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

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

View on Instagram

June  E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Update on the Couvelier Pavilion 
Many of you have been following the progress of the Mel Couvelier  Pavilion since it was opened in 2013, and we are very pleased with how it has developed to become a thriving enterprise, supporting the Gardens at HCP's future. The Pavilion is used for in-house presentations, College classes, meetings, as well the facility rental programs that have grown steadily since it opened. It is incredible to see the Pavilion transformed from a corporate retreat to a trade fair to a wedding.
On May 29,2017 the Upper Green Roof on the Couvelier Pavilion was installed making the Pavilion a true extension of the gardens.  Kevin Kersten of BC Green Roof hoisted locally grown Sedum mix mats with a crane onto the roof.

The roof has a root barrier and a drainage layer to provide free flow of excess water to the roof's downspouts. On top of the drainage layer there is a layer of soil mix in which the Sedum will grow. The Sedum mats were then rolled out onto the soil, forming an instant plant cover. The Sedum is drought resistant, and we are pleased to have put this final touch on the Couvelier Pavilion.

Japanese Tea Ceremony in the Gardens: Sunday, June 11, 11:00 to 1:00

The Gardens at HCP is delighted to be hosting the Urasenke TankĊkai Victoria Association for three tea ceremony demonstrations in our stunning Zen Garden.
Demonstrations by facilitators and students of the UTVA will be at 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm. An English-speaking narrator will be present to answer questions following each demonstration.
The event is free with admission to The Gardens at HCP. Please note that visitors with limited mobility may require extra time to navigate the Gardens.
See you there!
Adults: $12.00
Students and Seniors: $9.00
Under 16: Free
Members of the HCP: Free
Registration Opens for
Year Round Harvest with Linda Gilkeson & Master Gardeners 2018 

Registration for two of our most popular Community Education programs will be opening the first week of July. They are the Year Round Harvest Program and the Master Gardener Program. 
The Year Round Harvest Program with local author Linda Gilkeson is perfect for those wanting to grow their own food. Linda will cover everything you need to know from seed to harvest in 10 classes. Classes are held one Sunday afternoon per month from January until October. Participants learn all about local growing conditions, best varieties for our climate, handling pests and diseases and preserving the harvest. Linda has a wealth of local gardening knowledge and generously shares her valuable tips with the class. There are many opportunities to ask questions during the program. This class is great for beginner gardeners and experienced gardeners alike.  
Another Community Education favorite is the Master Gardener Program. This comprehensive 13-week program is perfect for the novice or experienced gardener wanting to gain current gardening information. Classes are held twice per week on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings from February until May. Participants will be learning from top-notch Pacific Horticulture College instructors and guest speakers. Classes cover soils, plant identification, pruning, food production, botany and more. Some classes will have a practical component or field trip. Those completing the program have the option to go on and join the Victoria Master Gardener Association (VMGA) as Master Gardeners in Training. The association has over 100 members and is a wonderful community to join for those who love gardening. 
Needless to say, both of these popular programs fill up quickly and spaces are limited. Those on the interest list will have the first option to register. To add your name to the interest list, please call us at 250 479 6162. For more information, visit our website
Picnic Night - June 28th 

Come join us the last Wednesday of each month through the summer for a wonderful picnic evening. The Gardens are extra magical in the evening. Admission is by donation from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Bring a picnic supper with your family and friends, stroll the Gardens, and listen to live music in the courtyard.
For a special treat, pre-order your picnic from Charlotte and the Quail. 
Plant of the Month - Astilbe 'Chocolate Shogun
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener 

This Astilbe is a stunning new introduction from Japan with rich chocolate maroon foliage. It features plumes of light pink flowers through the summer. Give it 2 feet of height and spread. With part sun requirements it is an easy to grow perennials. You should know that the only thing they cannot tolerate is drought.

If you think you might have a spot for one of these beauties we have them for sale in our newly painted plant sale area. Let's be honest, we can always find room for a new plant! 
Arts & Music in the Gardens
Seeking Vendors 


This year Arts & Music at the Gardens will be including a Harvest Theme. If you know anyone who sells jams, fresh produce or another tasty treat please share this opportunity with them. All interested vendors can contact us at
Seed Sale in the Gift Shop 
Seed Sale! Mix and match any three (3) packets of West Coast Seeds for $10! Get those beans in the ground before it's too late!

