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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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May E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
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.
Tomato Day 
The long weekend in May is traditionally the time to plant your garden, so check out our
  • Organically-grown Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Veggie starts
  • Herbs
Come early for best selection!

Plant Sale Recap
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
Our Spring Plant Sale April 21-22 was a great success!! Thank you all for your support.
Because of the cool, damp spring weather, some plants were not ready for the sale but they are ready now. Availability changes throughout the year, so please come by often to check out our Plant Sale Area.
Life Memberships 
This year we have two amazing volunteers to add to the incredible group that have Life Memberships. These two wonderful people were honoured at our recent Annual General Meeting 
The first amazing volunteer is Bev Tandberg - most of you know her as "Beverage Bev" or "Little Bev". Bev has been serving our volunteers for 25 years, prior to that she was a grade 2 teacher at James Bay Elementary. She remembers how the gardens and buildings have changed through the years. When she started volunteering in hospitality we did not even have a dishwasher. She remembers there being around 30 volunteers on Wednesday when she started. We now have approximately 80!        

Our second amazing volunteer is Delphia Scratchley. She has been a part of the gardens' growth since at least 1998...we don't have records that go back further! She began in the Mediterranean Garden and is now one of our propagating group. She has also been sharing her knowledge by instructing the current class of students. Very above and beyond!

Renovations in the Winter Garden 
It's funny how a bed can look fabulous season after season and then suddenly tip over into a completely different state. This was the case with our small heather bed at the south-west corner of the Winter Garden.
This bed garnered great praise from visitors who loved the variety of heathers, the fact that there were always some in bloom, the richness of the colours, and the different styles. But this past winter the bed began to look overgrown and scraggly - as is the custom with heather gardens.
We tried to remedy the situation by thinning it out - but, alas, it just looked like a bed with big gaps. Several weeks ago, our small collaborative team agreed the only solution was to rip out all the old heathers and start afresh. As we stood pondering how to approach this project, Linda materialized with none other than David Wilson, owner of The Heather Farm. David was at the HCP to teach students about heather gardens. How serendipitous! Within seconds we had skillfully abdicated our responsibility for this project and turned it over to Linda and David as a project for students.

We returned the next week to find our lovely little bed planted with 30 young heather plants - a terrific mix of Ericas and Callunas that will ensure this bed continues to be a focal point for visitors, volunteers, and garden enthusiasts.

Please check it out now, and return often to watch it grow and develop. We are most appreciative of the efforts of David and the student team who renovated this bed for us.
Our second renovation project took place a little further along in the same bed. This large bed that runs alongside the road, and therefore is highly visible, has been a challenge. It varies between too wet or too dry, depending on the season, and has no natural features to give it 'bones'.
We knew we wanted to make changes, but wondered just how to go about it. Linda suggested we create a berm - and with that, a berm was born! That sounds easy - it was in fact a bit of a hard slog. A design was kindly provided by Em McCormick, part- time assistant gardener at HCP. The area was staked out. All plants were removed from the future berm garden and either potted up or moved elsewhere in the garden. Then the rocks arrived and heavy lifting was done by Giles, students, and some of our team - particularly the sole male in our group, Paul. Giles trucked in lovely soil and the raised bed began to take shape. We were the lucky recipients of some plants donated by Novus Plants.
The entire project was completed in just over a month and is ready to be admired. Please come down and see the ' Berm Bed' featuring 5 Cedrus deodara 'Feelin' Blue; 2 Ilex crenata 'Drops of Gold'; 1 Ribes sanguineum "Variegata'; 1 Pittosporum tenuifolium "Nutty's Leprechaun'; and 3 Iris siberica 'Caesar's Brother'. The new feature adds interest to this area both in terms of hard and soft landscapes.
Susan Reece
DPWG Volunteer
May 2018

Giles' Jottings    
What a wonderful time of the year in the Gardens. Everything is sprouting, blossom is bursting out on all sorts of ornamental bushes and trees and the increasingly warm weather is bringing the season onward.
There are too many plants to mention but each time I walk through the gardens there is something different that catches my eye.

Now is the time to visit the Rhododendron Garden; it has been  looking spectacular these last few weeks and different varieties continue to open and reveal their startling range of colours. Some of the paler coloured varieties have been impressing me this year, especially R. 'King George' and R. 'Crete', but a species whose name tells us it is originally from Yunnan province in China, R. yunnanense, has given me special pleasure; the flowers, white with a pale yellow heart, are quite small yet plentiful, giving the plant a rather different style from many of the more familiar large-flowered varieties.

