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

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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August E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Arts & Music in the Gardens 
August 25th & 26th 

Our annual Arts & Music in the Gardens festival is a highlight for many locals' summer calendars. Our 9 acres of demonstration gardens are in their late summer glory and the quiet sounds of birds and wind is replaced with talented local musicians, visitors meeting artists, and friends spending the day together.

Field parking is back this year. Located on Beaver Road, you will be able park easily and walk a convenient 2 minutes to the gates of the Gardens. Admission is only $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Children under 16 are free.

The best deal for admission is with a membership, skip the lines if you purchase or renew your membership in advance, online or at the Gardens.  As a member, you will be able to access the Gardens all year 'round! Starting at $40 this is an affordable way to enjoy the Gardens with discounts on plant sales, gift shop and community education. Please note, the guest passes that you receive with your membership are NOT valid for admission into Arts & Music in the Gardens.

For a list of artists and other vendors participating in our 2018 festival please visit our website by clicking here.
Partnership Spotlight 
The Gardens at HCP and the Victoria Rhododendron Society have had an ongoing partnership since the 1985 creation of the HCP Rhododendron Garden. VicRhodo members totally renovated the garden over a 4 year period from 1995 to 1999. A dedicated crew of Wednesday volunteers continues to care for the garden and the VRS continues to provide a grant each year for the upkeep.  
The Rhodo Association meets in the Couvelier Pavilion on the first Monday of each month, at 7pm, September to May. Website:
Membership costs with the VRS are: Full ARS - $35, Friend (Local) - $25, Associate - $10. For more information on the different classes of membership, please go to the VRS Membership page to see all their membership benefits or contact them by email at:
Because of our partnership, we will reduce your HCP membership fee by 25% if you provide us with a current VRS Membership card when taking out a new or renewing your existing HCP Membership.
The Drought Tolerant Garden 
The Drought Tolerant Garden is a work in progress. Stewardship of this garden was assumed by Delphia Scratchley, partnered with her husband John. The rejuvenation of these garden beds began on May 21st of this year. Since that time, self-seeded and unwanted plants have been removed along with the weeds in all garden beds and pathways. New plants have been introduced over the past two months and have become well established, in spite of the warm weather this time of year, thanks to regular watering and fertilizing. In autumn, several new plants will be added once the cooler weather arrives. Gravel will be added to pathways and beds as required.
All drought tolerant plants require watering, even the well established ones. As new plants will continue to be added over time, watering is an important issue.
The aim of this particular garden is to acquire a variety of plants that can withstand the warm, hot weather and survive our cooler, damp winter months. Research is underway and drought tolerant seeds have been ordered to try and accomplish this.
Cuttings have been taken and will be potted on over time before being introduced into the garden beds.

Summer Students 
Maja Rongstock
Maja is 18 years old and has just graduated from school in Germany this June. Before going to university, she had wanted to travel abroad for a short time and chose to come to Victoria. Maja will be volunteering at the HCP for a few months as she enjoys her time in Victoria. She loves gardening and hopes she can be a great help to all of the gardeners at the HCP.
Carly Jederman
Originally from Langley, Carly has called Victoria her home for the past 3 years. Carly is entering into her fourth year at the University of Victoria in the Faculty of Education, where she is pursuing a career as an elementary school teacher. She has a background in gardening from both working in a greenhouse and helping her mother in her garden for many years. Carly is joining the gardens at HCP as one of our summer students this year. She will be working with the youth programs and junior master gardener camps throughout the summer. She is very excited to be joining the HCP team!
Laura Bull
Following in her sister Julie's footsteps, Laura is joining the gardens as one of our summer students. She will be helping Megan and Cheri with events throughout the summer and helping with the organization of Arts and Music. Laura has grown up on a farm and has just recently graduated from St. Andrews Regional High School. She will be attending Camosun College's business program this fall and plans to eventually attend law school. She is excited to help with the events at the HCP, learn about the gardens, and get to know all of the staff.    
Callum Lewis
Callum was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He has just recently moved to Victoria in the summer of 2016. Callum now attends Claremont High School and will be going into grade 11 this fall. He has a passion for rowing and rows for Claremont's CSI team. Callum will be Linda' s assistant this summer and will be helping her and all of the gardeners at the HCP.

Empress Fig Heritage Tree
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
In 1914 a Ficus carica (Common Fig) was planted at the corner of Douglas and Humboldt streets.
In 1981 it was designated a Heritage Tree for its outstanding size and heavy fruit set.
In 1986 - by then the largest fig tree in Canada - it was transported to the gardens at HCP to make way for the construction of the Victoria Convention Center.
While the transplant was successful, the tree went into decline. Fortunately, however, cuttings were taken and rooted successfully. We now have one growing on the south side of the library cottage.
To this day we continue to propagate plants from the "Empress Fig" and we will have them available in our Plant Sale area during the Arts and Music weekend (August 25-26). Take home a piece of history (along with a heritage tree certificate) and grow an offspring of the largest Fig tree in Canada!
Note: There is limited availability, so come early for best selection.

