April 1st - October 31st 
the Gardens will be open
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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September E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Fall Plant Sale 

The Golden Spruce - Picea sitchensis 'Aurea'
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener 

We are very excited about a new plant coming to the gardens next month!!
We will be getting a Golden Spruce, grafted from the original tree in Haida Gwaii in 1964. It is being donated by the Jim Kinghorn family in Saanich. The original Golden Spruce was known all over the world and considered sacred by the Haida people.
There will be a dedication ceremony at 1pm on October 4, 2017, followed by the showing of the film "Hadwin's Judgement" ( ) This documentary film is based in part on John Vaillant's book about Grant Hadwin, the logger-turned-environmentalist, who protested logging company practices by cutting down the sacred tree in 1997.
"The Golden Spruce - a true story of Myth, Madness and Greed" by John Vaillant will be for sale in our gift shop.
Saanich Fair Winners  
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener 
Saanich Fair is Western Canada's oldest continuous Agricultural Fair  and took place on September 2-4, 2017. I want to thank the students for planting the seeds in the spring and harvesting and preparing the entries for display at the fair.

Also thanks to Heather Biasio and Jack Mar for coming in and giving us tips on how to display our vegetable entries.

We WON some ribbons:

Lemon Cucumbers-2nd place
Scarlet Runner Beans-2nd place
Mixed basket of veggies and fruit-special mention
Specimen Cactus-1st place
Succulent planter-1st place
Specimen succulent-2nd place

The Volunteer veggie group won 1st place for their magnificent onions!
Save the Date  
 The Gardens at HCP is hosting a informative afternoon for you on September 27th in the Couvelier Pavilion from 2 PM to 4 PM.
We invite you to join us at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific for an informative Planned Giving Seminar and launch of our new initiative Planned Giving Program - "Partners in Perpetuity".

For more information please contact our General Manager, Deborah Donahue at
Gardens at HCP Participates in Victoria Foundation Community Day  

Since HCP is free for members every day, don't forget to check out all the great participating venues at
Giles Jottings 
After such a prolonged dry spell I am glad to see that we are supposed to be getting some rain over the next couple of days. The ash in the air that has been causing our heavy grey skies has even started to settle out as gritty grey particles on every surface; I particularly noticed it on the leaves of the rhododendrons and if the rain falls at all hard the ground will not only be watered but also fertilized, wood ash being known for its high potassium content.

Recently a lovely pink carpet of cyclamen has popped up in the Winter Garden and red kaffir lilies ( Schizostylis coccinea) are managing to appear here and there despite attempts in years past to try to get rid of them. Bupleurum in both the  Hardy Plant and Winter Gardens are looking very fine, their yellow umbel flowers particularly attractive to bees. And the sequence of seasonal flowering in the Takata stream bed is maintained and continued by the hydrangeas in blues and pinks.

But perhaps the garden that is showing its best at the moment, apparently little affected by the dry weather, is the Fuchsia Garden. All the many varieties are full
grown and in flower, creating such an attractive spectrum of whites and reds and purples. A variety I particularly like this year is Fuchsia 'Mercurius', a rich mixture of red and dark purple.

  And I mustn't forget to mention the sunflower beds. The Cut Flower garden group worked hard earlier in the summer, raising the seedlings and planting the three large beds beside the Farm Garden in order to have enough sunflowers for bouquets during Arts and Music. As luck would have it sunflowers were generally slow this year and they were just not ready in time. But now they are fantastic, a great tall block of glorious sunflowers, all nodding their bright yellow heads together at our strangely dull red sun.