Sale ends June 30. While supplies last.
Giles Jottings 
There has been tremendous work renovating the Plant Sale area recently, repairing old timbers and giving it a lovely new paint-job. And somehow the dark grey colour sets off beautifully not only the fresh plants on sale but also the drought-tolerant garden next door where the Phlomis are currently in full vivid yellow, their flowers set against the mass of silver grey leaves. The gardens are finally waking up in this slow year.

And a native that is currently flowering in some perhaps less-frequented places is the nootka rose (Rosa nutkana), the rose that grows wild here especially at forest-edges. It grows in the less-tended areas of the HCP, down the sides of the track from the polyhouses to the lower road, and along the lower road to the interurban car-park, on the south-facing slopes of the Western Woods. It is a little like the dog-rose of the Old World, Rosa canina, a simple five-petalled wild rose, and it flowers abundantly at the moment with a sweet fragrance. 
I was reading somewhere that nootka rose is important wildlife browse. "Mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, caribou, bighorn sheep, bears, coyotes, and various rodents eat the fruit. Squirrels, mice, beavers and porcupines eat the twigs and leaves."  I dream of meeting any or all of them as I walk along to the Conservation Park. 

On the lower road, around the settling pond, the robust invading blackberries, Rubus fruticosus, are being dug up by volunteers to allow the space perhaps for our native Nootka rose to spread back. 
From where it is of course not far to the Takata Garden where many new volunteers have brought order and life back into a garden that had become a little neglected of late. It is such a tribute to Bob and everyone who has ever given their time there; it is a marvelously created stream garden that all visitors enjoy but it takes a lot of work to keep it as beautiful and weed-free as it is. Chelsea's Wednesday group have made such a difference recently; it's so nice to see new volunteers taking care of a loved old garden.

And not to be missed, next door at the foot of the Doris Page, the white libertia, Libertia grandiflora, and the yellow columbine, Aquilegia flavescens, make a definite loud statement that June is here.
Summer Wedding Season at the Gardens at HCP
by: Megan Stacey, Event Manager 

It's finally starting to feel like summer after a long, wet spring... and with summer comes "wedding season!" 
2017 has 38 weddings booked - 12 have already occurred! Weekend visitors to The Gardens can expect weddings nearly every Saturday from now through October, with potential for more to be added in the late fall. Some weddings are a simple ceremony on the bridge in the Takata Garden, while others are large affairs on the Gathering Place. Some couples choose to elope and simply book the Couvelier Pavilion to have a party!
If you plan to visit over the coming weekends, here are some tips to help ensure everyone has a great experience:
1. Arrive early.

Our summer hours are 9:00am-5:00pm, but most wedding ceremonies don't get underway until 3:00pm or so. By arriving early, you've got the best shot at a half-empty parking lot and a quiet, tranquil garden.
2. Check in at the reception desk.
Even if you're a Member and you're used to simply flashing the green card, stopping inside the office gives us the opportunity to let you know about events happening in and around the Gardens, blooms we're excited about, wildlife sightings and sales in the gift shop!
It's a thrill to stumble upon a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the Zen Garden (happening this Sunday!), but a bit awkward to walk into the background of the married couple's first kiss. Our front desk volunteers are happy to point out when and where any wedding ceremonies are being held and when they'll finish up.
3. Be flexible.
Wedding ceremonies generally take only 20-30 minutes, so if you find your favourite garden occupied when you arrive, use this wonderful opportunity to explore different paths or start your garden visit with a cup of tea at Charlotte & The Quail.
All wedding clients understand that we are open to the public and that they might have some onlookers. It's all part of the magic of The Gardens! With a little patience and understanding, everyone can have a wonderful visit.
Our continued thanks to all who donated to the construction of the Couvelier Pavilion - we're overjoyed to see it feature in the celebrations and memories of so many lovely couples!
For event inquiries, please contact Megan through email:  
May's Whatzit? was a Saruma henryi, more commonly referred to as upright wild ginger. For those who didn't recognize it, this is a lovely woodland plant for areas of part to full shade. Although similar to native North American wild gingers, this Chinese version is actually more showy. You can find it in the Hardy Borders in the Gardens at HCP.

