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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March 2016 E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens

Starting Your Garden
Planting season has begun. We asked our Head Gardener Linda Petite what you should be doing to prepare for spring and here are her top 5 tips:
1) Finish cutting back herbaceous perennials to make way for new growth
2) This is the best time for renovation pruning (spring growth is the strongest)
3) Top dress all beds with compost or well-rotted manure
4) Start your tomato seeds indoors (I always start mine on St. Patty's Day). They need warmth to germinate. http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/tomato-from-seed.html
5) Get out to your local nurseries - new plants are arriving daily, so shop early for best selection!!

Giles' Jottings
The wet weather doesn't seem to let up, but the arrival of March signals the gradual easing from winter to spring. We had a few dry sunny days in the last week of February but now the rain has returned, accompanied by some blustery winds; however, the plants sense the seasonal changes and 'winter' plants are beginning to give up their place to those heralding spring.

The Doris Page Winter Garden is at its peak of flowering - Hellebore and Daphne, Cyclamen and snowdrops filling the beds. Other flowers are also appearing - daffodils and Iris and crocuses. And, in company with the neighbouring Rhododendron Garden, the rhodos are beginning their long parade of colours. In the Doris Page Garden there is a beautiful white R. 'Snow Lady' hanging into the path below "bed A," and behind the gazebo there is a vividly pink  R. 'Cornell Pink'.

Next door in the Rhododendron Garden the spring procession of colours and styles is well under way. Every two or three days another variety begins to open its buds.  R. 'Lee's Scarlet' has been in flower for some weeks and is now fading but R. 'Lucy Lou', coming out now, is a startling white; R. 'Coral Glow' is an interesting shade of salmon pink; and R. 'Bo-Peep' is a subtle shade of pale yellow. Amongst these fascinating rhododendrons there is also a Magnolia zenii whose buds are swelling and are close to opening.

Other flowers announcing spring are popping up here and there. The spotted leaves of Pulmonarias are visible in several gardens, displaying flowers of red and blue and white. The pale blue flowers of Brunnera can be seen on the shady bank in the Doris Page Garden. Cowslips (Primula veris ) are flowering in the Herb garden and in the Peony beds facing the heathers.  Windflowers (Anemone blanda) are also showing in several places, although they are struggling with the persistent heavy rains.

In the Native Garden, Indian Plum and flowering currants are already in flower, Camas leaves are pushing up everywhere and we can soon expect to see flowers of various spring bulbs - Shooting Star, Camas and Trilliums.
The students are currently learning pruning with Patty Brown and have been doing a fine job trimming back fruit trees and roses and other shrubs for the year ahead. Hoke's Wednesday volunteers are cleaning up the old Ethnobotanical trail and transplanting native edible plants to new beds beyond the Urban Garden. And an enthusiastic Saturday group are planting oaks and firs in the Conservation Park, in line with the long-term plan.

With luck, the rain may relent a little in the coming weeks, but today on March 1st it is still coming down in buckets.

On Bill Kempster
by: Bob Clarke, Takata Garden
Sometime in the early 80's I tried to sell Bill a carved sign for the entrance to the "Pacific Demonstration Garden."  Bill told me that they didn't have any money, so I agreed to donate the sign, which was mounted in the rock wall entrance to the new garden.

Bill was determined to make a success of the new garden, and applied his no-nonsense work ethic to what has turned out, after 30 plus years, to be an eclectic garden managed by a small but enthusiastic staff and an army of dedicated volunteers. And Bill Kempster started it all.  Bill passed away March 1, 2016.

Pictured: Bill Kempster with Trevor Jones
Folks seem to get a kick out of our Whatzits each month. Last month's drew quite a number of replies. Some of them correctly guessed that it was a Witchhazel but didn't attempt any further identification. Bonita added a comment about its wonderful citrus fragrance. Mary got a bit more technical and said it was a Hamamelis intermedia.
"SB", Tommy and Pat all agreed that it was probably a Hamamelis x intermedia, probably 'Diane'.  Nicola and SB hedged their bets and suggested it might also be a Hamamelis chinensis 'Jelena'.
Tommy added some comments. He suggested it's a good all-season shrub because of its great fall colour, interesting form, and lovely fragrance when it blooms (sometimes in the fall as well as the spring).  And its forked twigs make the best divining rods for 'witching' water (which is where its common name comes from). Under the present weather conditions, there'll be no need to practice our divining skills for some time to come!
See if you can tell us whatzit below?  Send your answer to  enews@hcp.ca

Featured Gift Shop Items for Spring
We have some great new items in the gift shop. From the UK come Joseph Bentley tools. These handy gardener tools come with a lifetime guarantee, are very attractive and are designed with all gardeners in mind. Locally produced, sustainably harvested Kelp Fertilizer contains 70 minerals, is an excellent source of cytokinins and auxins, which are both plant growth hormones.  It is economical as well - as a concentrate it can be mixed in your watering can for easy, regular application to help your garden grow.