Sunflowers on Sale
Proceeds support the Gardens directly  

We fooled quite a few people with our Whatzit in August's eNews because it isn't a plant that is often seen in local gardens. A number of people thought it was an Acanthus mollis (Bears' breeches)  Although that plant resembles the mystery plant, it was not the correct answer.
Carolyn and Nancy were nearly right!  Both recognized it as a Digitalis. It was in fact a Digitalis lanata 'Café Crème,' otherwise known as "Woolly foxglove."   
For those who aren't familiar with 'Café Crème,' it doesn't have the usual hanging bells of a typical foxglove and it isn't usually as tall. They do provide lovely fawn-coloured blooms over a season that extends from late spring to mid summer. For those who might like to grow some from seed, they are the same as their cousins in that they just grow leaves in the first year and flower on the second. They probably didn't like this hot dry summer we've just had as they seem to prefer some shade and soil that's neither too wet nor too dry.
Sadly, we no longer have a 'Café Crème' in the HCP gardens for you to have a look at. However, our Head Gardener reports that she intends to order seeds again so that we will have plants available in 2018.
See if you can tell us whatzit below?  Send your answer to
Pacific Horticulture College
For more information on registration, please call the office 250-479-6162 or email
Upcoming Events:
Save the Date - PHC 30th Anniversary
Started in 1987, PHC continues to provide excellence in horticultural education. If you are an alumnus of PHC, save the date and join us at the Gardens at HCP on September 17, 1-4 pm for an afternoon of celebration!
PHC Information Session
Considering a career in horticulture? Join us and learn more about the program and the application process on September 25, 6-7 pm.
BC Pesticide Applicator's License Course and Exam
Course: October 14 and 15, 9 am to 4:30 pm
Exam: October 16, 6-9 pm
Cost: $400 including textbooks and exam fee
For more information or to register about any of the above events, please contact PHC at or call at 250-479-6162
PHC Alumni Profile
Name: Arianne Huene           
Graduation Year: 2006
Current Occupation/Employer: A Rose in Thyme Landscape Design (Owner, self-employed)
The program appealed to me in its time frame and intensity, the practical nature of the education, the hands-on approach and the promise of actual work once I finished the program. I have known so many people who finish their diplomas or degrees and then have a desperate time finding good quality jobs, and wanted to be capable of finding or creating employment once I finished the program. The other great appeal for me was having the Horticulture Centre and gardens as my playground and experimentation plot. I would be able to immerse myself in the gardens throughout the year and see the way they shifted throughout the four seasons.  
Plant ID. Hours of detailed notes about that particular weeks 10 plants. And it was worth every long hour memorizing and observing the individual plants. I still remember Mahonia x media 'Charity' and to this day feel familiar with every plant I made a recipe card for. These days there are so many online tools, apps, and databases that the opportunities to learn about plants are endless, but having an instructor take you out and show you the plants individually and be able to learn their nuances through interaction and observation is so helpful for a real world job.  
Practical Skills. Weeding. Hours. Hauling. Hours. We were the muscles and the braun for the various specialty gardens at HCP, and we worked hard. It was exactly the experience I needed to prepare me for working with an actual landscaping crew, and I learned the tricks of the trade in a controlled environment, with guidance and direction. Classroom work can only offer so much. You need to get your hands dirty to really learn about landscaping, and there was no shortage of opportunities with the amazing volunteers at HCP.  
Landscape Design. This was the course that was the hardest for me, but most valuable in the end, because it was the one that combined the practical with the creative and made me use the knowledge I had gained during the rest of the program. It was challenging to channel the information from a site and put it into a useful form, and also to envision the end result before it was built. Meeting a client and discussing their project was intimidating at first, but the program helped to give me the knowledge to address the client's needs and communicate my ideas to them in a constructive and well defined manner.  
There is no better way to learn plants than to directly work with them, no matter how many hours you sit in a classroom. We spent so many hours working with the invaluable volunteers at the gardens, and doing so much digging, hauling, weeding and planting that when I finished I was confident to start my own landscape maintenance business, and also to collaborate with others in the industry on larger design and installation projects. The surprise for me was that I enjoyed working with my clients just as much as I enjoyed working with the plants. Being my own boss and setting my own hours and taking responsibility for myself as a business owner was a big challenge, but it worked.
After having kids and moving to the Comox Valley, I wanted to take my skills in another direction, and so created A Rose in Thyme Landscape Design, which focuses on residential landscape design in mid-Vancouver Island. I create evocative, functional and responsible outdoor living spaces and am passionate about quality design that endures. Organic practices, permaculture, natives and drought tolerant species are all important factors that play a large role in my designs. I now work with CAD based landscape design software to develop my concepts and create 3D digital renderings to communicate my designs to my clients.  
PHC was the right choice for me, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a career in the landscaping industry.
Youth Programs
Fall Programs 
NEW for the 2017/18 school year! This fun and active garden program is modeled after our popular JMG Garden Camps held in The Gardens at HCP. Our program features lots of seasonal gardening activities, nature and crafts to keep the most avid young gardeners growing!
Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Ages:   5-12 years
Cost:   $38/child
Registration by phoning HCP at 250-479-6162 or in the office  
Save the Date for our annual Harvest Festival 
Saturday, October 28, 9:30-11:30 am 
This year is guaranteed to be a slime of a time with special guests, exhibits, activities, crafts and pumpkin carving! This program sold out last year so watch the website and Facebook page for registration. 
Spotlight on Volunteers

