November 1st - March 31st 
the Gardens will be open
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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March E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Hellebore Sunday: March 12, 12:00 - 3:00

We know spring has truly arrived when it's Hellebore Sunday! This annual event signifies the beginning of another great gardening season. We will have many varieties of hellebores that grow well in our climate as well as  companion plants. 

We are offering several of the 'Spring Series' Hellebores for sale this year. They are a diverse group of tissue-cultured cultivars, offering a variety of double or single flowers in a wide range of colours. Because they are tissue-cultured, you know that every plant will look just like its photo even if you don't see it in bloom when you buy it!

Hellebore Sunday runs from 12:00 to 3:00. Master Gardeners, staff, and volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions. 

Don't forget about "Spring Ahead" - Daylight Savings Time starts this Sunday too. Another sign of spring!

2017 Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
Three HCP volunteers, Cheri, and I hopped on the Clipper last week and headed down to Seattle for two full days at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. The theme this year was 'Taste of Spring' and they didn't disappoint. There were spectacular display gardens, shopping in the marketplace,  seminar talks, and demos by top gardening experts.
New this year was Container Wars, where you could cheer for your favorite garden celebrity as th ey were tasked with creating three planted containers in under one hour. Richie Steffen and Ciscoe Morris went head to head, with Ciscoe taking top prize. The picture below on the left shows Richie Steffen, Linda, Ciscoe Morris, and HCP volunteers Carole and Nancy. 

This was my third time attending, and it just seems to get better every time!!
The picture below includes HCP volunteers Carole, Nancy, Adele, and staff members Linda and Cheri. Paula, HCP's Youth Programmer, was also at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.      

Couvelier Pavilion
by: Megan Stacey, Event Manager
As Mother Nature taunts us with alternating snow squalls, showers, and sunbeams, I can't help but tune it all out and focus my energy on spring.

In spite of the weather and presumed "off season", the Couvelier Pavilion continues to bustle with workshops, classes, family events, and (my favourite) weddings! It's been a whirlwind welcome to my new position as Event Manager here and it's all a mere warmup for what's to come when spring truly hits us.

Nevertheless, I accept my challenge and am looking to fill up the calendar for 2017! We still have a few remaining weekend dates for a wedding, family event, or company retreat. For a little more peace and quiet, weekdays offer a serene change of pace for community groups or corporate meetings with exquisite breakout settings. All Pavilion bookings come equipped with complimentary WiFi and audiovisual equipment, along with access to the Gardens for you and your guests. Talk about business mixing with pleasure!

I look forward to crossing paths with more of the HCP's members and guests over the coming weeks. Keep The Gardens in mind while planning your family celebrations or working with local businesses and organizations in your community who may need event and meeting space.

Mason Bees are Here!
by: Jo Volek, Office Manager
We have mason bees in our Gift Shop again this year. Including mason bees in your garden is a great way to support our pollinator population without the commitment of tending to honeybees. While mason bees don't produce honey, they do like to pollinate. At the end of their season, their larva can be harvested and saved for the next spring blooming season. 

Along with mason bees, we have their accessories. If you don't already have a home for them, you can choose from a Starter Cottage, a 
Cozy Home, or a Shuttle. Each comes with a package of nesting tubes. If you already have a home for your mason bees and need more nesting tubes, we sell them separately. We also have a booklet that teaches you how to raise and kee p mason bees each year and a helpful life-cycle poster. 

Due to our late spring, mason bees won't be going out as early as in previous years. They need a nice warm day and enough garden blooms to get them started. In the meantime, the are still sleeping in a nice cool spot (the fridge), and we have ice to help them stay cool while you take them home. You can keep them in your fridge until that warm sunny day shows up. Come on by anytime - our bees sold out quickly last year and we will be seeing spring soon! 

Farewell and Thank You, Anne!

HCP's General Manager and College Director Anne Kadwell has moved on. The staff, board members, volunteers, instructors, and students would all like to thank Anne for everything she has done over the past two and a half years. She brought a lot of energy and positive enthusiasm for the many projects, events, and daily diversions that happen at the HCP. 

