Winter Hours
November 1st - February 28
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Summer Hours
March 1st - October 31st
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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February 2019 E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Hellebore Sunday - March 3   
Linda Petite, Head Gardener 
Hellebores provide life and color to the winter garden.
They are deer resistant, drought and shade tolerant, and a great cut flower.
This year I have several new varieties of singles, doubles and picotees, along with companion plants.
Come early for best selection, and don't forget to tour the Doris Page Winter Garden to enjoy the scents and colours.
Cut! That's a Wrap
by: Deborah Donahue, General Manager
The Gardens were a flurry of activity this week as we had a film crew from Hallmark on site. Writer/Director Mark Jean was here shooting the movie "Flip that Romance". They were also filming at a house in Oak Bay, out at Russell Nursery and will be heading to Sidney to finish up the filming at an undisclosed location.
There were 77 background extras and 7 actors as well as about a hundred crew members here! Of course it was extremely busy, but a very professional group of people that I would be happy to work with again.   
The gardens were transformed into a Home and Garden Show Expo, with the majority of the action happening on the Rotunda around the pond and in the Pavilion, aside of course for the parking lot!
For anyone who came to the Gardens, we apologize for any inconvenience. We would like to give a huge thank-you to Charlotte and the Quail, our neighbors and our volunteers for their flexibility this week.
I look forward to seeing The Gardens on the big screen!
Rhododendron Talk 
The Gardens at HCP presents :
Rhododendron Author Ole Jonny Larsen
" Plant Hunting: Experiences of an Amateur"
Saturday March 16th 2019
Doors open at 5:30pm, Start at 6:00pm (end at 7:00pm)
Enjoy a spring evening in the Gardens and hear Ole Jonny Larsen speak on "Planting Hunting: Experiences of an Amateur".
Tickets are regular $40 or $30 for members of the The Gardens at HCP and  The Victoria Rhododendron Society. HCP/VRS members will need to confirm their membership at the door.
This event is expected to sell out quickly, so please register in advance! Tickets can be purchased by credit card over the phone at (250) 479-6162 or in person at The Gardens at HCP by debit, credit, cheque or cash.
Talk on Climate Change 
The BC Iris Society has extended an invitation to BCIS, and Gardens at HCP members, and local Garden Clubs to a talk by Dr. Richard Hebda, BC Iris Society President, Curator Emeritus, Royal BC Museum and Climate adaptation expert.
Saturday March 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm at the Gardens at HCP in the Couvelier Pavilion, following the BC Iris Society AGM. 
British Columbia's c limate is changing rapidly with warming winter temperatures, summer droughts and a longer growing season. Learn    
strategies and techniques to adapt your garden to future and keep it beautiful. Discover the roles that remarkably diverse irises can play in our future climate
change gardens. It's time to start transforming our gardens.  
No admission charge for BC Iris Society and Gardens at HCP Members.
A delicious lunch is available by pre-order for $12 - please confirm to by Monday March 11.
Volunteering at the Gardens at HCP  
New volunteers are always welcome at the HCP. Although most folks gravitate towards the garden, we also have opportunities for those who prefer the comfort of a desk. Our front office volunteers are invaluable. We have up to 14 volunteers helping us to welcome visitors to the Gardens. This important job has many facets, including signing up new members, course registrations, helping in the gift shop and assisting staff with specific projects. Right now, we have volunteer positions open for Friday afternoons (1pm - 4pm) and Saturday afternoons (1pm - 4pm). Sundays are also a possibility. Applicants for this position need to be comfortable using a computer and enjoy customer service. Training is provided.  
If gardening is more your thing, then we have several interesting positions available, including the Japanese Garden and Native Plant Garden. We also have a new garden group starting in April. This group will take care of the Farm Garden under the direction of the Head Gardener. Produce from this garden is shared among volunteers and also with local food banks. Volunteers in this Garden should be available on most Saturdays (9am - 12pm) from April to September.  
Sometimes we have opportunities for volunteers with specialized skills. For example our oral history project. We could use the expertise of someone who has experience editing sound files, in particular recorded interviews. If you have the software, experience and can spare a few hours per month, we would love to hear from you.
We would also love to hear from people who have experience or enjoy working with children or youth.  We are building a team of volunteers to assist with our Youth Programs coordinator with school tours.  
If you are interested in any of these positions or want more information, please send an email to our volunteer coordinator, Cheri Le Brun - We would love to welcome you as a volunteer.
Earth Day in the Gardens  
What better place to celebrate the planet we call home than in a garden?

