March 7th - October 30th
the Gardens will be open
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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June E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Ready for the Summer?
by: Linda Petite
Bouteloua gracilis
'Blonde Ambition' 
Gaura lindheimeri

As gardeners we need to adapt to climate change and grow drought-tolerant plants. We will need to g et used to wet, mild winters and dry, warm summers. There is already a Level 3 drought declared on areas of Vancouver Island in early June - you can read more about that here

I am showcasing two perennials this month that are very drought tolerant once established and are available in our plant sale area.

Bouteloua gracilis  'Blonde Ambition'
  • clump forming ornamental grass
  • drought resistant
  • showy chartreuse flower heads are held horizontally above the leaves - quite unusual!
  • blonde seed heads provide winter interest
  • 3 foot height and spread

Gaura lindheimeri
  • long blooming
  • drought tolerant
  • great cut flower
  • can be planted in beds and containers
  • attracts butterflies
  • clumping perennial 3-4 foot height
  • we propagate it from cuttings and seed


Here are some tips to help you irrigate your garden effectively:
  • irrigate close to the ground to reduce evaporation and water loss to wind
  • water in the morning before heat from the sun begins to evaporate the water
  • evening watering can lead to problems with plant diseases
  • add a good layer of mulch (3-4 inches) to your garden beds - it holds the moisture, cools the plants' roots and suppresses weeds
  • collect rain water and re-purpose used kitchen water instead of letting it go down the drain
  • longer, infrequent waterings encourage healthy deep-rooted plants
  • choose drought-tolerant species and native plants which are adapted to our dry summers
  • during prolonged drought, let your lawn go dormant and turn brown. It will green up again when the rainfall and cooler temperatures return in the fall
  • potted plants tend to dry out more quickly than those in the ground. (In the heat of the summer you may have to water your hanging basket twice a day if it is in full sun.)

Picnic Night - June 29
The May Picnic Night  was a great success. We had a lovely bunch of people out for a beautiful evening in the middle of a rainy week. Thank you to the Victoria Master Gardeners for answering our visitors' questions (they will be back in June). Picnic Nights are admission by donation.

Mosi Bakery will once again be offering boxed lunches that you can pre-order and pick up in the Gardens at HCP. It's a great value, a delicious meal, and a supports a local business!

Featured in the Gift Shop
The gift shop has some great new gems in - have you visited lately? 

One favourite are the striking hanging baskets. Colourful and versatile we experimented by planting succulents. Pictured here, this basket will fill in beautifully by the end of June. On sale for 20% off, come pick yours up today! If you purchase on Saturday June 11th or 18th between 1 and 2 pm, our head gardener will be on hand to show you how to plant your own!

We also want to recommend a must-have resource for growing fruit and veggies - it is the Maritime Northwest Gardening Guide from the Seattle Tilth. This book has easy-to-follow instructions to grow organic food all year round. As far as we know, the HCP gift shop is the only place you can get this in Victoria! 

Lastly, check out these adorable decorations. Made by a local artist these 'twee-houses' would be a great treasure for someone to discover in your garden or flowerpots.

Giles' Jottings

All of a sudden we seem to be in mid-summer. The Rose Allée is as pretty as a picture, all the rose bushes flowering their hearts out in a sumptuous mixture of colours. Just the time to be having a wedding in the gardens. The students have recently done an excellent job installing stone edging all the way down the rose beds; now we can try to keep the soil and gravel separate.

The Hardy beds are showing all the care and thought that go into them. The beds are filled with vigorous plants well furnished with flowers. The red Alstroemerias (as you enter from beside the restaurant) are a delicious colour. Then on your left the Lobelia tupa is coming into bud while Clematis recta 'Purpurea' to your right is covered with white flowers. Clematis of dark purple, white and blue climb through the beds while tall Sambucus 'Black Lace' give a dark accent to a summer garden, their pink flowers somewhat softening the effect.

The Lily Garden is coming into full bloom, giant irises following the Calla lilies and plenty of exotic martagon lilies filling in between. The Bridal beds were given a vigorous clean-out and rejuvenation in the spring and the initial gaps are starting to fill nicely - Gillenia trifoliata currently making a magnificent show of white star-shaped flowers. And the front of the Native Plant garden has a lovely contrast of lilac-coloured Penstemon serrulatus and a yellow daisy-flowered plant of which I'm not actually sure of the name. Perhaps someone can tell me.