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

Over the past five and half months, the PHC students have taken classes in Botany, Communications, Pruning, Landscape Design, Plant ID and Soils. In their Practical Skills component, they've mowed, line trimmed, hedge trimmed, dug trenches and fixed irrigation. Oh, and of course some weeding too.
The Urban Garden is planted up with vegetables, and the Farm Garden will soon be overflowing with tomatoes. They've worked alongside the amazing HCP volunteers in the beautiful Gardens at HCP for their Partnership Group rotations, and heard from various guest speakers on topics ranging from Invasive Plant Management to Beekeeping to Ethnobotany. They've also learned around 150 plants in their Plant ID class!
With warm weather finally arriving (fingers crossed), the students have visited local farms and organizations to continue expanding their horticultural horizons. And finally, come the first two weeks of July, the students will have a well-deserved summer break for their hard work and dedication. After that... back to school for a few more great months of learning, laughter and plant lovin'!

Upcoming Events:

Pacific Horticulture College is now accepting applications for the Landscape Horticulture Certificate program in 2018! The deadline to apply is  November 1, 2017. Please visit our website or contact us with any questions about the program or the application process at

PHC is also accepting applications for the Part Time Level 4 Apprenticeship program, from  August 8 to December 13, 2017, as well as the Full Time Level 3 Apprenticeship program beginning on  November 20, 2017. Please contact PHC at if interested!

There will also be a Pesticide Applicator License Course offered On August 14th  and 21st  with the Exam on August 24th . Additional dates will be scheduled in the Fall. For more information, please e-mail or call 250-479-6162.
Youth Programs

To Register: Call 250 479 6162 or email

Summer 2017 Programs

We have been gardening with children for over a decade in this hands-on and outdoors garden camp. Everyday campers are busy planning, creating, maintaining and harvesting from our very own JMG Garden Plot, with the help of Victoria Master Gardeners. Eating fresh from the garden and creating easy snacks provides healthy skills that last a lifetime. As we learn about growing plants and food, we also cultivate an understanding of native pollinators and the ecosystems that support our gardens! (Please register through
for all JMG Camps)
Week #1 July 10 - 14   Time: 9-4pm   Cost: $180/5 full days   Ages: 6 - 11 years
Week #2 Aug 8 - 11     Time: 9-4pm  Cost: $145/4 full days   Ages: 6 - 11 years


There is a lot of inspiration in the Gardens at HCP to create art using a variety of natural materials. We will make take home pieces including planters, plant stakes, miniature gardens and other practical and beautiful work. This is a good group for children who cannot get enough crafting and a nice break from the usual summer routines.
Date: July 24 - 28     Time: 9-12 noon     Cost: $95/5 half days     Ages: 5 + years


Join us on these Tuesdays for ... STORIES IN THE SHADE and NATURE AROUND US! 

STORIES IN THE SHADE is a bi-weekly story time designed around a theme that explores subjects such as gardens, bugs, and nature through stories and a related craft. This program is designed for the younger ages (2+), although older children are welcome to attend with their younger siblings. Children under 5 years must be accompanied by an adult.
       Time: 10:00 am - 10:45 am     Dates: Tuesday, July 4 & 18, Aug 1 & 15 from 10:00 - 10:45 am

NATURE AROUND US is a Walk & Talk session for children 5+ geared to the exploration of plants, insects and diversity in the gardens. Participants will tour the gardens at HCP as they discover more about the natural world around them.
       Time: 11:00 am - 11:45 am     Dates: Tuesday, July 4 & 18, Aug 1 & 15 from 11:00 - 11:45 am
Please reserve your spot for both of these programs by calling the Office at HCP 250-479-6162              
*Free with a Family membership or an adult who has paid admission


This session begins with an enchanted walk through the Gardens at HCP. Participants will collect natural materials on the walk to use towards the creation of their own take home Fairy Garden. They will have a chance to explore a variety of materials such as clay, moss, and twigs. Parents/guardians are welcome to stay and participate.
Date: Thursday, July 6             Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 noon    Cost: $15/person       Ages: 5+ years


Explore the amazing world of plants, how they grow and what you need to know to build and maintain your own miniature indoor garden. Participants are invited to bring along a glass container to transform (a great upcycle activity with an open glass container 20cm or less). Plants and other materials will be provided.
Date: Thursday, July 20       Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 noon       Cost: $15/person       Ages: 5+ years
These are very durable and a great way to create a garden path and add art to your home garden. Concrete, stones, gems, shells, and hands will be used to create a lasting impression!
 Date: Thursday, August 3  Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 noon       Cost: $15/person       Ages: 5+ years
This is an introduction to the art of making tea for children, including plant identification, growing, harvesting, and preparing flowers, leaves, and fruit to brew. Participants will host their own tea party to explore the various tastes and scents of herbal tea. Then we will finish by packaging up our own sample tea brews to take home.
Date: Thursday, August 17     Time:  10:00 am - 12:00 noon   Cost: $15/person     Ages: 5+ years
**For registration, please contact the HCP office at 250-479-6162
(Pre-Register for each session at HCP 250-479-6162)
Spotlight on Volunteers

