Nov 1, 2015  to Mar 6, 2016
 the Gardens will be open
10:00am - 4:00pm
Gardens are Closed over the holidays
 Dec 21st - Jan 3th


25% off
regular price
of plants
November 1st!

October E-news                                                
Horticulture Centre Of The Pacific                                                                                                                      October 11, 2015
Giles' Jottings
So now, already a week into October, what are the plants that stand out and catch the eye? Until we get a night or two of cold weather, there are certain standards which maintain their flowers and their colour:  the Verbena bodnariensis are still vividly purple, the Gaura are still a splash of white and pink, but perhaps the Dahlias have the most impressive colours. In the Hardy Plants Garden and in the Cuttings Garden, there are some well-grown Dahlias with lots of flowers in oranges and pinks. And in the Three B's Garden and the Grass Garden there are lovely stands of Asters in pinks and mauves.
In the Winter Garden there are Nerines and Schizostylis in the bed beside the main road (downhill) which are looking very attractive. And further in, in the shady beds, the yellowing Hamamelis leaves seem almost to glow in the dark.
We have had a surprisingly warm week of sunshine recently, but this morning the rain is falling steadily - you can feel the plants appreciating the damp. The grass of the lawns has started to grow again (requiring a couple more cuts before winter sets in), and we have reached the stage where we can reduce the garden irrigation.
We had several weeks when a water main leak in Quayle Road was pouring a lot of water down into the upper pond of the Takata Garden so that the earth in the bank became completely saturated. But finally the source of the problem was identified and Saanich municipal workers came and mended the break. This has allowed the whole upper part of the Takata Garden to dry out, and we can look with more care at what remedial work might need to be done.
Another plant that really looks magnificent at the moment is the Leycesteria Formosa. There is one on the lower corner of the Childrens' Garden that is full of flower; it looks very nice beside the hardy fuschias in the Fuschia Garden.
It feels like a time of transition now. The summer growth is over and everything is recovering with the arrival of fall showers. The students are away on their second stint of work experience and, once they come back, they will have only about another month before their course is finished. As we clean up beds and assess what has done well and what hasn't, our thoughts turn to changes and additions for next year. Before too long we'll be thumbing through seed catalogues again!
Facebook Contest Time!

Win 4 passes to the Gardens at HCP by sending us your favourite Harvest-time Recipe! Post the recipe on Facebook or e-mail it to , ideally with a picture of your garden or the food. The winner will be drawn at random on October 14th.

Bring the whole family down to the Gardens at HCP on
October 24th for some black and orange fun!

Habitats Acquisitions Trust will be here sharing information about bats, and you'll get to do some pumpkin carving (with assistance from our resident pumpkin carving expert in required).
Other activities will include Halloween decorating, pumpkin bowling, colouring, scavenger hunts, and more! Supplies are first come first served, and children must be supervised by an adult.
The cost for the program is $5 and a donation for the food bank - in addition to regular admission.

(Regular Admission: Adults:   $11;  Students 16 yrs + / Seniors: $8.25; Kids under 16:  Free)

What's On in the Pavilion

"Be Plantwise"  -  A free workshop put on by the Invasive Species Council of BC
                             Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
* 8:00am -  Coffee/Networking; Session from 8:30am - 2:45pm
* Learn about emerging and existing horticulture species of concern
* Hear about the innovative PlantWise program designed to stop the spread of invasive species
* Engage in discussion on moving forward in the local area to address horticultural invasive species
* Locally catered refreshments and lunch!

For more information please contact:

* Note: Space is limited; please register by Thursday, October 15, 2015


October Plant of the Month
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener

  Nerine bowdenii
  • Amaryllidaceae family
  • South African native
  • a summer-dormant perennial bulb with leafless stems and bright pink flowers in autumn 
  • good cut flower, light fragrance
  • plant 2-3 inches deep in tight clumps for a dramatic late season display
  • well-drained soil, full-part sun
  • suitable for containers as well as garden beds (we have them for sale at HCP now)
  • RHS award of garden merit
October to do list
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener

  • harvest and store crops from your veggie garden and fruit trees
  • last chance to plant garlic to harvest next July
  • seed cover crops (green manure)to minimize erosion and reduce weed growth in empty garden beds (West Coast Seeds have a good selection)
  • October is the best time to plant conifers, trees and shrubs, and perennials (The soil is warm and roots will become established quickly.)
  • clean up and divide overgrown perennials
  • plant spring blooming bulbs for continuous winter/spring color

Volunteer BBQ

To everyone who came out to the Volunteer Appreciation BBQ,  thank you for helping us make it a success!  Staff cooked smokies and salmon and served some catered salads and cake. We had lots of fun giving out the door prizes and seeing all the familiar faces that make the Gardens at HCP such a great place to be.
(Volunteers have contributed nearly 13,000 hours to the Gardens at HCP so far in 2015.)
For more information about our volunteer program, please e-mail Cheri at


Spotlight on: Front Desk Volunteers 

As part of a new feature that will highlight the volunteers at the Gardens at HCP, we are starting with the Front Desk Volunteers. This group of dedicated individuals is the front line of HCP. Public visitors, event clients, students, professional partners, and everyone else who comes in or calls the Horticulture Centre is assisted by this group.

