March 7th - October 30th
the Gardens will be open
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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May E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens

Tomato Day
Saturday, May 21st
9 am - 12 pm

  • Everbearing strawberry plants
  • Organically grown veggie starts

  • Herb plants

  • Several varieties of heirloom tomatoes best suited for our climate

  • 25% off hanging planters, great for strawberries and more

  • Free admission to the gardens plus great advice and handouts on how to grow the best tomatoes ever! 

All funds raised from this plant sale support the maintenance and growth of our beautiful gardens.

Annual General Meeting Notice

Date: May 29, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM
  Location: The Gardens at HCP, Couvelier Pavilion
It's that time again where our members gather to review the highlights of the year. This year's AGM will be at 1:00 PM on May 29th and should be approximately one hour in length.
According to the Society Act, the following details must be in place for the AGM to be held:
  • you must be a member in good standing to vote at the AGM (current HCP member)
  • a quorum of 15 members must be present for the AGM to proceed. Please come out and support the gardens you love!
  • voting at the AGM is by a show of hands:
    • Individual & Couple membership is entitled to one vote
    • Voting by proxy is not permitted
    • AGM agenda is attached
    • Annual Report is available at www.hcp.ca after May 14th, 2016
Special Event  -"History of Japanese Gardens" After the AGM  
2:15 PM - 20 min presentation
by Katie Cowl

Last year, we heard about the history of the HCP, and this year we thought it would be interesting to explore in more depth one of our main features of the gardens: the Takata garden. We can discover a little more about the history of traditional Japanese gardens.
Katie Cowl is a graduate from UVic with a major in Art History, Greek and Roman studies and a minor in History. It was through one of her Art History classes that she had the chance to study under Susan Hawkins in photography, landscape, and garden history. Through this course [or these courses - whether it is one or more than one course], she took an interest in Japanese gardens where she researched common features and some of the local history of Victoria's own Japanese gardens past and present.
Picnic Night - May 25 
Picnic Nights at the Gardens at HCP are back due to popular demand - and we have expanded! On the last Wednesday of May, June, July and August we will be extending our closing time until 8 pm. Admission will be by donation after 5 pm. The first Picnic NIght is on May 25th.

Bring your family, friends, picnic dinner and a blanket or just yourself to enjoy a peaceful evening in the gardens. We are encouraging you to make the most of it - bring your art supplies to do some sketching or a guitar to share some music - we want you to make yourself at home. 

A neighbourhood favourite, Mosi Bakery will be offering boxed lunches that you can pick up in the Gardens at HCP on May's Picnic Night. Check their website for the menu, pre-order through the cafe, and pick up when you arrive at the Gardens on May 25th. Easy and delicious!

Giles' Jottings
Oh what a glorious time of the year.
Everything is growing as fast as it can and a whole spectrum of flowers is starting to fill the gardens. Unfortunately, the weeds grow just as fast as the flowers do and we can hardly hope to keep up with their determination to fill in every space. But the rewards of seeing the daily opening of new blossoms happily outweighs the tired knees and aching backs of weeding.

And nowhere are the rewards more visible than in the Rhododendron Garden. Each year I am more impressed. I don't think there is a colour in the spectrum that is not represented as these tough acid-loving shrubs cover themselves in such abundantly frothy flowers - white and yellow and pink and orange, red and even blue.

At the head of the flight of steps out of the Rhodo garden there is a lovely combination. On one side is Rhododendron 'Dreamland' with flowers reminiscent of fat coconut macaroons topped with a cherry. And on the other side, in the last lingering tail of the Winter garden, is a Loropetalum chinense 'Snow Dance' in full flower, looking indeed quite like dancing snowflakes.

Elsewhere, I am specially struck this year by clouds of forget-me-nots. Are they weeds? Should we ignore them in favour of more special plants? Well, I'll call them by their latin name, Myosotis, and perhaps I'll be forgiven for admiring their sky-blue stars. The large purple globes of Allium christophii stand amongst them and the combination is striking. And in the Hardy Plant beds there is a final added accent that is very pleasing, the magenta flowers of Gladiolus communis ssp byzantinus, the Byzantine gladiolus.

Another allium that is making a great show at the moment is an edible one, chives, Allium schoenoprasum. There are plantings in several gardens and they are now at their best. Their pale purple colour is reflected in the irises in the Mediterranean Garden and the Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' throughout the peony bed on the hill above the old orchard.

In the Mediterranean and Drought Tolerant Gardens the Halimium lasianthum is now covered in yellow flowers. It is a relative of the Cistus, though they are not yet out, and the yellow theme is carried on by Phlomis russeliana and Phlomis chrysophylla in the drought tolerant garden and Helianthemums and the rare Vestia foetida in the Mediterranean garden.

