant sale. This is a great time to get lots of great ideas and information for your garden and to purchase unique and healthy plants that have been propagated from plants on-site at the Gardens by our staff, students and volunteers.  
Admission to the gardens is free during  plant sales, so take time to peruse the Gardens. Victoria Master Gardeners, Victoria Horticultural Society members,  staff, volunteers and our Horticulture students will be available to help answer all your questions. We will have coffee and muffins from the Sidney Bakery available, the gift shop will be open, a big book sale in the library, and Charlotte and the Quail will be open for breakfast.
ALL proceeds raised from the sale go back into the maintenance and development of the gardens. Click here to download a list of all available plants. 
Hope to see you at the sale!
Linda Petite, Head Gardener
Notice of AGM 
The Annual General Meeting of the Horticulture Centre of the Pacifc will be held in the Couvelier Pavilion on:

Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 11:00 AM
This meeting of the Members of the HCP has been called in accordance with the Bylaws of the Society to consider only the business and motions as contained in the Agenda.
Members wishing to submit a motion for consideration by the Members at the Annual General Meeting are to submit their motion, signed by the Mover and the Seconder, together with all supporting documentation to the Secretary ( not later than end of business on Monday, April 16, 2018.
Earth Day Biodiversity Fair 

Earth Day is a time to get outdoors and see your community. Find out what amazing things are happening to inspire us to be good stewards of our planet!! The Gardens at HCP is hosting a day filled with demonstrations, activities and walks showcasing the importance of biodiversity to ensure natural sustainability for all life forms. We hope you can join us, be inspired and make a difference! Admission by donation. This event is suitable for schools and the public. 

Thursday, April 19th 
9:30 - 2:30 

Mason Bees Available in the Gift Shop 
Have you heard the buzz?

Mason bees are back in stock at the HCP gift shop! The dormant cocoons are kept chilled in our fridge until you take them home. We also carry a selection of books and bee hotels to help you get started. For those with established bee hotels at home, make sure you pick up some replacement cardboard tubes to welcome new guests this spring.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to compliment our gift shop's Easter display table! I hope it helped inspire your spring tables and gardens at home. The display has now been updated to help build excitement for Earth Week and our Biodiversity Fair on April 19th. In addition to bees, we've got items to help you support birds, bats and beneficial insects in your own backyard.

We were delighted to double the size of our West Coast Seeds display last fall and are now offering even more seeds. For biodiversity, consider the bee or beneficial insect wildflower blends!

It's a constant thrill to see how many unique items we can fit in our tiny stop. Please stop in on your next visit to see what's new and check out our restocked selection of perennial favourites like The Original Garden Broom and Kama Soap Co.

Partnership Spotlight - de Vine Vineyards 
The Gardens at HCP and de Vine Vineyards have entered into an exciting new partnership! de Vine Vineyards is Victoria's iconic family Winery and Distillery, producing award-winning wines and spirits from local grapes, grain, fruit and honey. They are located just off Old West Saanich, with the most incredible views from their tasting room of the Gulf Islands and Mt. Baker.

They specialize in organically processed wine and avoid the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. To follow what's happening at de Vine, their
social media handle for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is @devinevineyards.  
Question of the Month
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
The Gardens at HCP is so lucky to have Linda as our Head Gardener. She has brought wonderful changes to the gardens during her tenure while is constantly sharing and teaching visitors, students, volunteers and staff. Here is a new segment of the Enews where she will share some of that invaluable information.

Question: What is one of your favourite tools and why?
Answer: The Hori Hori, also known as a Japanese digging knife.
Hori is the Japanese word for 'dig', traditionally used in Japan to collect Bonsai specimens.
It has a sharpened edge on one side with a serrated edge on the other. It's long narrow shape makes it perfect for both loosening soil for transplants, digging out weeds and small plants, and the point can be dragged across the soil to make seed troughs. Its serrated edge is good for tougher jobs like cutting through plant roots. The humble trowel has been replaced in recent years with this sharper competitor!
Bonsai Theft 
Staff, volunteers and visitors are sh ocked and greatly saddened by th e th eft of 4 of our Bons ai Trees. We are unsure when exactly they were removed over the past few weeks, but if anybody sees or hears of any bonsai sales, please notify Saanich Police at 250-475-4321, call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a web-tip at         
Thank You Volunteers

Have you noticed the double wooden gates at the lower field entrance?
Thanks to Wednesday Volunteers, Lonnie Paton and Ian Duncan, for building them, a much-needed improvement!

Giles' Jottings    
Spring is much more advanced here in Victoria than back in England. When I flew out of Manchester last week, it was still snowing. And stopping over in Toronto I was surprised to find the weather quite warm and no snow at all.

However, we are still at the early, principally yellow, stage of spring. The daffodils ( Narcissus spp.) below the Gathering Place are in full flower and the rather paler, almost white, ones in the Lower Field are well advanced.
Everywhere there is Forsythia in flower, in the Winter garden and in the Birds, Bees and Butterflies Garden. And there are leaves on some trees and shrubs that currently also have a very seasonal yellow tint. In the Hardy Plant Garden there are bushes of privet ( Ligustrum), I think, whose leaves are genuinely yellow-coloured, and down in the Lower Field there is a young Weeping Willow ( Salix babylonica) whose new emerging leaves are a wonderful half-way colour between yellow and lime-green.