The Takata Garden ponds have recently been emptied and cleaned of many years of accumulated sediments and the main bridge has been skillfully cleaned and re-stained, bringing back and retaining its original beauty.

This is the month to be in the garden. Every day brings a change as gems forgotten since last year re-awaken and open their petals.
Arts & Music 2016 - August 6 & 7
We are very excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for Arts & Music this year. We will have 3 stages of local musical talent, food trucks and 50 artists! Members come in for free. Planning is well underway but we still have a few spots left for artists!

The best way to arrive is the Free Shuttle Bus to the Gardens from VI Tech Park.

For the Birds
by Linda Petite
Some of you may have noticed the cute colourful birdhouses at the front entrance.  That 's my attempt to add a splash of colour to catch people's eye as they drive by.  I want to thank volunteer Tim for building them for me.

They make me smile every day.


Lois, Darlene, and Carolyn get top marks this month for having named our May Whatzit correctly: Laurus nobilis, commonly called "Sweet bay tree" or just "Bay tree" or "Bay laurel."  Bev, Susan, Lydia, Elizabeth and Glen referred to it as "Bay laurel."  Of course, they were correct, but the top marks go to the people who also use the fancy Latin name!  (We did like the slogan attached to Glen's submission:  Gardening is life, the rest is just details )
This is a tree with a long history.  Newcomers may be surprised that we are able to grow it here, it being originally a Mediterranean native.  However, assuming the Laurus nobilis isn't planted in a totally exposed location - and that we don't have any sharp frosts during future  winters - it makes a very nice evergreen tree as a year-round screen, as a smaller pruned garden feature . . . or for flavouring.  When checking information about this tree on the internet, it is said to grow to about 25 feet in the UK and up to 60 feet in the Mediterranean area, so it's no shrinking violet! 
See if you can tell us whatzit below?  Send your answer to  enews@hcp.ca

Pacific Horticulture College
Hard to believe, but it's already getting close to summer break for our full-time students! They are about to finish their Soils class, and will present their first Landscape Designs at the end of June. For the first time, our Horticulture Certificate Program includes a Permaculture Course, which will start this month, and we are hoping to make this a regular component of the program. We have never seen a group of students get so excited when we handed out textbooks!

In their Practical Skills class, the students renovated two lawns in the Bonsai Garden, removing the Ranunculus infested old turf, amending and rolling the soil, and laying new sod. They also installed rock edging in the gardens' rose allee. Thanks to Rob DeGros for organizing the rocks and demonstrating the correct installation technique!

College Info Session

If you know anyone looking for a new career path, the College Information Session will be on June 23 at 6 pm.

We are holding on Open House for everyone who is interested in next year's full-time certificate program. If you know anyone who might be looking to start a career in horticulture, feel free to pass along the information! For details see: http://hcp.ca/event/college-information-session/

Youth Programs

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

Junior Master Gardener - Kids Garden Club
This once-a-month group focuses on seasonal hands-on gardening tasks in the Junior Master Gardener plot at HCP.

Join us Saturday, June 11 from 10 am to 12 pm as we plant the HOT WEATHER CROPS in the JMG plots like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and beans. Then help us to harvest peas, artichokes, and early potatoes...some to sample and more to donate to the Food Bank! There is always something great to take home and grow. 

FEE: $5/child, all ages welcome (under 5 accompanied by a parent please)

MATERIALS: Bring along your favourite garden gloves and tools, if you like, and dress for the weather.

Register at the HCP office 250-479-6162

Upcoming Workshops

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

Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent
Sunday, June 12
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.

Members $250.00 per session
Non-Members $275.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

The Nature of the Native Plant Garden
with  Kristen Miskelly
Sunday, June 12
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Back due to popular demand! Many people are interested in environmentally friendly and low maintenance gardens that will attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to their garden. By gardening with native plants, you can bring the beauty of southern Vancouver Island into your own backyard while also providing numerous other benefits.

Kristen Miskelly, biologist and owner of Saanich Native Plants, will provide information on our local ecology, caring for and maintaining a native plant garden, native plant identification, propagation techniques, and benefits of native plants to wildlife.