I'm a little sad to see the paper-handkerchief trees, Davidia involucrata, are now over, their handkerchiefs lying about on the ground, but the peonies down the hill opposite the heather beds are covered in buds and will be open soon.

And finally to return to the rhododendron theme, to the left of the main iron entrance gate is a wonderful Rhododendron 'Janet Blair' at its peak of flowering. You cannot miss it as you enter the gardens.

Couvelier Pavilion Events
We have had a great year with events in the Couvelier Pavilion and look forward to a busy season! Summer weekend weddings are sold out; but if you are looking for a weekday spot, low season or next summer please e-mail Dana at events@hcp.ca.

There have also been a few more corporate workshops, family events and other interesting functions - we are looking forward to welcoming the Canadian Botanical Association for their conference dinner later this month. Recently, Tourism Victoria hosted their monthly mixer in the Pavilion - it was a smash hit. Visitors enjoyed mingling in in the Pavilion, shopping for plants and walking through the Gardens. Thank you to Tourism Victoria for bringing guests out, YYJ Shuttle for providing transportation and Toque Catering for donating the nibbles. 

Plant Sale Wrap-Up
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Annual Spring Plant Sale. It was a great weekend and sales were strong. Buying plants at the Gardens at HCP is a great way to get unique species and support the development of the gardens. 

See you again next year!

To be or Not to be
by Linda Petite
After over 25 years of gardening, I have learned about the limitations of working with clay soils!
The Ornamental Grass Garden was one of the "top 5 gardens" at the HCP in its day. When I first started working at HCP, people would comment on how wonderful that garden once was. However, during my six years here, the heavy clay, poor drainage and the dreaded horsetail ( Equisetum arvense) have broken the spirit of many workers in this garden.
What is the solution? Should we remove all of the soil, improve the drainage, and start again?
Any suggestions/comments will be appreciated.  (email: Linda Petite)

Quite a few people recognized the lovely yellow challenge in the April eNews. Charles and Margaret identified it as a tree peony and didn't attempt to add any further information. Barb said it was a Paeonia mlokosewitschii 'Molly the Witch', but Beth went a little further and identified it as a Paeonia daurica subsp. mlokosewitschii  'Molly the Witch.'
Diana also identified it correctly but is complaining that she paid a pretty penny for hers four years ago (not purchased at HCP!) and it hasn't bloomed yet. Mary said it was Paeonia Lutea ; Nicola wondered if it might be an Itoh peony, and Chris sent a question:  "How about a going bananas itch peonies?" We can point out to Nicola that the Itoh peony has lots more petals that our Whatzit, but the "bananas itch" suggestion may require some more research by your editor!
As usual, Tommy has an interesting note to add. He suggests that our Whatzit is the loneliest flower as it is the only member of its family (Paeoniaceae) and, like Narcissus' reflection and Hyacinthus' blood, Paeon was turned into a flower by the Gods.  Hmmm...  Some of these flowers go back a long way!
See if you can tell us whatzit below?  Send your answer to  enews@hcp.ca

Youth Programs

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

Wolfing Down Weeds

WOLFING DOWN WEEDS: Part 1 - Wild Teas and Salads

Take in the sights and smells of spring while learning a little appreciation for the lowly weeds peeking out from under the spring flowers. Learn how to identify and collect common garden and lawn weeds, and then take them back to the lunch room to prepare a wild tea and delightful spring salad. This workshop is geared towards families and will leave you with the knowledge you need to start utilizing the weeds growing right in your backyard!

Saturday May 14, 1:00 -4:00 pm       
$25/family of 4 (1 session) or $40/family (part 1 & 2)   *All ages welcome!
WOLFING DOWN WEEDS: Part 2 - Wild Stir Fries and Iced Teas

Part 2 of Wolfing Down Weeds will explore a different group of weeds, those that may at first appear a little less tender and tasty. But don't be deceived by their tough exteriors, many tougher weeds make excellent food as well! Plants will be identified and gathered the same as the previous workshop but this time we will finish the class with a cold glass of iced wild tea ad a lovely summer sauté of our harvest.

Saturday June 4, 1:00 -4:00 pm     
$25/family of 4 (1 session) or $40/family (part 1 & 2 )  *All ages welcome!

Upcoming Workshops

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

The Art of Bonsai Part 2- Root Cutting
 with Mark Paterson
Saturday, May 28
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 second of a three-part series and can be taken on its own.
Come pot up the bonsai you made in spring or learn about root cutting with your own plant.  Learn how to control roots by trimming and using different types of soil. Workshop includes an Asian-style shallow pot.