In the Farm Garden and in the Doris Page Garden there are Primulas and Violas, mostly in a range between white and yellow, and then I realised that there are several plantings of Oregon Grape ( Mahonia spp.) around the gardens that have very vivid flowers just beginning to show their acid yellow coloration. There is a strikingly yellow heather at the bottom of the Winter Garden  Erica cinerea 'Lime Soda') but I should not pretend there are not other colours waking up around the HCP. There are some lovely violet Aubrieta in that same area at the bottom of the Winter garden and there are, of course, pink and white blossoms on various early-flowering trees. But for just this couple of weeks, spring yellow is in the ascendant.
'Picture of the Month'
Thank you to Laura Brandes for this month's 'Picture of the Month' Submission

"My son and I spend so much time at the gardens. He's 2.5 now and already has so many memories of this special place. This is a picture of young Oskar and Peter (good friends, both two years old) planting radishes with Paula at the Junior Master Gardeners' Club on April 7, 2018. " 

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
April already! At the end of March, PHC students completed their courses in Pruning and Botany and are now embarking on new topics such as Landscape Design, Soils, and Turfgrass Management. Partnership group rotations also begin in April: every year, PHC students partner with the lead stewards of various gardens at HCP to work alongside with various volunteer garden groups. This is a great opportunity to meet the Wednesday morning volunteers, learn the history of individual gardens, and contribute to specific work projects in volunteer-led gardens. Examples of gardens students work in for these rotations are the Doris Page Winter Garden, Bonsai Garden, Garry Oak Meadow Garden, Herb Garden and the Conservation Park. Thank you to the volunteers for sharing your knowledge and passion with the students!
PHC students have also started their Landscape Design course. This course runs most of the year and ends with a final major design project. The final major design project is in partnership with members of the public who are interested in offering their properties as landscape design student projects. PHC is now accepting applications for the Landscape Design Student Project (click HERE for more information). This is a great opportunity for the students to learn and practice design first hand, and also a wonderful opportunity for homeowners to receive smart and beautiful designs for their garden spaces. The deadline for applications is June 15th.
Coming up:
Part-time Level 3 Apprenticeship Training (June to November)
2 019 Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program Information Session on Monday, June 4th at 6 pm
  •  Interested to learn more about the program? Come to our information session, and also meet instructors and past students!
Pacific Horticulture is hiring a Practical Skils Instructor. For more information download the job description here.   
For more information, please contact PHC at  or call at 250-479-6162.
Youth Programs
Upcoming Camps and Workshops
Call to Register for Programs: 250-479-6162 
Hypertufa Planters Part 1  
Come ready to get dirty and design a planter made from concrete and other natural materials. Hypertufa creates a very light weight and strong medium that is weather proof. We will discuss features needed in a planter and how to achieve them. These planters will need time to dry and part 2 will be held on Saturday, April 28 to complete this project. Bring along work gloves if you like. All materials are provided. Parent participation is required.

Hypertufa Planters Part 2 
The planters will now be dry and ready for us to add texture, prepare and plant into them. We will be using seasonal annuals and herbs for this project. It will be suited for your own garden or gift giving (for Mother's Day �� ). Parent participation is required.

Saturday, Apr 14 & 28, 2018
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Ages: 7 + years
Fee: $30 for both parts per child 
Tea Cup Fairy Gardens

We will begin with an enchanted walk through the Gardens for inspiration to create your own take home Tea Cup Fairy Garden. This is a chance to work with a variety of materials including clay, moss and twigs. Please plan to bring along your own cup (cup and saucer) to use. There are so many styles, colours and materials of cup (cups and saucers) that bringing your own will allow you to create a very individualized garden. Parents/guardians are welcome to stay and participate (and required to stay with children under 6 years). This activity appeals to many adults and they enjoy participating too! If you want to create a garden as you attend with a child, please bring along your own cup. There is an additional fee of $5 to cover the cost of your plant material.
Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Ages: 3+
Cost: $15/child (additional adult to register and make a garden is $5)

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. Please pre-register at 250-479-6162 
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 
Upcoming Workshops

Meadowscaping for Biodiversity
with Kristen Miskelly     
Saturday, April 28   
9:00 am - 12:00 pm  
Are you a homeowner or land manager interested in creating a native wildflower meadow in place of lawn or field? Join Kristen Miskelly of Saanich Native Plants to learn what you need to know to create a successful meadow, including which native species to use, how to prepare and plant your area, and how to keep it thriving for years to come.