Other highlights include our antique bottle-style hummingbird feeders and harvest aprons. If you've been putting off buying your mason bees from the shop, hurry in, as they are flying off the shelves!  New items will be appearing regularly.
Our New Website
It's LIVE!

HCP has a new look to our website.  This new website has a couple of neat new features. We have a staff blog; check in bi-monthly for some unique gardening tips and behind the scenes discussions.   In the future we will have the ability to sign up for community education courses.

Check it out at  www.hcp.ca
Save the Date
Our annual Spring Plant Sale will be April 23 & 24
Upcoming Workshops

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

Fruit Tree Pruning
with Ryan Senechel
Saturdays, March 12 & 19
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

This 2-session course is for the urban fruit growing enthusiast with young or mature plants. The course emphasis is on structural pruning and pruning for fruit production. Also covered is espalier trellis training, soils, and an introduction to plant health care (cultural controls).
Members $85.00
Non Members $100.00

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

Converting Lawn to Native Meadow
with Kristen Miskelly of Saanich Native Plants
Sunday, March 20th
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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. 

HCP Members $45 
Non Members $60 

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

The Art of Bonsai - Part One
with Mark Paterson
Saturday, April 2
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Come learn the art of bonsai with Mark Paterson, President of the Vancouver Island Bonsai Society. This is the first of a three part series.
In Part one, Mark will teach you how to apply bonsai techniques to a 1 gallon sized plant which you get to take home with you. You will learn bonsai history, design and care. The class will also cover how to choose potential bonsai stock and how to use plant training to increase aesthetic value and monetary value to your new plant. 
Part Two, May 28th will cover Root Cutting.
Part Three, September 24th will cover later season and winter care.
HCP Members $140/Series or $60/Part 1
HCP Members $160/Series or $70/Part 1

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

Willow Chair Workshop 
with Andrew Kent
Sunday, April 3
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 and work with different sizes of willow to create your chair. All tools will be provided.
Members $250
Non Members $275

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

Nutritional Gardening Workshop
with Rhona McAdam
Saturday, April 9
10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Rhona McAdam is a local author, poet and holistic nutritionist. She has a Permaculture Design Certificate, a Master's degree in Food Culture & Communication and is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.
Throughout our food system, nutritional values are going down and toxicity levels are going up. So we need to think and talk more about ways to increase nutrition at home, from our gardens to our larders. We'll discuss the decline in nutritional values of fruits and vegetables, plus the farming practices, environmental and industrial toxins that are contributing to the decline. Then we'll explore some growing methods that can boost nutritional values, and find out which common backyard garden fruit/vegetable varieties give the most 'bang for the buck' nutritionally. 

Members $40
Non Members $45
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information. www.hcp.ca/events

Splint Woven Storage Basket Workshop
with Joan Carrigan
Sunday, April 10
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

This is a classic indispensable storage basket ready to be put to use in the home or garden. Split weaving with flat reed is strong and durable and lends itself to incorporating twill patterns. We will look at control of shape and material handling in this mid-sized basket as well as discuss options on how baskets can be finished with dyes, wood stain or milk paints. Suitable for all levels of experience - including beginner.

Members $115
Non Members $135
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Mushroom Companions to the 
Garden and Farm with Danielle Stevenson
Sunday, April 10
1:00 - 4:00 PM

Learn about mushrooms with Danielle of D.I.Y. Fungi. The highlights edible and medicinal mushrooms which can be grown in spaces you can't otherwise grow in, or can be companion pl anted in your gardens and orchards to boost plant growth and  build healthy soil ecosystems. 

We'll walk through how to make a mushroom bed, mushroom pathways, logs, and companion plant within your veggie beds, and discuss the important role of mycorhizal fungi in the garden and orchard.