Giles' Jottings    
Many thanks to everyone who responded to us over the issue of deer and how to keep them out of the gardens. We are currently putting considerable effort into improving our fences, using many of your suggestions in the process.

While the hot dry weather continues we are kept busy with the irrigation, checking that zones are running, mending the odd leak and watching over especially vulnerable and sensitive plants.

But the garden rewards us for our attentions, continuing to provide growth and colour as the weeks pass. There are now hydrangeas in pinks and blues and white, crocosmias from yellow to scarlet, day lilies ( Hemerocallis), Joe Pye Weed  Eupatorium) and Leycesteria.

The Bridal Bed below the Gathering Place is fulfilling its seasonal role, providing a wonderful white backdrop to summer weddings. The combination o f  Gaura, Phlox 'David' and Veronicastrum at the moment is generating billowing clouds of bloom.

And the Bupleurum ( B. fruticosum) is at last beginning to  flower. At this time of year I don't think there is any plan t that attracts more bees and other insects. The whole bush is a veritable hive of humming.

Late last week Linda and Jano, in a sudden burst of creativity, crafted an attractive entrance display using wood and materials from the garden. Look out for it next time you visit.
Welcome, indeed, to the HCP!
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
We are looking for some old venetian blinds to use as labels for plant sales(white or beige). Please drop off at main office if you have any that could be re-used!
Membership Reminder 
Check out that bright green Gardens at HCP membership card to see if it has expired!

Memberships are a great value and include:
  • Free Admission all year to the Gardens
  • Guest passes and any additional guests for a discounted rate
  • 10% off on plants and purchases in the Gift Shop
  • Discounts on Community Education programs
  • Free Admission into the Arts & Music in the Gardens festival
  • 10% discounts at select plant centres throughout Victoria
  • Free admission to participating gardens in the American Horticultural Society 
  • Our monthly E-Newsletter
Membership at the Gardens at HCP supports youth programming, horticulture student development, supplies, plants for garden improvement, and our volunteers.

You can purchase your membership today by stopping in the office, calling 250-479-6162 or clicking here.    
Call for Youth Artists 
Picnic Nights Are Back 
The Gardens at HCP's summer picnic series is back! Enjoy the magic of the Gardens with cooler temperatures and magical evening light. Admission by donation and live music starts at 5:00pm, with the evening wrapping up at 8:00pm. There are benches throughout the Gardens, but you may prefer to bring your own camp chair or blankets. 

Bring your own picnic or order take-out from Charlotte & The Quail to enjoy. Please note that The Gardens at HCP are not licensed and alcohol is not permitted on the grounds, but our friends at Charlotte & The Quail would be delighted to serve you beer, wine and cider inside the restaurant or on their patio! Reservations strongly encouraged.
'Picture of the Month'
Thank you to Carolyn, our long-time library volunteer for this month's 'Picture of the Month' Submission.
This shot of astilbe was taken in the Takata Japanese Gardens.
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
Back after their summer break, all 19 students are already full swing into their second term and enjoying their classes in Plant Health and summer pruning. We heard from several students that they missed being out of school and couldn't wait to come back!  In August, students will continue with Plant Health and start the Introduction to Permaculture course. They will also begin their residential landscape design project at the end of August. Keep an eye on the HCP News website for ongoing blog posts from our students.
Applications continue to arrive for the 2019 program - the program is now more than half full! College staff are busy interviewing candidates for the program and meeting future horticulturalists. If you know anyone who is interested in the 2019 horticulture program, please contact us at
Coming up:
Pesticide Applicator Certificate Course (Landscape General Category)
·           August 13th & 20th, exam on the 24th
·          Please call HCP to register at 250-479-6162   
2019 Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program Information Session  
on Monday, September 24th from 6 - 7 pm
  Interested to learn more about the horticulture program? Come to our information session, and also meet instructors and past students.
Full-Time Level 3 Apprenticeship Training (November 19, 2018 to January 11, 2019)
·          Application deadline is November 5, 2018.
Full-Time Level 4 Apprenticeship Training (November 19, 2018 to January 11, 2019)
·          Application deadline is November 5, 2018
For more information on our programs, please contact PHC at or call  250-479-6162 .
Youth Programs
Upcoming Workshops
Call to Register for Programs: 250-479-6162
J oin us on these Tuesdays for ... STORIES IN THE SHADE & NATURE AROUND US!   
STORIES IN THE SHADE is a bi-weekly story time design ed around a theme that explores subjects such as gardens, bugs, and nature through stories and related crafts. Children under 5 years must be accompanied by an adult.
Date Tuesday, August 14
10:00 am - 10:45 am      
Cost: $5/child, free admission for an accompanying adult                   
Ages:2+ years (designed for younger children, however, siblings are welcome)
NATURE AROUND US is a Walk & Talk session 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.
Date Tuesday, August 14
Time: 11:00 am - 11:45 am
Cost: $5/child, free admission for an accompanying adult      
Ages: 5+ years (designed for older children, however, younger siblings are welcome)
Please reserve your spot for both of these programs by calling the Office at HCP 250-479-6162              
Cost: $15/person       Ages: 6+ 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 brewing. We will finish by packaging up our own sample tea to take home.
Date: Tuesday, August 14     Time:   1:00 pm - 3:00 pm    Cost:  $15/person     Ages:  6+ years