White blossom can also be seen in the Fuschia Garden where there is an attractive young specimen of the snowdrop tree, Halesia carolina 'Wedding Bells'. And at the lower corner of the Hardy Plant Garden there is a well-grown Pyrus salicifolia 'Pendula', the weeping pear. I had confused this tree with one I am more familiar with, the Russian Olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia, which also has long thin silvery leaves, but this weeping pear has white blossom  similar to other apples and pears whereas the russian olive actually has smaller yellow flowers.

In this recent welcome spell of sunshine I have remarked also the range of purple flowers in the Hardy beds and the almost matching dark foliage of some shrubs . The large heads of early Alliums, the late spikes of purple bugle (Ajuga) and the last flowers of Bergenia cordifolia reflect some of the dark tints of neighbouring Physocarpus 'Diabolo', Sambucus nigra porphyrophylla 'Gerda' and the newly budding Japanese smoke tree, Cotinus coggyria.

'Picture of the Month'
Thank you to Julie B. for this month's 'Picture of the Month' Submission

Julie has been an Events Assistant for the past two summers at the Gardens and is a talented photographer. If you have admired a special photo on our social media channels or newsletter it just may have been hers! 

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
April showers bring May flowers... and more learning!  PHC students continue to work away at Landscape Design, Soils, and Plant ID. They just finished their class in Turfgrass Management, complete with a full day of "Lawn Olympics" and turf renovations in the gardens. Partnership Rotations also continue into May, as students rotate through different gardens working with the volunteer groups. Projects have included building an herb spiral bed, rock wall installation, planting, mulching and various garden renovations. The student-maintained Urban Garden is also shaping up into a beautiful, edible garden: seeds have been sown, hops and raspberries are growing, the pear trees are blooming, and the bees are buzzing!

PHC is offering a part-time Level 3 Apprenticeship Program starting on May, 29th. This level focuses on hardscaping with additional classes on pre-construction activities, softscape maintenance, plant ID, and others. The deadline to apply for this program is May 18th, coming up quickly! Applicants must have successfully completed Level 1 and 2 training.

Reminder: PHC is still accepting applications for the Landscape Design Student Project ( please follow HERE for more information). T his is a great opportunity for the students to learn and practice design first hand, and also a wonderful opportunity for homeowners to receive smart and beautiful designs for their garden spaces. The application deadline is June 15th
Coming up:
  • Part-time Level 3 Apprenticeship Training (May 29, 2018 to November 6, 2018). Please email for more information.
  • Full-time Level 4 Apprenticeship Training (November 19, 2018 to January 11, 2019). Please email for more information.
  • 2019 Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program Information Session on Monday, June 4th at 6 pm.
Interested to learn more about the horticulture program? Come to our information session, and also meet instructors and past students!
For more information, please contact PHC at  or call at  250-479-6162 .

Youth Programs
Upcoming Camps and Workshops
Call to Register for Programs: 250-479-6162 
Tea Cup Fairy Gardens 
We will begin with an enchanted walk through the Gardens for inspiration to create your own take home Tea Cup Fairy Garden. This is a chance to work with a variety of materials including clay, moss and twigs. Please plan to bring along your own cup (cup and saucer) to use. There are so many styles, colours and materials of cup (cups and saucers) that bringing your own will allow you to create a very individualized garden. Parents/guardians are welcome to stay and participate (and required to stay with children under 6 years). This activity appeals to many adults and they enjoy participating too! If you want to create a garden as you attend with a child, please bring along your own cup. There is an additional fee of $5 to cover the cost of your plant material.
Saturday, May 26
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Ages: 3+
Cost: $15/child (additional adult to register and make a garden is $5)

Mini Pollinator Gardens
June 2 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
In the spring we are busy planting all the great crops we plan to eat in the summer and fall, but have we included nectar flowers for the native pollinators in our gardens? These creatures need a constant supply of food and places to lay their eggs and food for their young. Let's plant up containers to take home including flowering plants to take home and ways you can add nectar flowers to your backyard garden.
Ages: 5 + years
Fee: $15/child
Making A Stepping Stone
June 16 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Learn to create a beautiful garden stone that will add art to your home garden. Concrete, stones, gems, shells, and hands will be used to create a lasting impression. All materials are provided. Parents are required to participate.
Ages: 5+
Cost: $15
Junior Master Gardeners KID'S GARDEN CLUB
Once a month we meet 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. Please pre-register at 250-479-6162 
Club Dates: 
9:45 am - 11:45 am (Saturday's 2018 - Feb 3, Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5, Jun 2, SUMMER BREAK, Sept 8, Oct 6, Nov 3, Dec 1)
Cost: $10/2 hr session 
Ages: All ages welcome! Children under 5 need to be with a supervising/participating adult 
Upcoming Workshops

