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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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June E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Partnership Spotlight 
On Sunday, May 6, 2018, the Horticulture Center of the Pacific held its inaugural "Keep the Flowers Blooming" event.  It was held in the Couvelier Pavilion and included a tour of our beautiful Gardens.
The purpose of this function was to thank supporters of the HCP and to introduce our magnificent facility to lovers of all things botanical.
The program started at noon with wine and a light lunch and was followed by: An overview of the HCP by our Board Chair, Larry Phillips; a story about the "Incredible Bees", (without whom our flowers would not bloom) by Nairn Hollett of the CRD Bee Keepers Association; live entertainment by Daniel Lapp and his entourage of young fiddlers; and ended with a tour of the Gardens.
Our sincere thanks to the following sponsors for partnering with us and thus providing us with the ability to create this wonderful afternoon.
 *Toque Catering *Haliburton Farms *De Vine Winery
*Charlotte & the Quail *Country Grocer   
We would also like to extend our gratitude to the Chwyls, both Ed and Mary, without whose efforts this event may not have happened and certainly wouldn't have tasted so good! Mary, you were amazing, preparing all of your fantastic desserts! Thank you from all of us at the HCP!
Arts & Music in the Gardens  
Vendors and Volunteers Needed!
This August the Gardens at HCP will host the 24th annual Arts and Music in the Gardens festival . The event will be have local musicians, up to 50 artists, plant sales, artisanal foods, floral arts and more. Last year we had over 100 amazing volunteers contributing to its success. We invite you to join us this year as a volunteer and be part of the behind the scenes fun. We start recruiting volunteers as early as June for this event. Volunteer shifts are typically 3 - 4 hours long August 24 (event set up), 25 or 26.
There are many volunteer positions available including concessions, admissions, site assistants, traffic control and more. Volunteers get free admission for the whole weekend.  
If you would like to volunteer or need more information, please email Cheri Le Brun - Help us to spread the word by sharing this with your friends, family, and community. We hope to see you there!
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.   
Foliage Plants for All Seasons
by: Linda Petite,Head Gardener
1) Libertia peregrinans
    - Individual fans form clumps of narrow cinnamon-orange evergreen foliage
   -  Small white flowers appear in early summer
   -  Orange coloration in the leaves adds color and texture to the garden or container 365 days a year

2)Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'
  -  Black Mondo Grass grows in dense clumps of near black grass-like foliage 
    -  Tuck this plant anywhere you need texture and color all season long
- Dark lavender flowers in summer followed by purple berries
    -  Ideal along pathways,bed edges or tuck into mixed containers
3)Brachyglottis 'Sunshine'(formerly Senecio)
   -  A versatile evergreen shrub with silvery-green leaves,white underneath
   -  Bright yellow daisy-like flowers in summer
   - Tolerates coastal locations and sunny,dry sites
 -   Ideal for Cottage and Alpine gardens
   - A favourite for cut flower arrangements 

**All are available in our Plant Sale Area
Giles' Jottings    
Are we really already in June ? May was so lovely and sunny but somehow it seemed to slip by much faster than usual and unfortunately, in leaving, it took the sunshine away with it. Yet in this cooler grey weather it is the plants that brighten up our days instead. And nothing is brighter in the gardens at the moment than the lower corner of the Native Plant Garden, opposite the pavilion. Each year at this time a large patch of woolly sunflowers ( Eriophyllum lanatum) illuminates the entrance to the path down to the Takata. They are so brightly yellow that it is easy to understand how this native North American plant was given its common name, 'Oregon Sunshine'. In years past so many visitors have commented on them that this year we have found seeds and grown them on so they are available to everyone. Look in the Plant Sale area now and take this chance to buy a couple of plants before we are sold out.

And while you are there turn your head just a little to see a quite wonderful display of foxgloves ( Digitalis purpurea) in the Edible Garden. Being biennial this admittedly common plant will tend to seed itself freely; it can get in everywhere and this almost invasive weed-like quality means we tend to pull them out before they get a chance to flower. But this year the garden staff have been restrained and we are rewarded with a magnificent show of tall flowering spikes in colours ranging through from purple to white, each flower tube delicately spotted to attract those pollinating insects and on a warm day the whole area is humming with the drone of bees. What could be more agreeable on an early summer day?