Meet and interact with earth-minded community groups, nonprofit organizations, green businesses and more at this "enviro expo for all things eco!" Admission is free and includes access to our nine acres of demonstration gardens to inspire you, as well as interactive children's activities to engage the next generation of environmental stewards.

Parking is complimentary but limited; please carpool or use alternative transportation if possible! If the lot is full, we ask that you respect our residential neighbours by using the overflow angle parking along Quayle Rd.

Interested in having a booth for your organization? We'd love to have you! Please email with "Earth Day" in the subject line and some information about what you'd like to showcase.
Arts & Music in the Gardens 
Call for Vendors 
Giles' Jottings    
Primula 'Wanda'
This time of year is hardly the most appealing for walking around the gardens, especially when accompanied by rain and a cold wind. But the plants themselves have their own natural rhythms and already there are some early signs of spring.

Primulas are a genus of plants that are generally cold hardy and tolerate our damp conditions; indeed the name primula comes from the latin word for first ( primus), indicating their tendency to be some of the first flowers of the year to bloom. And in the Winter Garden already one of the oldest and toughest varieties, Primula 'Wanda', is putting out its purple flowers.

Stinking Hellebore
  Not far away winter aconites ( Eranthis hyemalis) are brightening the beds with their low-lying vivid yellow flowers. This is a plant that evolved in deciduous woodland environments. Flowering early to make the most of the available sunlight before the emerging tree canopy hides it away, they will soon disappear back underground, living the rest of their year in the dark as a tuber. As members of the buttercup family ( Ranunculaceae) winter aconites are notoriously poisonous and they share this characteristic with another genus in that same family, the much-loved early flowering hellebores. The tall green-flowered Stinking Hellebore or Bear's Foot ( Helleborus foetidus) lives up to its name with its pungent foliage but perhaps more appealing are the compact Lenten or Winter Roses ( Helleborus spp. ) of which the Doris Page Garden has so many fine examples. On the south-facing slope of the upper beds there is a planting of Hellebore Honeyhill Joy
Helleborus 'Honeyhill Joy' and Ilex aquifolium 'Crinkle'
( Helleborus x nigercors 'Honeyhill Joy' ) that is currently looking quite beautiful. With their dark blue-tinged leaves and cream-yellow flowers they make a perfect complement to thevariegated holly ( Ilex aquifolium 'Crinkle') beside which they are growing.