Members $35
Non Members $45
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information. www.hcp.ca/events

Sunday, April 30 or Saturday, May 7
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

With Chef Castro Boateng & foraging guide Lance Staples
This is not your average picnic! Join us for a unique foraging adventure at the Gardens at HCP. The group will spend a couple of hours gathering wild local edibles while learning about foraging from guide Lance Staples. After their foraging adventure, the group will feast on a three course meal using foraged ingredients prepared by Chef Castro Boateng. All this in the beautiful garden setting at the HCP. 
Castro Boateng- With over 16 years of professional culinary experience, Castro has integrated his love for creative art and food into a successful fine catering business in Victoria BC. Known for high end corporate events, weddings, private dining, foraging tours, cooking classes, consulting services and food styling - Executive Chef Castro Boateng is pleased to share his passion for unique fine dining experiences.
Lance Staples- Our expert foraging guide. Lance has been supplying his foraged foods to local restaurants and catering companies for four years. His passion for the BC wildlife is contagious!

All Participants $99
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information. www.hcp.ca/events

Yoga for Gardeners Workshop Series
with Jenny Feick
Four Sessions, 9:30  am- 11:30 am on
April 14, April 21, April 28 and May 5th

Every spring, people enthusiastically venture into their garden and yard, only to return hours later sore and exhausted. Yoga can help you avoid some common gardening injuries and reduce current aches and pains. Through attention to posture and alignment principles, this workshop will help you protect your hips, shoulders, wrists, back and knees. You will learn what you should do to get your body ready for gardening and how to stretch and move after working in your yard so that you feel rejuvenated.

Members $40 per session/$120 for all  four sessions
Non Members $45 per session/$140 for all four sessions
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Plant Identification and Culture 2016
with Diane Pierce

Saturday, March 19 
1:00 pm - 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.
HCP 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

Youth Programs

This is a very special year as we celebrate the International Year of Pulses!
What's a Pulse? It's the dried seed of legumes, such as dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.
Join us each month as we gather facts on growing and eating this valuable food resource. Build a bean and pea teepee, sow pulses to take home, learn about creative ways to eat them, and other fun activities!
We will be planting lots of other great vegetables too as we garden in the JMG Food Garden. So bring your favourite garden tools and gloves and let's get growing!

Saturday's from 10 am - 12 noon beginning April 2nd.

For more information about Birthday Parties and School Tours & Programs contact Paula at youthprograms@hcp.ca or call 250-479-6162 to register your family


Volunteer Spotlight
Introducing Lonnie and Alison Paton
Originally from Saskatoon, Lonnie and Alison moved to our more clement climate four years ago. Alison was the first to volunteer in 2014, lending her talents to our 911 group who solve all gardening emergencies.
Alison quickly found jobs for Lonnie to do around the gardens. We now have him doing everything from installing irrigation, or making reindeer at Christmas to fitting a cat door for our beloved Albert. 
When they are not busy at the HCP, they like golfing, kayaking and fly fishing. (Of course, being a handy couple, they tie all their own flies.) The best thing about this delightful couple is their sense of humour and positive attitude. If you see them next Wednesday morning, stop and say hello - their smiles are contagious.

Conservation Park Volunteers
There has been some tree planting taking place in the Conservation Park over the past few weeks.  Eighty-five Garry Oaks (Quercus garryana), purchased with the TDFEF grant money, have been planted by both the Wednesday and Saturday HCP volunteer groups.
The Saturday group combined forces with the Goward Springs Watershed Stewards volunteers and planted the last of the Oaks this past Saturday. Each tree required tree protection to prevent both deer and vole damage.
A huge thank you to all for helping us with our ongoing restoration work.
The Bookend
Our "Bookend" this month is a new-to-us book called Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses by Wiliam Cullina.  This is not strictly about plants native to BC but, rather, refers to plants that existed in North America prior to European settlement. The publishers tell us that the writer "...combines encyclopedic information with specific instructions on how to grow and propagate them."  And we might add that this large hardcover book contains some very attractive colour photos.
Interestingly, although the plant hardiness zone maps for North American are for 2000, projections to 2075 are included - a rather rare acknowledgement that global warming is going to affect our plants! But then Cullina is a well-qualified man in his field, being director of horticultural research for the New England Wild Flower Society and author of a further five books. As a result, his plant descriptions are very complete - besides the usual advice re culture, hardiness zones and soil conditions, we get descriptions of their native habitats, including altitude preferences.
Looks like a good way to spend a rainy weekend. . . .