Winter Hours
November 1st - February 28
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Summer Hours
March 1st - October 31st
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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November 2018 E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Garden Spotlight:  
The Doris Page Winter Garden 
by: Deborah Donahue, General Manager 
I went for a walk around the gardens last Monday night and was so transfixed by the glowing beauty of the Doris Page Winter Garden that I just had to share this picture and a bit about the history of this incredible garden..... The Doris Page Winter Garden was established in 1985 with funds from the Victoria Horticultural Society. It is named in honour of Doris Page, who spent decades demonstrating the potential for winter gardening in this climate. In addition to bringing hellebores to Victoria, Doris was also the host of the popular CHEK TV program 'Island Country Garden' and she was the president of the Victoria Horticultural Society from 1973-74 and 1979-80.
The Doris Page Winter Garden is developed and maintained by the volunteers of the Doris Page Partnership Group in conjunction with the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. The Victoria Horticultural Society provides ongoing financial support.  
The Tradition of the Christmas Wreath
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
  To me, nothing symbolizes the traditions of Christmas more than a wreath hanging on the front door.
The word "wreath" comes from the old English word writhen meaning "writhe"' or "twist," but the tradition itself comes from the Romans who hung Laurel wreaths on their doors as a symbol of victory. Greeks and Romans wore a Laurel wreath around their necks as an accolade for their great achievements (such as those presented to the winners of events in the original Olympic games in Greece), and Roman women wore them on their heads during special occasions.
Through the years, a circle which has no beginning and no end has stood for eternity. The evergreen branches represent eternal life, ivy is considered to have healing power, and holly is considered to bring you luck.
Come join us in our always popular wreath-making classes or you can support the Gardens by purchasing a homemade wreath created by staff and volunteers. Wreaths will be $40 each and orders can be placed starting November 17, call 250-479-6162. 
Latest Blog Post 
Do you keep an eye on our blog posts? In 2018 we have introduced blog posts from the Pacific Horticulture College, we often announce events, feature plant sales, and share gardening information. We are so happy to feature an interview from Linda Gilkeson, author of 'Backyard Bounty' and the instructor from our popular 'Year Round Harvest' community education class. Click here to read our interview with her.  
Giles' Jottings    
The rain is falling steadily as I write but we must be grateful for the last few weeks of warm sunny days and cool clear nights. They are the perfect conditions to bring out the best of the fall colours, especially in the various maples in the gardens. As most of you will remember there is a 100 year old Acer dis ( Acer palmatum var. dissectum ) at the entrance to the Takata Garden which will turn a glorious orange in some years; but conditions are not always ideal to stimulate its most intense colouring. A couple of weeks ago we were passing it and commenting how dull it still was, a sort of mauve-brown; it really needed just two or three more cold nights followed by sunny days to bring out its best tints. So you can imagine the pleasure I felt, arriving at work the following Monday morning, to find it had fully changed colour; by midday the sun had swung around to cut through between the Douglas Firs and illuminate it in all its glory.

Inevitably it does not last forever but there is always something else to catch your eye and currently, standing on the Half-Moon Bridge, there are yellows and reds a-plenty, maples and gingkos and parrotias, the most impressive of which is the vivid scarlet maple  Acer rubrum) which stands at the corner of the farm garden in the lower field.

Another marvellous transformation which occurred only lasted a few days but I managed to take a photograph just in time. In the Bonsai Garden most of the deciduous specimens lost their leaves quite quickly; I suppose being so small they only have a few leaves to lose. But for a few days one specimen, an Oregon Ash ( Fraxinus latifolia), changed colour to an extraordinary delicate pink. The fading leaves seemed to become almost transparent for a couple of days, ethereal, making one feel they might just float away on the breeze rather than fall dully to the floor.
Bottle Depot 
One more way to support The Gardens! We have an account at the Bottle Depot!
Our account name is: The Gardens at HCP
How to donate on this account :
The Gardens at HCP
Please advise the cashiers at the beginning of the transaction that you would like to donate the bottles onto our account. Please note: Your friends / family / co-workers etc who will be donating to this account must only reference this account by account name and not by any account numbers that may be found on some of the account transaction receipts. Each depot will have a different account number for your account. 
You can donate at any of the Bottle Depot Branches: 4261 Glanford Ave, 655 Queens Ave, 3961 Quadra St
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.    
'Picture of the Month'
Thank you to visitor Erik for this month's 'Picture of the Month'.
"I took the picture when my wife Sheila and I celebrated our 57th anniversary by spending a day at the center.  It was a beautiful fall day and we enjoyed the gardens very much.  Also had a nice lunch at the restaurant."
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
With only a couple of weeks left to the 2018 programs, PHC students are wrapping up classes and completing final projects, such as the landscape design project and their Plant ID Database. The last couple of weeks also include classes on hardscaping, business and an introduction to Bonsai. Best of luck to them as they prepare for their ITA Exam on November 13!
Also, congratulations to PHC Director and Instructor Laura Biggs for winning the Teacher of the Month award from the Zone 91.3 radio station! Student Ryan Barton submitted an outstanding write-up that was compelling enough to be awarded a class set of Big Wheel Burger gift cards. Check out the write-up here.
The PHC is offering Part-Time Level 1 Apprenticeship training starting in January 2019. This program allows you to pursue Horticulture training while also working full-time. For more information on this program, please see our website.
Coming up:
Part-Time Level 1 Apprenticeship Training  
- January 21, 2018 to June 5, 2018
- Application deadline is January 7, 2018
For more information on our programs, please contact Pacific Horticulture College at or call  250-479-6162 .
Youth Programs
Upcoming Workshops
Call to Register for Programs: 250-479-6162
Kid's Garden Club
Saturday December 1st
9:45 - 11:45
This is a special invitation for everyone who has joined us for JMG Kids Garden Club in 2018 to join us in December for a season roundup! We will be making decorations for the JMG Garden Plot to decorate it for the season, taking a nature walk through the gardens collecting natural materials and creating take home table arrangements and share some seasonal treats.
Everyone is welcome! Instead of a registration fee this month, please bring along a donation for the food bank. As always, please phone or visit our office to pre-register (to assist us with preparations).
For further information, please contact: 
Call to register: 250-479-6162
Wreath Making for Kids 
Bring along your favourite partner to make a wreath for your door this winter season. Using a frame, natural, locally sourced plant material and your creativity, we will show you how. Bring along your friends and family for a different kind of seasonal get-together!  
 *A frame and assorted plant materials are provided.*  
Adults are required to participate with children under 8 years of age and are asked to bring along hand pruners and gloves if you have them.