The Art of Bonsai - Root Cutting Workshop
with   Mark Paterson 
Saturday, May 26th    
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 second of a three-part series and can be taken on its own. Come pot up the bonsai you made in spring or learn about root cutting with your own plant. Learn how to control roots by trimming and using different types of soil. Workshop includes an Asian-style shallow pot. The next class on September 29 will cover later season and winter care.
HCP Members $60
Non-Members $70
To register, call 250 479 6162

Willow Frame Tray Workshop
with   Joan Carrigan   
Sunday, May 27th  
9:30 am - 4:30 pm  
This woven tray or platter utilizes willow for the frame and willow bark for the weaving. Prepared willow frames will be available for the class, yet each participant will learn the process of making one which they can keep for future use. Dyed cane will be used for the spokes which are attached to the frame at one end. Design and weaving variations will be presented.

HCP Members $120
Non-Members $140
To register, call 250 479 6162

Healthy Soils Series: Selecting Fertilizers & Mulches for the Organic Garden
with Christina Nikolic 
Sunday, May 27th  
10:00 am - 12:00 pm  
From seaweed and manure to leaves and rock dusts, there are plenty of yummy fertilizers to feed to the soil, so it will grow healthy plants. And best of all, many of these are plentiful and cheap or even free. Christina will give an overview of what's out there, where to find it, and what it's good for. She will have samples on hand and can give tips and details on application techniques and dilution rates too. Participants will come away with a full menu of choices for soil care and nutrition.
HCP Members $35
Non-Members $40
To register, call 250 479 6162

Herbal Medicine Making Workshop
with Lily Fawn  
Sunday, June 3   
10:00 am - 1:00 pm  
Herbalist, Lily Fawn, shares with you the secrets of medicinal medicine making. She will walk participants through the different types of medicinal infusions, oils, ointments, vinegars and the various ways to make them. This herbal workshop is designed seasonally in order to utilize fresh wild-gathered or herbs from the garden. This session will also offer an informative introduction to a materia medica of the herbs used in the class and receive a detailed handbook outlining all the information covered in class. You will get an opportunity for hands-­-on participation in making your own herbal salve, vinegar and aromatherapy spray. Take your creation home! Herbal tea and Treats are complimentary during class time.
HCP Members $60
Non-Members $65
To register, call 250 479 6162

Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent 
Sunday, June 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 & work with different sizes of willow to create your chair. All tools will be provided.
HCP Members $250
Non-Members $275
To register, call 250 479 6162

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

Introduction to Garden Design
with Patty Brown 
Mondays 6:30pm - 9:00pm:
May 28, June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 9 & 16
Sunday (Field Trips) 9:30am - 12:00pm:
June 24 & July 8
This 9-session course with PHC instructor Patty Brown is designed for the homeowner and for those with an interest in landscape design. Students will learn to draft and design a residential landscape plan to scale. Two field trips will be used to look at existing landscapes and plant choices. Topics covered will include design principles and processes, garden styles, site analysis, plants as design elements and landscape materials. For the practical side of this course it is ideal to have a project or area to design so to apply and practice each step. 
HCP Members $250
Non-Members $295
To register, call 250 479 6162

Plant Identification and Culture 2018
with Diane Pierce
May 12, June 16, and July 21 
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
It may seem surprising, but it's true that the librarians in the HCP library read books from other libraries occasionally! On this particular occasion we have been reading "The Plant Messiah" by Carlos Magdalena. Subtitle: Adventures in search of the world's rarest species.

Actually, the author himself is the "messiah" who has made it his mission to save the world's most endangered plants. Originally from Spain, Carlos developed an interest in natural history early on, but it wasn't until he was 28 that he made his way to England and shortly after discovered the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

He persuaded the principal of the Kew School of Horticulture to give him a chance to show he was truly interested in working with plants. This resulted later on in his being given an opportunity to attain a Kew Diploma in Horticulture, ". . . .one of the most prestigious horticultural qualifications in the world."

As we follow the author's adventures, we learn a lot about the work that is done at Kew. For instance, they have the world's largest wild plant DNA collection, and a bank consisting of a billion seeds of around 35,000 species. . . . and that's just for starters.

Carlos became particularly interested in preserving plants that were on the verge of extinction, early on proving his patience and expertise by saving an endangered plant called Ramosmania rodriguesii. He was later to visit such far-flung spots as Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and Peru.

Actually, his adventures with plants makes this a "must read" for all plant lovers, and it may well be a particular inspiration to some of our young aspiring horticulturists.
Happy gardening!

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