Special emphasis will be placed on the use of edible, deer-resistant and drought-tolerant species.
Members $45.00 per session
Non-Members $60.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Make your own Hypertufa Pot
with  Heather Goulet
Two Sessions Sundays, June 19 & 26
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Learn the art of making beautiful rock-like containers using the hypertufa technique. Each participant will make a pot during the workshop and take it home with them. Hypertufa allows you to use any interesting bowl or object as a mold for your pot. Once you learn the technique, you will be able to create sculptural containers for your garden at home.
Instructor, gardener and sculptor Heather Goulet will teach you how to measure and mix her own recipe for long lasting tufa pots. Participants can bring a vessel with a shape that they like, for example a plastic or metal bowl to use as a mold. Pots can be decorated with leaf impressions on the outside, embedded pebbles, glass or shell around the rims. On the second day everyone will reveal their pots and trim the edges. Heather will also share some options on how to plant and create your tufa garden pot.
Members $75.00 per session
Non-Members $90.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Converting Lawn to Native Meadow
with Kristen Miskelly
Sunday, June 26
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Back due to popular demand! This workshop will provide practical advice on how to convert conventional lawn to meadow habitat using a variety of techniques. Kristen Miskelly, biologist and owner of Saanich Native Plants, will guide participants through developing a site plan, site preparation, planning materials, and maintenance. Participants will go home with some of the tools needed to embark on their own lawn to meadow restorations. 
Members $45.00 per session
Non-Members $60.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Flower Arranging for your Special Event 
with Eiddwen Thomas
Come and join us for a creative floral experience. Participants will have the opportunity to design and create their own natural arrangements under the expert guidance and instruction of Eiddwen Thomas, local floral designer and flower farmer. This three-part series will feature locally grown flowers, foliage, grasses and ornamentals as much as possible.
These workshops are ideal for those wanting to do their own floral arrangements for weddings or special events. It is a great opportunity to exchange ideas with others who are wanting to do the same. Each workshop can be taken on its own or sign up for all three. All materials are included in the class fee. 

Hand tied bouquet  - July 3rd, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
HCP Members $95
Non Members $110

Large arrangements - August 14th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Members $110
Non-Members $125

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Nutrifying you Larder
with Rhona McAdam
Saturday, July 16
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Learn which varieties are the most nutritious, and how best to prepare and store them for optimum nutrition with Rhona McAdam, local author, poet and holistic nutritionist. Rhona has a Permaculture Design Certificate, a Master's degree in Food Culture & Communication and is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

Over thousands of years of agriculture, we have sought to make our food crops more delicious and productive to grow, but our knowledge of agriculture has outstripped our awareness of food's nutritional content and medicinal values.    

Nowadays, as chronic food-related ailments increase in tandem with consumption of highly processed, artificially flavoured and nutritionally bankrupt foods, it's time to step back and salvage something from our fruits and vegetables. This class will be of interest to both home gardeners and to non-gardening consumers.

Members $40.00 per session
Non-Members $45.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Plant Identification and Culture 2016
with Diane Pierce

Saturday, June 18
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 email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

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


Volunteer Spotlight

Pictured: Betty & Lynn

Betty is the leader of the Cutting Garden - with no formal training or education on flower growing and/or arranging, this is purely a hobby for her.  Prior to retirement 5 years ago she worked for HSBC Bank for 35 years as an IT Project Manager - no way near as enjoyable as volunteering at HCP! She is enjoying the learning process of not only growing the flowers, but increasing her knowledge of gardening from the other very talented volunteers & staff at HCP.  Although Lynn is noted as a lily expert, we are discovering that she loves all plants equally well. In fact, during her time volunteering in the library, her interest in Flora generally was downright inspiring. Not pictured is Puri whose  only previous gardening experience had been looking after her own garden.  She had never done a cut flower garden before and likes the sun, and so decided to try it. She is learning a lot and very much enjoying her time at the HCP.

On your next visit make sure you pick up one of their freshly picked bouquets, available at the front office.
The Bookend
Recently, Ian Back donated a book to our library that may interest gardeners. It's called The Carefree Garden: letting nature play her part by Bill Terry.  Apparently, the author, a lifelong gardener, decided to try and work with nature, rather than against her up on the Sunshine Coast. This book tells of what subsequently transpired. 
We might all benefit from inwardly digesting what Alexander Pope had to say back in the 18th century: "Consult the genius of the place in all...."  So with that advice, plus learning from Bill Terry's experiences in recent times and close to home, we might save ourselves a lot of futile labour. . . and have time to enjoy a lovely garden at the end of the day.