November 1st - March 31st 
the Gardens will be open
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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January E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Saanich Seedy Saturday
January 14th  from  10 AM - 2 PM

We are just a few days away from our second Saanich Seedy SaturdayPresented by Haliburton Farms, with support from the Gardens at HCP and the Municipality of Saanich, we will be hosting 31 vendors. Lori Weidenhammer will be presenting a wonderful talk - at 11 am and 1 pm - about attracting bumblebees to your garden. Her excellent book, "'Victory Gardens for Bees,"' is available in the HCP gift shop. Perhaps she can sign a copy for your collection. There will be seeds, farm fresh produce, mason bees, community groups and local seedy advocates.
The event starts at 10 am and runs until 2 pm. Admission is $5, which includes an opportunity to explore the gardens. Charlotte & the Quail will be open with delicious nibbles and a cup of hot tea for you. 

We Need Your Leadership and Experience!
HCP Board Volunteers Wanted

The HCP board is looking for vibrant, enthusiastic and experienced people to join our board in a variety of positions. The HCP board provides leadership and guides the strategic direction of the HCP on behalf of its members.
If you are considering volunteering as a board member, please contact Larry Philips or Anne Kadwell to further discuss how you could contribute to a board that is growing to make a difference!

Anne Kadwell: director@hcp.ca
2017 Perennial of the Year
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
Asclepias tuberosa
(Butterfly Weed) is the perennial of the year!
I contacted the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Executive Director Steven Still to find out about the selection process. Nominations are based on the following criteria:
  • suitable for a range of climatic conditions
  • low maintenance
  • relative pest and disease resistant
  • readily available in the year of promotion
  • multiple season of ornamental interest
In addition to their vote, each member may nominate 2 plants for future consideration.  A committee reviews the nominated perennials (more than 400 nominated in 2014) and selects 3 to 4 plants to be placed on the ballot.
Asclepias tuberosa:
  • a North American native wildflower
  • full sun and well-drained soil
  • easily grown from seed (does not transplant well because of its deep taproot)
  • a bee and butterfly magnet
  • 2 ft. height and spread 
  • orange flowers all summer
  • unique seed pods valued for flower arrangements
  • tolerates deer, drought and infertile soil
 We will have Butterfly Weed available at our spring plant sale in April for you to take home.
 Perennial Plant Association website:  www.perennialplant.org

Volunteer & Job Opportunities at the Gardens at HCP


We are recruiting garden volunteers for 2017 and we have some rare and exciting opportunities available. We have volunteer vacancies in the Veggie Garden, Rhodo Garden, Propagation Group, Japanese Garden and Ethnobotany Trail to name a few.

If you have a keen interest in Japanese Gardens and good people skills, you may be interested in becoming a Lead Steward volunteer for the Takata Japanese Garden. The Lead Steward organizes work for the volunteer group on Wednesday mornings and consults with the Head Gardener to maintain and develop the garden.

Garden volunteers work on Wednesdays from 9 am until noon. There are a few openings for Saturday volunteers from 9 am until noon working with the head gardener, Linda Petite. If a weekly commitment is too much for you, then consider volunteering at events, in particular Arts and Music in the Gardens in August. 

No special skills are required to volunteer in the Gardens except a positive attitude and a keen interest in gardening. The benefits of volunteering however are countless. Besides working in a beautiful garden setting, there are opportunities to learn and develop your knowledge of gardening. Volunteering is a very social experience at the HCP and with over 100 garden volunteers, it is a great way to meet new people and become part of a positive and dynamic community.

If you would like more information or to apply to become a volunteer please email Cheri Le Brun, our Volunteer Coordinator - volunteers@hcp.ca


The Gardens at HCP has two positions available right now. We are currently looking for an Office Manager and an Events Coordinator. We are a close, small, busy team who love what we do and love the Gardens.

The  Office Manager is responsible for the effective and efficient operations of the day-to-day operations of the HCP office. He/she will work within a team of staff and volunteers; ensuring sound administrative policies, systems and practices; effectively managing the HCP's infrastructure; and providing excellent visitor services.

The full job description for the Office Manager can be found  here.

The  Event Coordinator is responsible for advising the public about our facilities, meeting the client's needs, as well as the desire to go above and beyond our client's expectations. Day to day responsibilities would include booking of events, securing contracts, completing set up/take down and finding creative ways to bring events/workshops and conferences into the facility.

The full job description for the Event Coordinator can be found  here.

Applications will be accepted until January 13, 2017. Please send a cover letter and résumé to Anne Kadwell at  director@hcp.ca
Winter in the Gardens

With all the snow we saw in December, the Gardens had to be closed. The packed snow created dangerous icy patches all through the pathways. Here is a peek of what the Gardens looked like during that time. Photos: David Peck
Giles' Jottings
Giles is on a 6-month sabbatical at his family farm in the UK. His jottings will bring us to a garden far away.

At this time of year there are few plants in flower but several that are covered in berries, helping the birds get through this cold season. There is a big old Cotoneaster that covers the south-facing wall of one of the stone-built barns here and it is well-covered with red berries.
Holly ( Ilex aquifolium) grows abundantly in this area, but most of the berries have already either been removed for Christmas decorations or been eaten by the birds.  And being a dioecious plant, only half of the trees, the female ones, will produce berries at all.
Another good source of winter food for birds is Ivy ( Hedera helix). Working at the HCP, I have become aware that in BC this plant is considered only as an invasive pest. Parties of volunteers constantly tear it out, reviling it for its creeping, climbing, strangling nature.  And fair enough, it is definitely a foreigner.