To Apply to be a Garden or Office Volunteer e-mail Cheri at 
Event Volunteers  
T hanks to our event volunteers, our 23rd annual fundraiser, Arts & Music in the Gardens, was a great success.  We had a total of 107 volunteers donating over 400 hours of their time. We would like to say thank you to each and every one of them for supporting the Gardens.  
Our regular garden volunteers were excited at the opportunity to show off their gardens. Weeks in advance they work hard to get their gardens in tip top shape for the weekend of the event. When the event arrives, they put down their garden tools and jump in to assist with parking, admissions, plant sales and more. 
We love the opportunity to catch up with the event volunteers who help us with various annual events and fundraisers. Their positive energy gives us the boost we need to get through the seemingly endless to-do list. One volunteer we love to welcome back each year is Ann Teekasingh. She has been assisting with traffic control for the event for the past 3 years. Ann is always positive and helpful. Her smiling face and friendly demeanor keep things flowing in the busy parking lot.
New volunteers who respond to our appeals for help are often individuals who have not visited the Gardens before. They are delighted to discover this hidden gem and be part of the bustling activity of the event. We enjoy meeting new people, and sometimes they return to become regular volunteers in the Gardens.
All of our volunteers - new and returning - share a common love for the Gardens. Their support and care make wonderful events like Arts & Music, Saanich Seedy Saturday, and the Halloween Hoot possible. New visitors discover us by attending these events and the love and appreciation of the Gardens keep on growing.
Upcoming Workshops

Effective Microbes for the Garden  
with Christina Nikolic 
Sunday, September 17th  
10:00 am - 12:00 pm 
Using probiotics in the garden? If you already like the concept of compost tea, you will love learning about Effective Microorganisms (EM). These cultures have similar health benefits in the garden as yogurt has in the gut. Explore how to make and use a fascinating microbial inoculate. Participants should bring a clean empty 1-liter plastic bottle with lid to take away a sample of their own.
Members $25
Non-Members $30
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Watercolour Paper Basket Workshop  
with Joan Carrigan 
Saturday, September 23   
9:30 am - 4:30 pm 
Learn the art of basket weaving with Joan Carrigan, experienced instructor and artist. Watercolour paper is very strong and durable and offers endless opportunities for the basket maker. In this workshop, we will be plaiting with ¼" wide pre-painted watercolour paper creating an attractive decorative vase with curl embellishments. Please bring sharp scissors,a ruler, and a flat screwdriver. Variations of shaping and curl embellishments will be on hand for participants to choose their own design.