You may or may not have noticed that our Couvelier Pavilion has a green roof. It is actually probably most visible from the road where one is high enough to be able to catch a glimpse of it. It is planted with a range of low-growing drought-tolerant plants, principally Sedums. But like any garden, weeds can get in and it requires someone to go up there from time to time and remove these tall invaders. Whilst up there last week I found that, along with various grasses and dandelions, there was a particularly heavy infestation of vetch ( Vicia sativa). This is a weed that is relatively easy to pull out but not quite so easy to eliminate. Its fine roots will get in almost anywhere and the trailing stems can clamber and cling, reaching several feet in length. But to look at it from another perspective, it carries pretty pea-like purple flowers and it is actually a very useful plant. In the legume family, it is closely related to peas and to broad beans ( Vicia faba). Producing small but nutritious pods, 10,000 years ago it was one of the earliest domesticated crops; today it is still used in many countries as cattle fodder and, like all the other legumes, the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen and constantly improve your soil. Marvellous qualities for a lowly weed.
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 Megan for this month's 'Picture of the Month' Submission

PHC Students celebrated the halfway point of their program today with a woodfired pizza party using the cob oven! Here is Maddie Harris with her creation. 

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
June is full of summer sunshine and final term projects for the PHC students. They are only a mere few weeks away from their well-deserved summer break in early July! Before the summer break, students are completing their first major landscape design project and are wrapping up the Soils class. They also have classes in Organic Landcare as part of the Sustainable Food Production course, and are busy learning about different composting and fertilizing options. The June schedule also includes a few field trips to local farms and in-class specialty topics: rhododendrons, ethnobotany and environmental stewardship. As always, so much to learn!
Students also recently completed the Partnership Rotations with various volunteer groups in the gardens   on Wednesday  mornings. Here are a few student highlights:
  • "Walking through the Western Woods! I had no idea that you could walk that far along the property, so beautiful, saw my first chocolate lily!"
  • "Being in the polyhouse - I learned so much!"
  • "The sense of community - just talking to people, learning about them in addition to the horticulture aspect."   
Thanks to the HCP volunteers for working with the students and teaching them about your gardens.
In other college news, applications for the 2019 full-time certificate program are starting to roll in. Now is the time to consider attending our program starting in January 2019!
Coming up:
  • 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 4 Apprenticeship Training (November 19, 2018 to January 11, 2019). Application deadline is November 5, 2018.
Need to take the Level 3 program or know someone who does? Contact us to join our interest list!
For more information, please contact PHC at  or call at  250-479-6162 .
Youth Programs
Upcoming Workshops & Camps
Call to Register for Programs: 250-479-6162

This hands-on, outdoors garden camp keeps participants active planning, creating, maintaining and harvesting in our very own JMG Garden Plot, with the help of Victoria Master Gardeners. As we learn about growing plants and food, we also cultivate an understanding of our native pollinators and the ecosystems that support our gardens! (Please register with Saanich Recreation for all JMG Camps)
Date:      Week #1 July 9-13   Time: 9-4 pm   Cost: $180/5 full days   Ages: 6 - 12 years
 Date:     Week #2 Aug 7 - 10     Time: 9-4 pm  Cost: $145/4 full days   Ages: 6 - 12 years
This program is a balance of gardening and art. There is a lot of inspiration in the Gardens at HCP to create art using a variety of natural materials. We will make take home pieces including planters, plant stakes, and other practical and beautiful work. This is a good group for children who cannot get enough gardening and crafting and is a nice break from the usual summer routines.
Date: July 23 - 27     Time: 9-12 noon     Cost: $95/5 half days     Ages: 6+ years