But here in its homeland, English Ivy is much loved. It covers walls, infiltrates hedges, engulfs trees and establishes itself in many different environments. When it comes to buildings, it certainly needs keeping under control; it can lift roof tiles, tear off gutters and insinuate itself between building bricks, breaking down house walls if permitted. But it has a very long history in the landscape and whole trees, although strangled, can be spectacularly replaced by a surrounding shell of ivy.
Ivy supports wildlife in many ways - the flowers providing nectar for insects, the berries feeding many varieties of birds, and the dense foliage creating shelter for small creatures and forage for deer. It is even sometimes recommended as an insulating layer for buildings, keeping structures cool in summer and warm in winter and maintaining a dry soil at its base to reduce rising damp in vulnerable walls.

Its unpopularity in BC is amply made up for by its proud reputation in Britain.

We suspect that not many people realize that some camellia varieties bloom in early winter in our part of the world. Patricia and Carolyn recognized the Whatzit as a camellia - though didn't attempt to give it a name.  Everyone else was flummoxed! The camellia in last November's eNews is appropriately named "Winters." We thought you might like to see this picture of a C. "Winters" in full bloom on the Saanich Peninsula in the middle of November:

See if you can tell us whatzit below?  Send your answer to  enews@hcp.ca

Pacific Horticulture College
For more information on registration please call the office 250-479-6162 or e-mail collegeadmin@hcp.ca.
Graduating Class 2016

Our full-time students graduated from the Landscape Horticulture Certificate program on November 18 - congratulations to Sheila Boire, Emily Drolet, Rosannah Gloor, Michelle Gormley, Lucas Provençal, Kieran Rinald, Kayla Sorley, Amanda Tanuis, and Ed Wang!


Upcoming college courses and events:
Pesticide Applicator Course and Exam (Landscape General Category):
Our next Pesticide Applicator Course will run in April - please check the college website for details, dates will be announced as soon as the courses have been scheduled.

Part-Time Level 3 Landscape Horticulture Apprentice Training Program starts on February 7th and goes until mid August. This course will take  Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6-9 with some Saturdays. Please contact Reggie at collegeadmin@hcp.ca if you are interested.

Youth Programs

To Register: Call 250 479 6162 or email youthprograms@hcp.ca

Upcoming Programs

Our special Family Event will be held on Saturday, February 11, from 10 am - 2 pm.

Family Day is observed to celebrate the importance of families and family life. Come and share the Gardens at HCP Saturday, February 11 for our special family event. There will be family friendly activities planned between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. These will be free with your donation for admission plus a contribution of a non-perishable food item to help another family. Participate in a habitat exploration hike, take a bird walk, learn about endangered species in the area, plant a seed, make a puppet and more! Dress for the weather and enjoy the many seasonal delights of our Winter Gardens. 


Once a month the JMG Kids Garden Club meets 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.

CLUB DATES: Saturdays from 9:45 am - 11:45 am on March 4, April 1, May 6, 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 youthprograms@hcp.ca if you have any questions.
Upcoming Workshops

To Register: Call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca

Wicker Basket with a Wood Base Workshop
with Joan Carrigan 
Sunday, January 22nd
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Explore the sculptural design possibilities of the Wicker Basketry technique when starting with a wood base. Bases will be provided along with dyed round reed and a selection of natural materials to incorporate into this sculptural basket. In the process of weaving this basket, participants will learn control of shaping as well as a variety of weaving patterns. 

The rich variety of colour and design options makes for a fun and creative experience. Suitable for all levels of experience - including beginner.

Members $120 per session
Non-Members $140 per session
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent
Sunday, January 29th 
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.

Pruning Ornamental Plants
with Patty Brown
Wednesday February 20, 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Friday, February 22, 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Saturday, February 25th, 9:00 - am - 12:00 pm

  An understanding of how and why plants respond to pruning 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.

Members $95 
Non-Members $115.00 
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Backyard Orchard Workshop
with Ryan Senechal
Saturdays, March 4 & 11
9:00 am - 12:00 pm 
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.

Members $90
Non-Members $110

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

Compost Tea for the Garden Workshop
with Christina Nikolic
Sunday, March 5th
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. 

Members: $25
Non-Members: $30

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

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
January 21st & February 18th
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.

To Register for classes call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca

The Bookend
The HCP Library has just been the recipient of a new landscaping book - "Private Landscapes - Creating Form, Vistas and Mystery in the Garden" by Caroline Seebohm and Christopher Simon Sykes.
Most of the gardens illustrated and described aren't exactly your typical urban back yard or even your suburban acreage. However, books of this sort can stir the imagination so that the reader can then transpose some of the ideas being described into more modest surroundings.
Not that small gardens aren't mentioned in this book. There's one shown in London that started off as an 80 X 40-foot "backyard of rubble" and has ended up as a lovely leafy retreat. Another one with a "Japanese theme" might be of interest as well.
Now is the time of the year to do your dreaming and researching. Before long, there will be no time to browse as "the time of the singing of birds" will have come and the sound of spades will be heard in the land (to misquote an ancient scribe).