While Anne may not miss the commute, we know she will miss the Gardens and of course Albert (Alby), our feline sentry and sleep expert.
Best of luck, Anne, on your new adventures. Come and visit us when you're back in Victoria.
Giles' Jottings
Giles is at the end of a 6-month sabbatical at his family farm in the UK and will be returning to Victoria next month. This jotting is his last from his garden far away.

As we come to the end of February, the winter weather persists. Low clouds cling to the hillsides and most days are cold and wet with occasional sleety squalls.

The only flowers so far brightening our dim days are yellow gorse (Ulex europaeus), snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), and some early rhododendrons.

The ground is soaked right through and even hardy breeds of sheep struggle to find solid ground where there is still greenery enough to graze.

In many places in the mountain uplands, the impermeable rocks trap water and mires develop. Here the cold wet climate leads to waterlogged acidic conditions. The lack of oxygen slows down decomposition and organic remains accumulate as peat.  It is a treacherous surface on which to walk with streams and rivulets running everywhere. A good pair of gumboots is essential.

The plants growing in these situations are adapted to low levels of nutrients, mostly supplied by rainwater and the atmospheric pollutants it carries.

Cotton-grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) forms tall tussocks and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum papillosum) develops into large areas of not-quite-solid spongey islands. Amongst these can be found dwarf heathers (Calluna vulgaris and Erica tetralix) and deergrass sedge (Scirpus cespitosus). The low-growing bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), a relative of our low-bush blueberry, survives here as does also wavy hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuosa). 

And as one might guess, this is an environment that maintains several carnivorous plant varieties. Most familiar on the hills above th e farm are varieties of Drosera,  the sundews, but at this time of year there are few insects to get caught on their sticky surfaces.  I imagine they are as eager for the return of summer warmth as I am.

Highlight on Volunteers - Bob Clarke Retires
by: Cheri le Brun

Bob Clarke, one of our longest standing volunteers, retired from his position as Lead Steward in the Takata Garden on February 28. Bob celebrated his retirement with staff and volunteers who were involved with the project from the very beginning. 

Bob had a vision for a Japanese garden in Victoria. He set to work forming a volunteer group and raising the necessary funds to turn his dream into reality. The Takata Garden was originally intended to be installed in Gorge Park, but the group was unable to obtain permission and requested a space at the HCP. They got an instant "yes" and the rest, as they say, is history. Thanks to Bob's vision, dedication, and excellent fundraising skills, we have this fantastic Japanese garden for everyone to enjoy. 

We learned some fun things about Bob during his retirement speech. Bob has a rich and interesting history and is a natural leader. He has made some positive changes in the Victoria community. For example, Bob was  president of the Victoria Quarter Milers Hot Rod Club in his youth and led the group to become involved in many community projects so they were no longer seen as "those crazy young hot rodders". Many of you may have seen Bob's beautiful penmanship. This is because he was training to become a sign writer. Life took him in a different direction, but Bob retained his artful skill with the pen. Bob was also involved with the group campaigning for a  public smoking ban in Victoria and was instrumental in getting the first law in Canada pas sed to this effect. 

Of course, Bob will not be retiring entirely as a volunteer, only his position as the Lead Steward of the volunteer group in the Japanese Garden. The day after his retirement celebration, Bob was back in the Takata Garden happily pruning shrubs. We hope to see him around the garden for many years to come. One of Bob's wishes is to have a volunteer replacement for his position as Lead Steward in the Japanese Garden. If you have a strong interest in Japanese gardens, please contact the volunteer coordinator to find out more - volunteers @ hcp.ca. We are also looking for more garden volunteers to join the group on Wednesdays from  9:00 am until noon
We had a number of interesting comments re our February Whatzit?. For instance, Dorothy told us that the Edgeworthia papryifera is one of the three Japanese plants from which paper is made. In Nepal, the bark is stripped and used to make cordage for tying and leading farm animals. Alison also identified our Whatzit? as E. papyrifera. Unfortunately, these answers weren't quite correct!
Lynn, Carole, Laureen, Brian, Carolyn, Judith, Tracey, and Dale all agreed it was an Edgeworthia chrysantha - which was nearly correct. Brian and Judith also mentioned the pleasant scent when they are blooming, usually in February. We are told there are three growing by the Sidney library. There are also Edgeworthias at Government House and in the Butchart Gardens, as well as other locations in the area.