And if by chance you are looking for something to help counteract the malodorous stinking hellebore, there is nearby a most sweet-smelling sarcococca (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) in flower.
Bottle Depot 
One more way to support The Gardens! We have an account at the Bottle Depot!
Our account name is: The Gardens at HCP
How to donate on this account :
The Gardens at HCP
Please advise the cashiers at the beginning of the transaction that you would like to donate the bottles onto our account. Please note: Your friends / family / co-workers etc who will be donating to this account must only reference this account by account name and not by any account numbers that may be found on some of the account transaction receipts. Each depot will have a different account number for your account. 
You can donate at any of the Bottle Depot Branches: 4261 Glanford Ave, 655 Queens Ave, 3961 Quadra St
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.    
'Picture of the Month'
This month's 'Picture of the Month' comes from another staff member, Dana. 'My kids have grown up for the past four years playing in the Gardens. They love looking for frogs in the garden, playing in the playhouse, and looking for fairies in the flowers. They never forget to find Albert to give him a pet. This is a place where people of all ages can escape and let their minds wander.' 
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
Welcome to the PHC Class of 2019! Twenty wonderful new students started their studies here in mid-January, eager to start their journey into the world of horticulture. To start the program off, they are learning about Botany, Communication and Supervision and Pruning, as well as Plant ID and their Practical Skills component.
Additionally, PHC is offering Part-Time Level 1 Apprenticeship training starting in August 2019. This program allows you to pursue Horticulture training while also working full-time. For more information on this program, please see our website here.   
Coming up:
Part-Time Level 1 Apprenticeship Training (August 2019 to December 2019)
        ·          Application deadline is July 2019
Pesticide Applicator Certificate Course (Landscape General Category)
·           March 20 and 27, exam on the 29
·          Call HCP at 250-479-6162 to register
For more information on our programs, please contact Pacific Horticulture College at or call  250-479-6162 .
Youth Programs
Upcoming Workshops
Call to Register for Programs: 250-479-6162
Kid's Garden Club
Once a month we meet for seasonal gardening activities in our very own Junior Master Gardener 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.
Club Dates: 9:30 am - 11:30 am (Saturdays 2019- March 2, April 6, May 4, June 1, Sept 7, Oct 5, Nov 2, Dec 7)
Cost: $10/2 hr session
Ages: All ages welcome! Children under 5 need to be with a supervising/participating adult
For further information, please contact: 
Call to register: 250-479-6162
Gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Learn about the needs of plants for these indoor mini gardens. What better place to grow them than in an upcycled glass container. Bring along a glass bowl, vase, jar or other container and see what you can create for your room. (Containers up to 20 cm in size).  
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019   
Time: 9:30 am - 11:00 am 
Ages: 6+ years 
Fee:  $15/child
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle! In our zero waste workshop we explore different ways we can make a positive impact on our environment in our everyday lives! Through different crafts such as beeswax reusable food wrap, recycled paper gift cards and T-Shirt tote bags we turn old into new and learn about how small changes can make a big difference in the world around us!
Date : Saturday February 23, 2019
Time : 1:00 pm -3:00 pm
Ages : 5+ Years
Fee : $20/child
Pro-D Day Camp
February 15th   
February is a good time to get started with our food garden. Let's explore the garden tasks (both inside and out)
to help us grow our best food crops while reusing and recycling what we have. Learn to make your own pots, make an easy garden with yard and household waste, and take home seeds and upcycled creations to use. This day will be filled with seed starting, planting, and creating, with a mindfulness to our environment.
Times: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Cost: $38/child
Ages: 5 ½ years - 12 years
Registration: register at HCP office (250-479-6162)
  Learn about seeds, how they grow and what they need to become healthy thriving plants. We will be planting up trays of seeds for the JMG gardens as well as take home, so bring along your garden gloves. Don't forget about planning for our native pollinators too! They need flowers to keep them happy and we will include flowers along with our vegetable and herb seeds.
Saturday, Mar 02, 2019   
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm 
Ages: 5 + years 
Fee:  $15/child
Upcoming Workshops

Pruning Ornamental Plants   
with Patty Brown 
Gain an understanding of how and why plants respond to pruning. This workshop 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.
Monday, February 25 - 6:30 - 9:00 pm  
Wednesday, February 27 - 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Saturday, March 2 - 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
HCP Members $95
Non Members $115
To register call: 250-479-6162 
The Backyard Orchard Workshop   
with Ryan Senechal 
This workshop is for those serious about cultivating fruit and nuts in an urban space. Ryan Senechal will cover: selection of cultivars, planting, staking & training, soil, nutrients & watering, pruning, plant health & cultural controls, grafting & propagation. The focus will be on apple, cherry, pear, plum, peach, kiwi, Carpathian walnut, butternut, hazelnut, fig, blueberry & raspberry.

Saturdays, March 2 & 9
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
HCP Members $90
Non Members $110
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Mason Bee 101     
with Tom Lahey  
Learn all you need to know to set up your own mason bee home. This workshop will cover all the ways we can promote pollination with the Blue Orchard Mason Bee. We will look at all the different types of bee housing, from paper tubes, cardboard tubes, routed wooden blocks, composite trays, bamboo, drilled blocks and more. We will also touch on other native bees that take over when the mason bee dies.