These volunteers range from newcomers to the Gardens - like Linda, who recently moved from Edmonton - to longtime HCP supporters like Ruby, who used to be the Board President. Ask Dave about his adventures around the Arctic and Middle East sometime. Sandy has got us through some crazy Saturdays with weddings, tour groups and even wind storms. They all are just a great bunch!

This group brightens our day, and we appreciate all their help to ensure the success of the operations of the Gardens at HCP.

We are sad, however, to see that our dedicated Monday person of two years, Sigrid, is moving on. She has gone above and beyond in her contribution and we wish her all the best.


Octob er's Whatzit is not a common plant in this area, but you may have seen some for sale at the HCP fall sale. See if you can tell us its correct name.

If you already have one, we'd be happy to hear about your experience with it.) 
Send your answer to

UPDATE:  HCP at the Saanich Fair

HCP volunteer and Board member Ian Duncan wrote an article in last year's eNews suggesting that HCP volunteer groups should consider entering veggies and flowers in the Saanich Fair.

So, last month,  three groups took on the challenge and entered items in the Saanich Fair's "Vegetable/Herb" categories. (Those three groups were the Herb Garden volunteers, the Veggie Garden volunteers, and the Farm Garden PHC students.)

Twenty entries were prepped and taken to the Fair.
The HCP participants did amazingly well for being novices in competitions - as you can see from the results:

1)  Largest Beet - 1st place
2)  Roma Tomatoes - 2nd place
3)  Hard Neck Garlic - 2nd Place
4)  Carrots (short variety) - 2nd Place
5)  Chard (2heads) - 2nd place
6)  Mixed tray of veggies - 2nd place
7)  Squash (Tromboncino) - 3rd place
On the Sunday afternoon of the Fair, PHC student Meghan McCarthy and I volunteered in the veggie section. We chatted with a lot of people about growing food, we handed out HCP brochures, made new contacts, and generally were able to promote the relevance of the HCP in the community.
When I displayed the prize-winning vegetables and ribbons at HCP on the Wednesday after the Fair, the buzz and excitement among the students and volunteers was inspiring! We are looking forward already to more entries (and ribbons) in next year's Fair!!
Thank you to all who were involved.
Linda Petite, Head Gardener

Community Education

To register for the following Community Education Programs, please call  250 479 6162 or email

Date: November 7th
Botanical Soap Making

Where can you combine your green thumb with a penchant for home-made soap?
Why, at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, of course! Using flowers harvested from the Gardens at HCP in late August, come and create unique, earth- and skin-friendly soaps along with community members.
Grace Wolf, of Hands Together Traveling Soap Company, brings all the materials and patiently guides interested adults (and near-adults) to  safely create cold-process soap from scratch.
Each person contributes to the creation of beautiful waste-free soap and takes home with them a  box of soap and instructions for care.  Perfect for holiday gifting! And in the spirit of giving, a portion of our creation will be donated to a local charity.
Important Information for Participants:  Please wear long sleeves, long pants and closed-toe shoes.  Inform us of allergies to any of the following: coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, peppermint, lavender, lemon, orange, aniseed, nuts, chocolate.

Time:  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
HCP Members $65
Non-Members $75

Date: Sundays, starting January 2016 
Year Round Harvest

One of our most popular workshops with Linda Gilkeson, author of West Coast Gardening and Backyard Bounty amongst others.

The mild winters of Coastal British Columbia make it possible to grow and harvest vegetables all year around. In 10 sessions, Linda will cover "the field" from seeds to harvest for both large and small urban gardens.

To sign up:  At the HCP front office, by phone 250-479-6162, or email

Time: 1:15 pm to 5:15 pm
HCP Members: $525.00 per sessions
Non-HCP Members $735.00 per sessions

Date: Sundays in 2015: October 17th, November 21st, and December 5th 
Plant Identification & Culture
This is an on-going course and can be joined at any time. All year long, one Saturday a month, Diane Pierce will introduce students to 25 new plants: Latin and common names, plant descriptions, cultural requirements, general maintenance and landscape uses. This course is perfect for new and experienced gardeners and those new to Victoria.