Date:       Saturday, December 1st, 2018 
Time:      1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Cost:        $15/child
Age:        5+ years  
Call: 250-479-6162 to register
Upcoming Workshops

Random/Wicker Woven Basket
with Joan Carrigan  
Saturday, November 17   
9:30 am - 4:30 pm  
In this workshop we will explore combining two different weaving techniques to create a striking sculptural basket. First we will start with random weaving the base of the basket using dyed reed. This weave is inspired by bird's nests and offers many sculptural possibilities. The top of the basket will be woven with 2 and 3 strand twining and offers many design and shaping possibilities. Used together we will finish up with a unique storage basket worth of holding your attention if nothing else. Please bring a pair of sharp scissors, an old towel, and a spray bottle. We will run a second workshop on Sunday, November 18 if this date fills up, so please add your name to the interest if the class is full. 
HCP Members $120
Non Members $140
To register, call 250 479 6162

Wreath Making Registration 
One of the best winter traditions will be returning to the Gardens at HCP, and you can register now! Learn how to create beautiful, decorative Christmas wreaths without the hassle of collecting materials and a messy clean up. Expert instructors will guide you through the basics of building a beautiful and unique wreath. No two wreaths turn out the same! The wreaths will contain an assortment of evergreens, berries, cones and bows. These wreaths will last and look great on your front door throughout the festive season! This is a great workshop for groups of friends and families. Participants should bring garden gloves and secateurs/shears to class. These workshops fill up quickly so sign up soon. To register, call 250 479 6162
Workshop Dates: 
10:00am - 12:00pm or 1:00pm - 3:00pm 
November 24/25, December 1/2/8/9
HCP Members $40
Non Members $50
Plant Identification and Culture 2018
with Diane Pierce
 November 17 and December 8  
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
The HCP now has two books about Highgrove, the estate of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. Each one has a different focus. "Highgrove, Portrait of an Estate" tells about the development of organic gardening on the estate. This includes organic farming and mentions such charming subjects as processing the royal sewage through a non-chemical treatment system - based on a reed-bed that's been made into a dragonfly reserve - which produces clean water for the rest of the gardens. The second book, "The Garden at Highgrove," is more about the design process and all the interesting plants.
As an aside: Since one book is about organic gardening/farming and the other about horticulture generally, they are filed in different locations in libraries such as ours that use the Library of Congress filing system.
The reason we thought to mention these books is because folks may be inclined to assume that they are just pretty pictures whereas, in fact, they actually contain some very good ideas. It shouldn't surprise us to consider that His Majesty has been able employ - or at least consult with - some of the most eminent horticulturists in the country. We can get some benefit from that!
In the early days when Highgrove was first being developed, many people were consulted - such as Rosemary Verey, with whom many of us are familiar from the books she has had published. Once he got in the swing of things, H.R.H. mentions some ideas of his own - such as planting a carpet of different types of thyme.
The thyme idea is being mentioned as an example of the reason these books can be useful to those of us whose estates are somewhat smaller than Highgrove because, in both the text and the pictures, we may find ideas that fire our imaginations.
On the other hand, there's no law that says we can't just simply sit back and enjoy looking at the lovely results of other people's inspiration and hard work!
The Gardens at HCP library is open:
9 am - 1 pm on Wednesdays
10 am - 1 pm on Saturdays
For more information please contact