Sunday, March 3 
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
HCP Members $20
Non Members $25
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Soil Basics for the Home Gardener      
with Christina Nikolic  
What kind of soil do you have in your garden? How can you improve your soil health? If figuring out how to care for your soil seems like a complex and daunting task, then this workshop is for you.
Instructor Christina Nikolic of the Organic Gardener's Pantry will teach you how to determine the soil types and how they function. You will learn about organic matter and living organism in the soil and how these impact plant health. You will also be introduced to safe and simple fertilizers and amendments to improve your soil health. The home gardener will leave with the basic knowledge and resources to make the best of the soil conditions in their own gardens. 

Saturday, March 9th 
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
HCP Members $30
Non Members $35
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Grow Your Own Cut Flowers    
with Eiddwen Thomas 
There are lots of great reasons for having your own cutting garden including the reward, the scent, the beauty, nurturing our environment, bringing loveliness into our homes, giving joy to others, growing for a special occasion, participating in the local flower movement, being outdoors and getting some great exercise. This three hour course is for the recreational grower. It will include useful information and handouts on how to start and maintain a cutting garden over the growing season. We will discuss soil preparation, seed starting and care of seedlings, planting out, watering, dividing and growing dahlias, a list of top 10 things to grow including sweet peas, an overview of things we can cut in the early spring, mid, late spring and summer as well as how to ensure the best vase life. Eiddwen Thomas, Cartref Gardens is a farmer/florist in North Saanich. She has grown flowers commercially for 16 years on less than an acre and is passionate about growing for cutting.

Saturday, March 23 
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
HCP Members $40
Non Members $45
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Advanced Pruning Workshop   
with Ryan Senechal  
If you are a hands-on gardener hesitant to prune small trees and shrubs for fear of injuring or undesirably altering the appearance, this course with certified arborist Ryan Senechal is designed to give you the skill you need. In 2 sessions, basic pruning techniques will be reviewed and applied to advanced pruning strategies to encourage desirable structure, reduced maintenance & long term plant health. Your confidence and comfort will grow as you observe and practice field examples of pruning successes and common mistakes. This course will be outside, please dress accordingly and bring your secateurs. All other equipment will be supplied. Class size will be limited to ensure individual instruction. 

Sundays, March 24 & 31st 
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
HCP Members $90
Non Members $110
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent
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.
Saturday, March 30th 
9:00 am - 5 pm
HCP Members $250
Non Members $275
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Cannabis Basics for the Home Grower 
with Jo Wyld 
Learn the basics of growing Cannabis for personal use with college instructor, Jo Wyld. This workshop will cover cannabis species and strains, how cannabis is used, starting from seed or clone, considerations and methods for growing outdoors or indoors, common pests and disease, harvesting and relevant legislation. Each participant will receive seeds to take home and try.

Sunday, April 7th 
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
HCP Members $60
Non Members $65 
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Plant Identification and Culture 2019
with Diane Pierce
  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.
Jan 26, Feb 16 and March 16
1:00 - 4:00 pm
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
It's nearly planting time!  Some of us have been known to "jump the gun" with a bit of seeding in the privacy of our homes. Oldtimers know to use caution; newtimers are advised to make good use of oldtimers' advice! While the weather is still a bit chilly and the sun still low, however, we might also suggest having a look around for books on the subject.
They can be found under more categories than just "propagation." For instance, there's a book in our library  called "Seeds of Woody Plants in North America" that might inspire you to start a small forest. . .  or at least to start replacing some of the trees being lost these days to houses and bike lanes!
Or, if you are more interested in food than in forests, the National Research Council of Canada has put out an excellent publication called simply "Vegetables of Canada." There aren't any fancy pictures in this one - just facts!  On the shelf beside it is a much slimmer book: "The Victorian Kitchen Garden." This one has some coloured pictures - should you happen to crave a bit of colour - but it also has charming drawings.  This would interest history buffs particularly. 
Farther down on the same shelf may be found the "12-month Gardener." (This one would possibly be viewed with horror by those who think the usual gardening season is quite long enough!)  And further along - for the really hardy types - there is "Winter Gardening."
As there is a growing concern about the cost of food, as well as concern about our environments, anyone with a bit of yard or access to a garden plot is well advised to avail themselves of every snippet of information they can get.. . . and the Horticulture Centre is here to help you!
The Gardens at HCP library is open:
9 am - 1 pm on Wednesdays
10 am - 1 pm on Saturdays
For more information please contact