Winter Garden Hours:
November - February
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7
Ph: (250) 479-6162
Connecting People with Plants since 1979
A Retrospective of 40 Years
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
On November 7, 1979, the BC government issued a certificate of incorporation and the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific became an official non-profit. Several prominent local residents had a vision in mind: to have a public demonstration garden and a centre of horticultural training, celebrating the importance of plants in a sustainable world.
Last weekend we had an open house showcasing many of the demonstration gardens. There were display boards, old scrapbooks, photo albums and a power point presentation of the gardens then and now. We hope to have a link on our website soon for viewers to see the transformations. The gardens were originally run entirely by volunteers and today, 40 years later, we could not survive without our dedicated volunteers!
Here are a few comments from some volunteers who took part in our celebration:

 For the past 18 years I've had the pleasure and privilege of being a volunteer at the gardens of HCP. Having previously served on the Board, I currently volunteer in the office one afternoon a  week and get to meet and greet visitors who come to the gardens.  This is a milestone year as we celebrate our 40th anniversary of the HCP. Thanks to the hard work of the staff and volunteers during this time.The gardens have grown and developed into a destination spot for both visitors and residents.
  • Ruby Littlepage

In the ‘90’s while living in Mississauga, Ontario we came out west to visit close friends living in James Bay. They took us to visit the HCP and I was so impressed that when we moved here in 2001, the HCP was my first volunteer opportunity. My volunteer philosophy has always been to make a contribution and also to allow the volunteer opportunity to enhance my knowledge. I was adding a greenhouse to our new home so decided I needed to learn much more about propagating plants. Hence, the polys were a natural area of the HCP gardens that would best fit that criteria. So in the past 18 years I have learned much about propagation both at HCP and in my own garden. It has been a pleasure to see the movement from plant sales being mainly plants brought in from established nurseries to plant sales being almost all plants from either the HCP gardens or our own gardens … all propagated from either seeds or cuttings. The change in that philosophy has had a postive impact on HCP’s financial bottom line.
In the past couple of years as part of the Master Gardener Association contribution to the Gardens, I have volunteered to give tours to visitors from throughout North America. They leave being so impressed not only with the gardens but also with the volunteer commitment to the gardens. They frequently remark that they doubt whether that would ever happen in their own community. Ours is a garden for gardeners … opportunities to not only volunteer our expertise but also to learn much by doing so. 
  • Mel MacLeod

"... When I was first asked to briefly express my feelings about HCP after more than ten years as a volunteer, my immediate thought was to simply write "I love HCP" forty or fifty times.
After all, where else could I contribute to and be a part of 104 acres of year-round beauty? Where else could I gain a wealth of botanical knowledge and ideas without a princely financial cost? And, as another volunteer noted, where else could one be "...for three hours each week and always be surrounded by cheerful, productive people."   
  • Mariev Wade
Forty Years and Still Growing!
by: Deborah Donahue, General Manager
For 40 years people from all over the Greater Victoria area and British Columbia have enjoyed the evolution and achievements of HCP. Please help ‘Keep our Flowers Blooming’ at the Gardens by joining the staff and volunteers in celebrating our 40 years of achievements by giving a gift of $40 or more.

  • Your gift of $40 will buy one week of coffee and cookies for our incredible volunteers!
  • Your gift of $140 will buy one truckload of Gravel – ¾ Drain Rock so we are able to maintain our pathways.
  • Your gift of $340 will pay for one month of recycling – as we work harder and harder to minimize our garbage and help reduce, reuse and recycle!

Donate to our 40th Anniversary appeal by visiting our website or downloading this form .
Plant Sale Update
by: Linda Petite
When I became Head Gardener in 2013,one of my goals was to increase plant production from plants growing in the gardens. With the help of two polyhouse propagation volunteer groups we increase sales each year. I lead a Thursday group and Giles leads a Friday group. We propagate plants from cuttings, seeds and divisions.

Our biggest challenge over the last 18 months has been keeping a family of five deer away from our plants! The smallest deer can squeeze under the smallest openings and eat all of our plants (profits) in one night. This October, Tower Fence erected an 8 foot chain link fence around the entire polyhouse area. What a relief - no more stacking pots and chairs as barriers each time we leave.

With the increase in plant sales comes the need to increase the area to sell plants. Over the next few months, we will be building a plant sale extension, west of the existing site.
We are excited to have more room to showcase more plants for sale.

A huge thank you to all who support our plant sales. All profits go back into maintaining and developing the gardens.