Join us on these Tuesdays for ... STORIES IN THE SHADE & NATURE AROUND US!  
STORIES IN THE SHADE is a bi-weekly story time designed 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, July 3, 17, 31, August 14    Time: 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, July 3, 17, 31, 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              
Join the fun of investigating what is living in a pond. When you have the means to magnify drops of pond water, you can explore a different world. Movement is in 3D. Breathing is under water. The life is alien-looking. Each participant will take home a kit of a loupe, a waterproof specimen container and a pipette.
                  Date Thursday, July 5     Time: 1:00 - 3:30 pm      Cost: $20/child, free admission for an accompanying adult         Ages: 7+ years
So much of the life of a garden is microscopic. Even within the plants, pollen is unique to a species. Looking at different leaves and petals under a microscope will give the artist in you much inspiration. Leaf litter has a whole ecosystem of its own. Come and explore the microscopic world of the garden. Each participant will be provided with a bag containing a loupe, a specimen box and a pipette to take home.
                  Date: Thursday, July 19                                     Time: 1:00 - 3:30 pm      Cost:       $20/child, free admission for an accompanying adult   Age: 7+ years
This session begins with an enchanted walk through the Gardens at HCP. Participants will collect natural materials on the walk to use in the creation of their own take home Fairy Garden. They will have a chance to explore a variety of materials such as clay, moss, and twigs. Parents/guardians are welcome to stay and participate.
       Date: Tuesday, July 3               Time: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm               Cost: $15/person       Ages: 6+ years
Explore the amazing world of plants, how they grow and what you need to know to build and maintain your own miniature indoor garden. Participants are invited to bring along a glass container to transform (a great upcycle activity with an open glass container 20cm or less). Plants and other materials will be provided. Parents/guardians are welcome to stay and participate.
       Date: Tuesday, July 17       Time: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm       Cost: $15/person       Ages: 6+ years

Upcoming Workshops

Registration for the Master Gardener Program and the Year Round Harvest Program will open on July 7. These classes fill up quickly, so call right away if you would like to hold a space. Those on the list will have the first option to register. Call 250 479 6162 to go on the list. Visit our website for more information.

Grow your Own Cut Flower Garden Workshop - Summer
Eiddwen Thomas 
Sunday, June 24    
9:00 am - 5:00 pm  
The Summer workshop is part of a seasonal four-part series on Grow Your Own Cut Flower Garden. Each class can be taken on its own or as part of the series. In the glorious month of June you will learn about what can be cut now from your garden. The instructor will be talking about roses and peonies along with other flowers for cutting. Participants are also invited to bring examples of what is presently blooming in their own gardens for group discussion. This workshop will also focus on what you can be starting now for glorious blooms next year in your garden. This is a great opportunity to get together with like minded people who are passionate about beautiful flowers! 
Subsequent workshops:
Fall - Sunday September 9th from 9 am to 12 noon
Winter - Sunday January 20th from 9 am to 12 noon
Spring - To be announced
Members $55/Non Members - $60 - per class
Members $180/Non Members $220 - for 4 part series
To register, call 250 479 6162

Summer Fruit Tree Pruning
with Ryan Senechal 
Saturday, July 14    
9:00 am - 12:00 pm  
In this three hour workshop, certified arborist Ryan Senechal will provide an introductory summer fruit tree pruning instruction. Practical application is encouraged during the workshop.  Learn how this traditional approach to pruning can reduce the burden of dormant season pruning as well as provide you with higher quality fruit. Secateurs are encouraged.
HCP Members $45
Non-Members $55
To register, call 250 479 6162

Plant Identification and Culture 2018
with Diane Pierce
 June 16, July 21  and August 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 come into the office.

The Bookend
Since some of our hale and hearty members may well be doing some hiking in our magnificent forests this summer, we thought you might like to know about a small but significant book called "Northwest Trees."  
Although published originally back in 1970 - and revised in l999 by "The Mountaineers" in Seattle - we have noted in our HCP library that people still use it as a basic reference book. The author, Steven Arno, is currently a forest ecologist with the USDA Forest Service but once covered a lot of the country he describes as a ranger and naturalist.
This isn't a big book, so it could be taken on a hike. Even for armchair travellers, however, it can be an interesting read. The line drawings are especially good, so you might even be tempted to venture from the armchair to inspect some of these magnificent plants in their native habitat! There's history here, too, as we can learn something of how trees such as the Vine Maple and the Pacific Yew have been used in the past.
Not all the trees prosper in all parts of southern BC, Washington and Oregon (the "northwest" to Americans) as rainfall varies tremendously from coastal areas up into mountainous terrain. (Although it is interesting to learn how some species do adapt.)
If you do some exploring one of these days, we would love to hear about it.   Email:   
Happy gardening!

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