The E. chrysantha is said to be hardy to USDA Zone 7, but Brian says it is prone to frost and snow damage and, sadly, the one in HCP's Winter Garden has died.
The correct answer : Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Gold Rush.' It's considered the most robust type with fragrant yellow flowers and reaches a height of 5-6 feet (or just under a couple of metres). It's not considered particularly attractive in the summer, though in Portland the leaves are described as large and lush. For some of us, this is sounding like a challenge we may not be able to resist!

See if you can tell us whatzit below?  Send your answer to  enews@hcp.ca

Pacific Horticulture College
For more information on registration please call the office 250-479-6162 or e-mail collegeadmin@hcp.ca.
It doesn't take long for the PHC students to start blending into the scenery when they're putting their skills to use. Our students were working on the first phase of winter cleanup and pruning. Great work everyone!

Upcoming college courses and events:

The April Pesticide Applicator course is now full. If you would like your name on the list for the next offering, please contact the College.

Youth Programs

To Register: Call 250 479 6162 or email youthprograms@hcp.ca

Upcoming Programs
Once a month the JMG Kids Garden Club meets for seasonal gardening activities in our very own JMG Garden Plot! Our growing season starts early and there is always lots to do!! When the weather is not quite ideal, we can work indoors to start seeds, learn to propagate plants, plan our home gardens, build trellising, and lots more. When the weather cooperates, we spend every minute creating garden beds, amending soil, mulching, planting, weeding, staking, and watering! These are great skills to get your garden enthusiast growing their own food at home. There are lots of take homes, from seeds to plants and harvests whenever available.

CLUB DATES: Saturdays from 9:45 am - 11:45 am on April 1, May 6, June 3, Sept 9, Oct 7, Nov 4, Dec 2
COST: $10/2 hr session or $65/set of 8 sessions
AGES: All ages welcome! Children under 5 need to be with a supervising/participating adult 

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail youthprograms@hcp.ca if you have any questions.

Have you thought about starting your own vegetable garden, but don't know where to begin? Would you like to see how easy it is to create your own growing space, plant and maintain it? Would you like to get your whole family involved? Enjoy eating fresh & local produce without the hidden chemicals. This family gardening program is a great way to learn and practice the basics over a period of weeks while you develop your own home garden. There will be ongoing support including a site visit from a Master Gardener. This 8 hour (2 hrs x 4 session program) will combine some classroom time with lots of hands-on fun! Handouts will accompany the sessions for quick reference. For more information on each of the four Growing Together sessions, click here.

DATES: Saturdays: April 8, April 22, May 6, and May 13  
TIME: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
COST: $100/family unit (up to 2 adults and 3 children)  

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail youthprograms@hcp.ca if you have any questions.

This year we will focus on growing our own food in our gardening camps, including exploration of resident beneficial/pests, soils, organic gardening practices, growing food, and harvesting. We will create a garden, weed, plant, seed, harvest, and sample from the garden. There will be lots of growing things to take home and cultivate for later harvesting. This program is designed for kids who LOVE to be outdoors, are curious about their environment and want to grow their own food. There will also be garden crafts to make for our gardens on site and to take home!

          WEEK #1 March 20 - 24 (9:00 - 4:00 pm)    $175/5 full days
          WEEK #2 March 27 - 31 ( 9:00 - 4:00 pm)    $175/5 full days

        WEEK #1 July 10 - 14 (9-4pm)       $180/5 full days
        WEEK #2 Aug 8 - 11 (9-4pm)         $145/4 full days

Registration is through  Saanich Parks & Recreation .
Whether indoor or out, miniature gardens are the cutest. Join us for a fun session creating a tiny garden to take home. This can be an indoor or outdoor garden, you choose. There will be a selection of plants and containers to choose from. 

DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 18, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
COST: $25/child (materials provided)                                     
AGES: 3 to 12 years (under 5 with an adult)

Call 250-479-6162 to register or e-mail youthprograms@hcp.ca if you have any questions.

This one-session program will teach kids about the plants that pollinators love and how to grow them. There are seeds and starts for  creating your own Native Pollinator Garden at home.

DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 1, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon
COST: $20 (materials provided)                                     
AGES: 5 to 12 years

This course is a fun way to grow plants from cuttings. If you like to watch things grow, you will love trying these experiments at home. Learn about taking cuttings, natural growth hormones, and what kind of growing medium to use to grow lots of plants from cuttings on your own!

DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 29, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
$20 (materials provided)                                     
AGES: 8 to 14 years
         WEEK #1 July 24 - 28 (5-11 years)

TIME: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm         
COST: $95/5 half days

Upcoming Workshops

Plant Identification and Culture 2017
with Diane Pierce
March 18th, April 29, & May 27
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.

Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent
Sunday, March 12
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 and work with different sizes of willow to create your chair. All tools will be provided.

HCP Members $250
Non Members $275
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

Cedar and Willow Bark Cat's Head Basket
with Joan Carrigan

Saturday, March 25 or
Sunday, March 26
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
This basket is woven with cedar bark spokes and willow bark and is woven in a continuous twill pattern. We will shape the basket in the style of the Cat's Head basket associated with the Shaker tradition. These baskets start with a square base and are woven in a unique way to achieve a rounded shape. The rim of this basket is a decorative variation using yellow cedar bark three strand twining.

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

Grow Your Own Cut Flower Garden
with Eidwenn Thomas
Sunday, March 26
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Learn the secrets of growing your own flowers for cutting and arranging with floral designer, Eiddwen Thomas. Eiddwen is the owner of Cartref Gardens, a commercial cut flower farm in North Saanich. Growing your own flowers can be a very rewarding and creative experience. You can select which flowers you want to grow according to your own style and taste. Having your own flower garden will ensure fresh quality for the very best of flowers for your home, special events, or for gifting. Growing your flowers organically can also provide benefits to the local environment. This class is part of a seasonal series and can be taken on its own. Participants in the Spring class will learn what to do in April/May for their own cutting garden. This session will include what plants can be grown in the Spring for cutting, starting your own seeds, locating the site for your cutting garden, and preparing the soil. 

HCP Members $45
Non Members $60
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Art of Bonsai - Design & Care Workshop
with Mark Paterson
Saturday, April 1
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Come learn the art of bonsai with Mark Paterson, President of the Vancouver Island Bonsai Society. This is the first of a three-part series. In Part One, Mark will teach you how to apply bonsai techniques to a 1-gallon sized plant which you get to take home with you. You will learn bonsai history, design, and care. The class will also cover how to choose potential bonsai stock and how to use plant training to increase aesthetic value and monetary value to your new plant.  

Part Two on May 20 will cover Root Cutting.
Part Three on September 23 will cover later season and Winter care.

HCP Members $140/ Series or $60/Part 1
Non Members $160/ Series or $70/Part 1

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

Medicinal Herb Walk & Wildcrafting Workshop
with Lily Fawn
Sunday, April 2
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Join Herbalist and Teacher Lily Fawn for a lovely medicinal herb walk and wildcrafting adventure at the Gardens at HCP. Tour the beautiful medicinal herb garden, native plant garden, and the conservation areas. Learn about wildcrafting, foraging, herbs as medicine, and how/when to pick wild medicinals. Additionally the class will include a harvest which we will use to prepare an edible herbal snack to share or take home.

HCP Members $40
Non Members $45

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

The Nature of the Native Plant Garden Workshop
with Kristen Miskelly
Saturday, April 8
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Many people are interested in environmentally friendly and low maintenance gardens that will attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to their garden. By gardening with native plants, you can bring the beauty of southern Vancouver Island into your own backyard while also providing numerous other benefits.