To sign up:  At the HCP front office, by phone 250-479-6162, or email

Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
HCP Members: $35.00 per session
Non-HCP Members $45.00 per session

Date: Nov 22, 2015 
Random/Wicker Woven Basket

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 birds' 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 worthy of holding your attention if nothing else.
Tools to bring: sharp scissors, an old towel, spray bottle.

To sign up:  At the HCP front office, by phone 250-479-6162, or email

Time: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
HCP Members: $115.00
Non-HCP Members $160.00
Date: Oct 25, 2015
Instructor:  Joan Carrigan 
Rush Wine Basket

Using lake rushes (tule), create your own wine bottle carrying basket. We will discuss the harvesting and preparation of rush, which is a traditional European basket material as well as a traditional First Nations basket material. We will be using a mold to weave over, and participants will have the choice of including different open and closed weave patterns - such as variations of plaiting, twill and twining, and cross warp. This basket has a handle for carrying, but it can also be designed to be a flower vase without a handle. Either way, it is a lovely material to weave with. Open to all levels of  experience.  Tools to bring:  measuring tape, scissors, ruler, an old towel, cotton household string, spray bottle.

To sign up:  At the HCP front office, by phone 250-479-6162, or email

Time: 9:30 pm - 5:00 pm
HCP Members: $115.00 per session
Non-HCP Members $160.00 per session
Date: Saturday, November 28th or Sunday, November 29th 
Wreath Making Workshop

Finlay Nicolson , HCP graduate and college instructor, will show you how to create decorative Christmas wreaths. 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. These workshops fill up quickly so sign up soon.

To sign up:  At the HCP front office, by phone 250-479-6162, or email

Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm  or  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
HCP Members: $35.00 per session
Non-HCP Members $45.00 per session
Date: Saturday, October 24 & 31, 2015 
Advanced Pruning

If you are a hands-on gardener but hesitant to prune small trees and shrubs for fear of injuring or undesirably altering their appearance, this course with certified arborist Ryan Senechal is designed to give you the skill you need. In 2 sessions basic pruning techniques will be reviewed and applied to advanced pruning strategies to encourage desirable structure, reduced maintenance and long-term plant health. Your confidence and comfort will grow as you observe and practice field examples of pruning successes and common mistakes.
This course will be outside, so please dress accordingly and bring your secateurs. All other equipment will be supplied. Class size will be limited to ensure individual instruction.

To sign up:  At the HCP front office, by phone 250-479-6162, or email

Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
HCP Members: $90.00 per session
Non-HCP Members $125.00 per session
News from the College

Time seems to have gone quickly this year. It feels as though our full-time students just returned from their summer break and here they are just about a month away from graduation!
After putting in a lot of time here in the Gardens to hone their practical skills, the students have been out for two work-experience weeks with various local host employers in the horticultural industry. We have received excellent feedback from their hosts, and some job opportunities have opened up already.
Anne and Reggie went out for a couple of site visits and were impressed with the work the students had done. Below is a picture of Anne, student Jon, and Butterfly Gardens resident "Little E" (seen through a fogged-up lens in the tropical climate of Butterfly Gardens)!

Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program

We are currently accepting applications for the 2016 Full-Time Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program, which starts on January 18, 2016.
Here's how to apply:
OR contact the college office for more information:
(250) 479-3210 or

Level 3 Apprenticeship Course

For those who are working towards their Red Seal certification, we are offering a full-time Level 3 Apprenticeship Course this winter. The course will run from November 23, 2015, until January 15, 2016. For more information, please refer to our website:

Pesticide Applicators' Courses and Exams this winter
Saturday, December 5, and Sunday, December 6, 9am to 4:30pm
Exam on Monday, December 7, 6:00 to 9:00pm
Cost for the course is $400, which includes the exam fees and three required textbooks. 
Contact or (250) 479-3210 to sign up. 


There's an article in The American Gardener this month that talks about horticultural "bookends." In this case, they're talking about plants that put on a show at both ends of the growing season. Like any lists of this sort, it contains plants that may not grow well here (or not at all)as well as plants that may bloom either earlier or later here than they do in other zones. For instance, Enkianthus is said to bloom in the spring, whereas here on the Coast we would probably consider it a summer bloomer. Also noted in this issue is an article about Junior Master Gardeners. Here at HCP we do our best to introduce children to the pleasures and profits of growing plants, thanks to Paula and her helpers!

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Horticulture Centre of the Pacific | (250) 479-6162 | |
505 Quayle Rd
Victoria BC, V9E 2J7