See you at Hellebore Sunday , March 8, 2020.
Floral Design Program - New for 2020
Develop your creativity and technique with the floral design program at the HCP. The program has three levels each with its own certificate of completion. Participants will learn industry-level design techniques, how to work with a variety of materials and how to care for fresh flower arrangements.
This course is suitable for those interested in joining the floral industry and those wanting to create arrangements for a special event. Each level consists of two full days of classroom time and a field trip. All fresh flowers are included in course fees.
Floral Design - Level 1
Saturday - February 29 & Sunday - March 1 - 9:30am - 4:30pm
Field trip - date to be determined
Floral Design, Level 2
Saturday - March 28 & Sunday - March 29 - 9:30am - 4:30pm
Field trip - date to be determined
Floral Design, Level 3
Saturday - April 25 & Sunday - April 26 - 9:30am - 4:30pm
Field trip - date to be determined
$575 HCP Members/$610 Non Members per Level
Call 250 479 6162 to register

We look forward to seeing you all there! For more information visit our website here.
Giles' Jottings
We have been having some extremely nice weather over the last month or so. The cold spell at the beginning of October made me think winter was arriving early but fortunately those cold frosty nights were replaced by warmer wetter days and then the lovely sunshine that we have been enjoying for the last week or more.

And in the middle of October we had what seemed like the best show of ‘fall colours’ I have ever seen at the HCP. The various maples displayed a marvellous range of oranges and reds and all around them other trees developed leaf colours in striking yellows and browns.

We had some discussions about why the colours have been especially impressive this year. I had always thought day length was the main factor causing the leaves to change but that is hardly sufficient to explain 2019’s spectacular show. Cold temperatures will have contributed and apparently there are some people who think plentiful rain can also have an influence. Well, we have definitely been through the whole gamut of weather conditions during October so I think everyone can make a justifiable claim to have been right.

Now, nearly mid-November, we are into the season of winter preparations, renovations and beginning to look ahead to next year. Everyone has been raking leaves and I can’t help smiling; I find walking through drifts of fallen leaves evokes such strong memories of childhood.

There are now few flowers remaining in the gardens, some cyclamen, some last asters, and the amazingly persistent schizostylis, in both red and white, but yellow stems of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’, the deep reds of of low-growing japanese maples ( Acer palmatum dissectum ) and bright greens of bamboos still brighten up these shorter days.
And suddenly I spy the first signs of rhododendron season, two red blossoms on Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth Ostbo Red’ and a pink one on Rhododendron ‘Lillian Peste’. Hints of more just around the corner.
We need 1-gallon pots for plant propagation! Please drop off your extras at the front office.
Save the Date - Saanich Seedy Saturday
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 .   
Bottle Drive
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
College News
November marks the conclusion of the full time certificate program, complete with a flurry of activity. Students presented their final Landscape Design project, took their last Practical Skills exam, submitted their Plant ID files, and wrote the ITA provincial exam. Their achievements were celebrated at the graduation ceremony on November 15. Congratulations to our 19 graduates, and all the best in your future horticulture endeavours!

In the Part-Time Level 1 program, students are working hard in their Botany class and getting outside with Grading and Drainage. Only a month left to go for these students!

Starting on November 18 th , the full time Level 3 and 4 programs begin and run until January 10, 2020. There are 12 students in Level 3 and 11 students in Level 4 – plenty to keep the college, the instructors and the gardens busy!

For current happenings, alumni and current student profiles and more, follow PHC @ pacifichorticulturecollege on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Multiple program options are now open and accepting applications. See below for more information.

Coming up:
Full-Time 2020 Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program (starting January20, 2020)

Pesticide Applicator License Course (Landscape General Category)
  • November 23rd and 24th, exam on the 25th   
  • Please call HCP to register: 250-479-6162

Part–Time Level 2 Landscape Horticulturist Apprenticeship Training Program  
  • January 12 to June 3, 2020 (Monday and Wednesday evenings plus some Saturdays)
  • Application deadline is January 6, 2020
  • Details at

For more information on our programs , please contact PHC at  or call  250-479-6162 .
Youth Programs
For a full list visit our website:
To register for any program please call: 250-479-6162
This is becoming a fun tradition for many families at HCP. It is a fun way to make a door wreath using a variety of plant materials provided for you! That saves a lot of gathering and helps focus on the creating! We will be using wire wreaths and lots of boughs and branches to choose from. Participants are asked to bring along a pair of hand pruners (secateurs), if you have some. An adult is to accompany each child/youth due to the nature of the activity.