Kristen Miskelly, biologist and owner of Saanich Native Plants, will provide information on our local ecology, caring for and maintaining a native plant garden, native plant identification, propagation techniques, and benefits of native plants to wildlife.

Special emphasis will be placed on the use of edible, deer resistant, and drought tolerant species.

HCP Members $45
Non-Members $60

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

Getting Started with Backyard Beekeeping Workshop
with Gordon Mackay
Sunday, April 9
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Have you ever wanted to start keeping bees but didn't know where to start? Would you like to see improved fruit production in your garden along with the potential of having your own honey? Learn the basics of beekeeping with Gordon Mackay.
In this workshop we will cover the basics of how to start your first colony. We will look at the various parts of the hive and what is involved in setting up and maintaining your colony in your first year. We will talk about some of the potential challenges and ways to mitigate these. The favourite plants that honey bees are attracted to will also be covered.

HCP Members $25
Non-Members $35

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

Advanced Pruning Workshop
with Ryan Senechal
Saturdays, April 15 &22
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
If you are a hands-on gardener hesitant to prune small trees and shrubs for fear of injuring or undesirably altering the appearance, this course with certified arborist Ryan Senechal is designed to give you the skill you need. In two 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.

HCP Members $90
Non-Members $110

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

Oval Potato Basket Workshop
with Joan Carrigan
Sunday, April 16
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
This is a variation of a Rib basket. Rather than having a single handle, this variation has two built-in side handles. We will be using willow for the hoop and a combination of dyed reed and seagrass for the weaving. This class is suitable for both experienced basket weavers and those new to weaving. Joan is an excellent teacher and artist and taking her classes can become addictive!

HCP Members $120
Non Members $140

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

Herbal Tincture Making Workshop
with Lily Fawn
Saturday, April 29
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Herbalist Lily Fawn shares the secrets of medicinal tincture making. She will walk participants through the different types of tinctures and the various ways to make them. This herbal workshop is designed seasonally in order to utilize fresh wild-gathered or herbs from the garden. This session will also offer an informative introduction to a materia medica of the herbs used in the class and receive a detailed handbook outlining all the information covered in class. You will get an opportunity for hands-on participation in making your own tincture to take home. Herbal tea and treats are complementary during class time and all supplies are included.

HCP Members $45
Non Members $50

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

Propagating Plants Workshop
with Gordon Mackay
Sunday, April 30
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
In this workshop, participants will learn about the main types of plant propagation - from cuttings, seed, division, and layering. Due to current trends and demand, sufficient time will be made for fruit tree propagation which can be done by grafting and budding. The focus will be on hardy outdoor plant material. Participants who have a grafting knife should bring it along as there will be opportunities to practice grafting and taking cuttings.

HCP Members $35
Non Members $45

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

Fill Your Boots Succulent Workshop
with Linda Petite
Saturday, May 6
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
This workshop will give you another way to love that old favourite pair of boots. Bring along an old pair of boots to use as planters for a creative arrangement of succulents. Our Head Gardener Linda Petite will guide you through the process and teach you some tips about working with succulents. Succulents and soil are provided.

HCP Members $30
Non Members $45

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

Saturday, May 13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Back due to popular demand! This workshop will provide practical advice on how to convert a conventional lawn to a meadow habitat using a variety of techniques. Kristen Miskelly, biologist and owner of Saanich Native Plants, will guide participants through developing a site plan, site preparation, planning materials, and maintenance. Participants will go home with some of the tools needed to embark on their own lawn-to-meadow restorations.

HCP Members $45
Non-Members $60

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

The Bookend
Carolyn, our Saturday volunteer in the HCP library, has suggested that you might enjoy "Best Flowers to Cut and Grow" by David Joyce. This book contains information about flowers we might like to grow in order to have nice arrangements for the house. Unfortunately, not all plants lend themselves to indoor displays, but here's a chance to learn from a writer who has an artist's eye and a gardener's knowledge  - with 250 photographs to help us learn how to create striking displays.
Hint: This may help us decide what to plant in our cutti ng gardens this year!