Upcoming Workshops

Kombucha Workshop
with Kristy &  Mark Mackenzie-Moore
Saturday, September 1st    
10:00 am - 12:30 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

Herbs for the Immune System
with Lily Fawn 
Saturday, September 8th   
10:00 am - 1:00 pm  
In this workshop with Lily Fawn, you will learn about herbal health for the winter season.  Learn to make tinctures, salves, lozenges and pills that you may take home and use throughout the winter season.  Expert Lily Fawn will teach you about your body's needs and how the nature we are surrounded by can fulfill them.  
HCP Members $50
Non-Members $55
To register, call 250 479 6162

Creating a Cut Flower Garden Workshop - Fall
with Eiddwen Thomas
Sunday, September 9th  
9:00 am - 12:00 pm  
This Fall 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. Learn about beautiful flowers, grasses, herbs, and foliage you can use in the fall for cutting and making into your own gorgeous fall arrangement with Eiddwen Thomas of Cartref Gardens. Find out about fall clean up and soil preparation for next year. Learn what bulbs and plants you can plant now for colour in your garden in the spring, such as tulips, narcissus, and other gorgeous spring bulbs.  
Subsequent workshop dates coming soon!
Members $55/Non Members - $60 - per class
Members $180/Non Members $220 - for 4 part series
To register, call 250 479 6162

Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent 
Sunday, September 9th   
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

Houseplant Care 101
with Sarah Scott  
Saturday, September 23rd    
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm  
This crash course on houseplant care will get you one step closer to an indoor jungle! Learn how to care for various tropicals, succulents and tillandsias, how to choose the right plant, proper watering techniques, soil health, repotting, fertilizing, plant stress and pests, troubleshooting and more! This engaging, hands-on workshop will leave you feeling confident and competent. Attendees will get a copy of Houseplants 101- Your Plants Will Love You e-guide and choose a succulent to pot and take home! Bring a notebook and your questions!
HCP Members $55
Non-Members $60
To register, call 250 479 6162

Gathering Basket
with Joan Carrigan 
Saturday, September 29th   
9:30 pm - 4:30 pm  
Learn to create a very sturdy rectangular splint woven basket with a wood handle. It has an attractive check weave pattern and is a basket ready to be put to use. Great for shopping, garden produce, garden tools, storage etc. This course is perfect for beginners. Please bring a pair of sharp sturdy scissors, measuring tape, 10-12 clothes pins, an old towel, a knife for carving, and a ruler.
HCP Members $120
Non-Members $140
To register, call 250 479 6162

The Art of Bonsai
with Mark Paterson 
Saturday, September 29th   
9:00 pm - 12:00 pm  
Come and learn the art of bonsai with Mark Paterson, President of the Vancouver Island Bonsai Society. This is the third section of a three part series that may be taken independently. With Mark`s expert instruction, you will learn to maintain and care for your bonsai throughout the winter season. Bonsai, like most plants, can use a little extra love and care late in the year. You will learn to trim and refine your bonsai while learning about specific winter care requirements. If you need to re-pot your tree, we may do that as well. Please bring your own bonsai or suitable small shrub.
HCP Members $35
Non-Members $45
To register, call 250 479 6162

Plant Identification and Culture 2018
with Diane Pierce
August 18, September 15 and October 20th  
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
Since we seem to be using so many plants from countries like Australia and New Zealand in our gardens these days, it seems about time that we had a closer look at plants from south of the equator generally. That thought led us to "The Looking-Glass Garden - Plants and Gardens of the Southern Hemisphere." Author Peter Thompson observed that people who first settled south of the equator - such as in South Africa - tended to ignore the local plants and considered a "proper" garden to be composed of plants from their own places of origin - in a sense "looking glass" gardens. Nowadays we are likely to be more adventuresome when choosing plants for our gardens.
The variety of plant life in the Southern Hemisphere is quite mindboggling and, for plant lovers, it can be both exhilarating and challenging. But let's stop to consider that conditions here in our area - such as rainfall, elevations and prevailing winds - may match conditions in, say, an area in New Zealand. It may follow, then, that we can most likely grow the same things that New Zealanders do in that similar area.
Referring to a garden he visited in Washington State, Peter Thompson wrote: "The prevailing moist atmosphere and relatively mild winters have affinities with conditions in southern Chile, New Zealand and western Tasmania, and many of the plants chosen for the garden grow naturally in those places."
Although "The Looking-Glass Garden" is a wonderful way to get acquainted with plants of all sorts that we might not otherwise get to know, our library at HCP also contains some very good reference books. It sometimes pays - make that it ALWAYS pays - to look up an unfamiliar plant in such book as DK reference book called simply "Plant," the good old "A - Z Encyclopedia," or the two-volume "Botanical Garden."
And then there are the books written by gardeners who know their plants better than most of us know our relatives. Christopher Lloyd comes to mind, but there are many other writers/gardeners from whose trials and triumphs we may benefit. It is said that we can learn from our mistakes, but it seems so much less expensive to benefit from the mistakes of others!