The above photo is from a family who participated last year, here is their comment: " Thank you for the wonderful kids wreath-making class on Saturday. The kids had a wonderful time and their wreaths turned out beautifully. Here is a picture of the wreaths proudly hung on our front door.
Merry Christmas!
—Carmen, James, and Carson"

DATE:    Saturday, December 7
FEE:        $25/child/1 wreath
AGES:    5 – 14 years
TIME:    1:00 – 2:30 pm
DATE:    Saturday, December 14      DATE:    Saturday, December 14
FEE:        $25/child/1 wreath             FEE:  $25/child/1 wreath
AGES:    5 – 14 years                       AGES: 5 – 14 years
TIME:    10:00 – 11:30 am               TIME: 1:00 – 2:30 pm


Have you ever picnicked with a frog? Watched a pair of mallard ducks float quietly down the stream while feeding? Snacked on a fairy garden ground cover? These and more experiences await you in our gardens during Pro D Day Camps this fall. Over the past weeks we have seen natures influence of the gardens in these and many other ways. Join me for a day of gardening, exploration, garden crafts and more in The Gardens at HCP.
2019 Date: Friday, November 22,
2020 Dates: Friday, February 24; Monday, April 27; Friday, May 15, 2020
Times: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fee: $38/child
Ages: 5.5 years (school age) – 12 years

Garden Club is an open concept learning opportunity for children and youth of all ages who enjoy gardening and exploring the out of doors. Each month we meet to a assess our plot and participate in seasonable gardening with lots of hands-on activities. Our tasks range from creating Lasagna Gardens and container planters to seeding, weeding, and mulching. There is no end to the possibilities!
Club Dates: 9:45 am – 11:45 am (Saturdays 2019 – Mar 2, April 6, May 4, June 1, Sept 7, Oct 5, Nov 2, Dec 7)
Cost: $10/2 hr session
Ages: All ages welcome! Children under 6 need to be with a supervising/participating adult
Community Education
For a full list of our Community Education workshops , click here .
Wreath-Making Workshops

Saturdays & Sundays – 10:00am – 12:00pm / 1:00pm – 3:00pm
November 23, 24, 30 & December 1, 7, 8

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. 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! Participants should bring garden gloves and secateurs/shears to class.

HCP Members $40
Non-Members $50

These workshops are sold out but are taking waitlist spots. Call 250-479-6162 to get on the list.
Christmas Grinch Table Centrepiece

Sunday , December 15
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Floral designer Linda Rambaud will teach you to create your own Grinch tree using cedar branches, bring your own ornaments to decorate this long lasting Christmas arrangement.

HCP Members &
Non Members $125

Call 250 479 6162 to register

Plant Identification

With Diane Pierce
One Saturday a month 1pm – 4pm

November 16 & December 7
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 & common names, plant descriptions, cultural requirements, general maintenance and landscape uses. This is an ongoing course & 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 register, call 250 479 6162
Grow Your Own Way Wellness Journey

Sundays , 2:00pm - 4:00pm
2020 Dates: January 26, February 16, March 15, April 19, May 17, June 14
Instructor: Marnie Dangerfield
This program is designed to allow you time in nature.... to slow down, pause, refresh and connect to your inner wisdom. There will be wellness practices led throughout,in a beautiful garden setting. The vision is for you to go through the year and connect to the seasons, to nature and to build community and connection with like-minded women. We will practice awareness/mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, kindness, journaling and intentional creativity ®️ (among other things). The goal is to increase your overall well-being with new wellness habits. We'll focus on decreasing stress while increasing joy.

Cost per class: $45

Call 250 479 6162 to register

Willow Chair Workshop

Sunday, February 9 , 2020 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Instructor: Andrew Kent
J oin 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

Call 250 479 6162 to register

Pruning Ornamental Plants

Tuesdays - February 18 & 25 , 2020 / 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Saturday Field Trip - February 29 / 9:00am - 12:00pm
Instructor: Patty Brown

Gain an understanding of how and why plants respond to pruning. This workshop will help you get the results you want with any plant in your garden. Patty Brown, Pacific Horticultural College instructor will take you through the steps, theory and techniques of pruning. The workshop consists of two lectures and one hands on session to practice what you’ve learnt.

HCP Members $95
Non Members $115

Call 250 479 6162 to register

Gardens at HCP |