To Apply to be a Garden or Office Volunteer e-mail Cheri at 
Welcome Master Gardener Volunteers 

Welcoming More Master Gardeners as HCP volunteers
This week we welcomed two Master Gardeners in Training to the Hardy Borders volunteer group -  Ian Jaques and Ann Marr. They are fortunate to be working with the knowledgeable Lead Steward, Diane Pierce, who teaches our Community Ed Plant ID class one Saturday per month. Both Ian and Ann completed the Master Gardener program at HCP in May and jumped right in to join the Victoria Master Gardener Association (VMGA) and volunteers at the HCP. Ann is already a keen gardener and Ian, who moved to the Island from Ontario, would like to learn more about gardening on the West Coast.  
The HCP has always enjoyed a close relationship with the VMGA. Many Master Gardeners already volunteer at the Gardens and also volunteer with the VMGA. We were excited to hear that the VMGA volunteer hours can now be earned while volunteering at the HCP. We hope to welcome many more Master Gardeners as HCP volunteers and further strengthen our relationship with this great group of gardeners.  
Upcoming Workshops

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
 June 17, July 15 & Aug 19 
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.

Bee ID Workshop & Introduction to Pollinator Citizen Science App
with Cameron Cartiere, Geoff Campbell, & Dr. Lora Morandin
Sunday, June 11
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Join Cameron Cartiere & Geoff Campbell from Border Free Bees, in collaboration with Dr. Lora Morandin, Pollinator Partnership Canada, for a fun and informative day of hands-on bee identification training. Whether you are a gardener, a pollinator enthusiast, or someone with little knowledge of bees (but great enthusiasm), you're bound to learn something interesting and exciting at this workshop! You'll also get a chance to test the new Insight Citizen Science pollinator monitoring app in the gardens of the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Border Free Bees is a public art and design research initiative of Emily Carr University of Art + Design ( Pollinator Partnership Canada is dedicated to the protection all pollinators and their habitat ( Lunch is not provided, so please bring your own snack or visit the restaurant on site - Charlotte & the Quail (

There is no charge for this workshop, but spaces are limited. To register, call 250 479 6162 .

Grow your Own Cut Flower Garden Workshop - Summer
with Eiddwen Thomas
Sunday, June 25
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

The Summer 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. In the glorious month of June you will learn about what can be cut now from your garden. Eiddwen Thomas 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! The instructor, Eiddwen Thomas of Cartref Gardens, is a flower farmer/floral designer who has a small garden, less than an acre, where she has grown flowers commercially for 15 years -
Subsequent workshops:
Fall season - Growing your own cutting garden  Sunday September 24th from 9 am to 12 noon.
Winter season - Growing your own cutting garden in the cutting garden - date to be determined

HCP Members $45
Non Members $60

To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Bookend
The Library volunteers have been quietly busy this spring. For one thing, the list of books for sale is continuing to be updated as some are sold and others added to the list. Also, the hanging files are being updated and, when finished, will contain clippings and booklets on all sorts of subjects not necessarily to be found in book form.
A book that caught the eye of some staff members this week was one of a very useful series of soft cover books for gardeners - The Horticulture Gardener's Guides. The title of the particular edition we picked up was called simply "Shrubs," by Andrew McIndoe.
The author started with a bit of history about shrubs, followed by advice when buying them. Then there was information about growing conditions that are required and something about pruning shrubs. And then we get to the fun part: Foliage effects. In this section - as on every page in fact - there are pictures to illustrate colours and textures, as well as suggestions for "good companions." There are best plants for particular sites and suggestions for plants that put on their best show in each of the seasons.
This is one of those books that doesn't aim to tell you everything you might ever need to know, but it tweaks our interest so that we might be inspired to study further . . . and keep planting!
Library Hours: 
Wednesday - 9:00 to 12:00
Saturday - 10:00 to 1:00