HCP Members $45
Non-Members $60
To register, call 250 479 6162

Twining with Soft Materials
with Joan Carrigan     
Sunday, April 29th    
9:30 am - 4:30 pm  
Due to interest, we have added this additional date - April 28 is sold out. Soft materials such as rush, sedge and flower leaves offer the basket maker a beautiful material for fine twining. We will be weaving a small bowl-shaped basket with a radiating spoke base, variations of twining for the sides and lovely twined border. We have plenty of access to these basket materials found either in our gardens or local ditches and ponds.
HCP Members $120
Non-Members $140
To register, call 250 479 6162

Healthy Soils Series: Compost Tea for the Garden Workshop
with  Christina Nikolic    
Sunday, April 29th  
10:00 am - 12:00 pm  
First, what is compost tea, and why is everyone raving about it? Compost tea is the controlled extraction of microorganisms and nutrients from a small amount of high-quality compost and additional nutrient sources into water. The tea can be sprayed on the soil and plants in order to inoculate the landscape with these beneficial microorganisms. Learn about the benefits of compost tea and how to brew it with Christina Nikolic from the Organic Gardeners Pantry. Each participant will take home some compost tea to use in their own gardens.
HCP Members $35
Non-Members $40
To register, call 250 479 6162

Kombucha Workshop
with   Kristy and Mark Makenzie-Moore    
Saturday, May 5   
9:00 am - 12:00 pm  
Is there an inner brewmaster hiding in you? This half day course in the art of kombucha tea will instruct you on the proper mixing ratios and techniques to brew your own kombucha. We will explore kombucha with all of our senses. You will get to sample and learn to make primary and secondary fermented kombucha. By the end of the workshop you will be sent home with everything you need for your very own personal kombucha brewing. Please bring a 1 litre glass canning jar with lid and a small notebook and pencil. 
HCP Members $25
Non-Members $30
To register, call 250 479 6162

Eat Your Weeds (Wild Edible Herb Walk & Lunch)
with Lily Fawn     
Sunday, May 6    
9:00 am - 1:00 pm  
Join Herbalist and teacher, Lily Fawn, for a medicinal herb walk and wild edible adventure in the Gardens at HCP. Wild plants are a nutritious tasty way to increase your health and reduce your grocery bill. This class will teach you about edible, medicinal weeds that grow all around us. You will learn how to identify, harvest and several different ways to prepare them into meals. Take home recipes and enjoy a wild edible lunch prepared during class. 
HCP Members $50
Non-Members $55
To register, call 250 479 6162

Willow Frame Tray Workshop
with   Joan Carrigan   
Sunday, May 27th  
9:30 am - 4:30 pm  
This woven tray or platter utilizes willow for the frame and willow bark for the weaving. Prepared willow frames will be available for the class, yet each participant will learn the process of making one which they can keep for future use. Dyed cane will be used for the spokes which are attached to the frame at one end. Design and weaving variations will be presented.

Please add your name to the interest list if the class is full. If we have enough interest we may run a second class - Saturday May 26th.
HCP Members $120
Non-Members $140
To register, call 250 479 6162

The Art of Bonsai - Root Cutting Workshop
with   Mark Paterson 
Saturday, May 26th    
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 29 will cover later season and winter care.
HCP Members $60
Non-Members $70
To register, call 250 479 6162

Healthy Soils Series: Selecting Fertilizers & Mulches for the Organic Garden
with Christina Nikolic 
Sunday, May 27th  
10:00 am - 12:00 pm  
From seaweed and manure to leaves and rock dusts, there are plenty of yummy fertilizers to feed to the soil, so it will grow healthy plants. And best of all, many of these are plentiful and cheap or even free. Christina will give an overview of what's out there, where to find it, and what it's good for. She will have samples on hand and can give tips and details on application techniques and dilution rates too. Participants will come away with a full menu of choices for soil care and nutrition.
HCP Members $35
Non-Members $40
To register, call 250 479 6162

Introduction to Garden Design
with Patty Brown 
Mondays 6:30pm - 9:00pm:
May 28, June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 9 & 16
Sunday (Field Trips) 9:30am - 12:00pm:
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 $35
Non-Members $40
To register, call 250 479 6162

Plant Identification and Culture 2018
with Diane Pierce
Apr 14, May 12 and June 16  
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 month we are thinking of getting lots of seeds planted so we can have drifts of annual flowers in our garden this summer. Well, "drifts" may be a slight exaggeration. . . .perhaps we will settle for patches of lovely colours.

On checking our library bookshelves, we note that some of our books on the subject have been around for a few years. One of them is called "Annual Garden," published by Harrowsmith. Even those of us who have been gardening for a while might find this one worth a look. It contains the sort of ideas we may once have known but tend to forget in our enthusiasm for getting started each season. An example would be the suggestion to use lime, sand or white flour to sketch out the areas for each group of plants so that they don't all end up in a muddle.

When we get down to talking about specific plants, there is a section for low to knee-high plants and one for middle-sized to tall plants. And after that we get into vines and climbers. And then, in case we forget how valuable they can be, there are the plants with decorative leaves and the grasses. Just when we think we've covered every consideration, there are plants for bright light and plants for shade. . . . . (Sigh! So many plants, so little time!)

This book isn't designed to be a complete list of anything - and, besides, there may be new varieties on the market since the book was published - but it continues to be one of those good down-to-earth collections of useful information. (And novices will be fascinated by plants that go by such names as "poached-egg flower" and "burning bush.")

Happy gardening!

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