Members $120
Non-Members $140
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Creating a Cut Flower Garden Workshop - Fall  
with Eiddwen Thomas 
Sunday, September 24 
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
This Fall workshop is part of a seasonal four-part series on Growing Your Own Cut Flower Garden. Each class can be taken on its own or as part of the series. Learn about beautiful flowers, grasses, herbs, and foliage that you can use in the fall for cutting and making into your own gorgeous fall arrangement with Eiddwen Thomas of Cartref Gardens. Find out about fall clean up and soil preparation for next year. Learn what bulbs and plants you can plant now for colour in your garden in the spring, such as tulips, narcissus, and other gorgeous spring bulbs. Specialty tulip and narcissus bulbs will be available for sale to workshop participants
Members $45
Non-Members $60 
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Backyard Beekeeping Workshop: The First Year   
with Gordon Mackay 
Sunday, October 1st  
11:00 am - 3:00 pm
The interest and popularity of this wonderful craft is increasing every year. It is very important to become familiarised with the hive and the honey bee before you get your bees to maximize your chance of success.
This workshop will focus on the beginner beekeeper who is planning on setting up a hive in the spring of 2018, or for those that have had bees for a year. If you attended our Spring Backyard Beekeeping course with Gordon and want to learn more before setting up your home apiary.  
We will cover the basics of getting started, equipment required, dealing with potential pest (yes we will be talking about those pesky Varroa mites!) and disease problems in the hive along with looking at some favourite honey bee plants. We will also cover some tips on how to get your bees ready for winter. There will be lots of opportunity to ask questions throughout the class and time will be left at the end for further questions too.
Members $30
Non-Members $40 
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Herbs for Immune Health Workshop  
with Lily Fawn 
Sunday October 7th 
1:00 am - 3:30 pm 
The Fall and Winter brings on the cold and flu season. This workshop introduces medicinal herbs that are effective for boosting the immune system, treating colds naturally and speeding up recovery time. Building a natural home medicine chest is a good starting point from which to explore the uses of natural medicines and their effects on your family. We will discuss the basics, what remedies to have on hand and how to use them. You will also make an herbal immune boosting tonic to take home.
Members $45
Non-Members $50
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Kombucha Workshop   
with Kristy and Mark Mackenzie-Moore 
Saturday, October 14 
1:00 am - 3:30 pm 
Is there an inner brewmaster hiding in you? This half day course in the art of kombucha tea will instruct you on the proper mixing ratios and techniques to brew your own kombucha. We will explore kombucha with all of our senses. You will get to sample and learn to make primary and secondary fermented kombucha. By the end of the workshop you will be sent home with everything you need for your very own personal kombucha brewing. Please bring a 1 litre glass canning jar with lid and a small notebook and pencil. 
Members $25
Non-Members $30
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Willow Chair Workshop 
with Andrew Kent 
Sunday October 15th 
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.
Members $250  
Non-Members $275
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Hopi Style Wicker Tray Workshop 
with Joan Carrigan 
  Saturday, October 21st 
9:30 am - 4:30 pm 
Learn the art of basket weaving with Joan Carrigan, experienced instructor and artist. In this workshop, we will be weaving a beautiful tray inspired by the Hopi trays of the Southwest. The unique start and the sturdy structure with colour and pattern options, offer the participant the opportunity to complete a unique functional and decorative platter. We will be using dyed reed and raffia to make this basket. Please bring sharp scissors, an old towel, spray bottle, awl, and measuring tape.
Members $120  
Non-Members $140
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
 Oct 21, Nov 18 and Dec 2 
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
A book that is currently on the New York Times bestseller list is "The Hidden Life of Trees - What they feel, how they communicate " by Peter Wohlleben.
An acquaintance of ours has read some of the Wohlleben book and, based on his knowledge as a PhD in Forestry, has caused us to consider whether we would not be better advised to read up on some of the books we already have. In other words, aforesaid friend was appalled that the book is so popular in view of the inaccuracies - in his view - that it contains. He is concerned that the public in general must be rather uninformed about how trees actually do grow to account for the phenomenon. (To be fair, it is interesting and nicely written.)
Perhaps trees are such a common sight in our part of the world that we fail to ever stop and really look at them as individuals or to consider the mysteries of what goes on behind the bark. Now that gardening season is coming near its end, why not drop in at our library one Wednesday or Saturday morning and see what we can find to aid your enlightenment (and to reassure our Forestry friend!)
Library Hours: 
Wednesday - 9:00 to 12:00
Saturday - 10:00 to 1:00