Part Three on September 24th will cover later season and Winter care. 

Members $60
Non-Members $70
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information. www.hcp.ca/events.

Building with Cob - Garden Bench Project
with Beth Cruise
May 28, 29 & June 11, 12 
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Learn this ancient natural building technique with Beth Cruise. This hands-on cob building workshop will give you the basic, practical skills for building many garden structures like walls, sheds, benches, arbours, bulletin boards, display centres, huts, gazebos, and sanctuaries. Learning the finishing touch of colourful earthen plasters, mosaics, embedded objects and sculptural relief will help you create beautiful, imaginative and functional garden art.
Note that this is a hands-on workshop where participants will be creating a cob bench. The workshop will take place over 2 weekends.
Members $135.00 per session
Non-Members $155.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Composting Basics 
with the Compost Education Centre
Saturday, May 28 
1:00 - 2:30 PM
The Compost Education Centre has been teaching children and adults how to compost and grow their own food for over 20 years. They will be offering some of their great workshops at the HCP this summer. 

In this workshop participants will learn the basics of composting and discover which composting system will be best suited to them. 
Members $15.00 per session
Non-Members $20.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Permaculture Basics 
with the Compost Education Centre
Saturday, June 4 
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
The Compost Education Centre has been teaching children and adults how to compost and grow their own food for over 20 years. They will be offering some of their great workshops at the HCP this summer. 

Permaculture is a sustainable design theory modeled on natural ecosystems.  This workshop touches on permaculture history, ethics and principles, and scale-able ways to apply the theory to your garden and home.
Members $18.00 per session
Non-Members $25.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Flower Arranging for your Special Event 
with Eiddwen Thomas
Come and join us for a creative floral experience. Participants will have the opportunity to design and create their own natural arrangements under the expert guidance and instruction of Eiddwen Thomas, local floral designer and flower farmer. This three-part series will feature locally grown flowers, foliage, grasses and ornamentals as much as possible.
These workshops are ideal for those wanting to do their own floral arrangements for weddings or special events. It is a great opportunity to exchange ideas with others who are wanting to do the same. Each workshop can be taken on its own or sign up for all three. All materials are included in the class fee. 

Boutonnieres and Corsages - June 5th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
HCP Members $75/Non Members $90

Hand tied bouquet  - July 3rd, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
HCP Members $95/Non Members $110

Large arrangements - August 14th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Members $110
Non-Members $125

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Soil Basics for the Home Gardener 
with Christina Nikolic
Sunday, June 5 
1:00 - 4:00 PM
What kind of soil do you have in your garden? How can you improve your soil health? If figuring out how to care for your soil seems like a complex and daunting task, then this workshop is for you.

Instructor Christina Nikolic of the Organic Gardener's Pantry will teach you how to determine the soil types and how they function. You will learn about organic matter and living organisms in the soil and how these impact plant health. You will also be introduced to safe and simple fertilizers and amendments to improve your soil health. The home gardener will leave with the basic knowledge and resources to make the best of the soil conditions in their own gardens. 
Members $30.00 per session
Non-Members $35.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

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

Members $250.00 per session
Non-Members $275.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

The Nature of the Native Plant Garden
with  Kristen Miskelly
Sunday, June 12
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Back due to popular demand! 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.
Members $45.00 per session
Non-Members $60.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Make your own Hypertufa Pot
with  Heather Goulet
Two Sessions Sundays, June 19 & 26
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Learn the art of making beautiful rock-like containers using the hypertufa technique. Each participant will make a pot during the workshop and take it home with them. Hypertufa allows you to use any interesting bowl or object as a mold for your pot. Once you learn the technique, you will be able to create sculptural containers for your garden at home.
Instructor, gardener and sculptor Heather Goulet will teach you how to measure and mix her own recipe for long lasting tufa pots. Participants can bring a vessel with a shape that they like, for example a plastic or metal bowl to use as a mold. Pots can be decorated with leaf impressions on the outside, embedded pebbles, glass or shell around the rims. On the second day everyone will reveal their pots and trim the edges. Heather will also share some options on how to plant and create your tufa garden pot.
Members $75.00 per session
Non-Members $90.00 per session

To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Plant Identification and Culture 2016
with Diane Pierce

Saturday, May 21 (Finnerty Gardens Trip)
Saturday, June 18
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 email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

To Register for classes call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca


Volunteer Spotlight
Now is the time of year to see the Rhododendron garden blooming in all its splendour! The volunteers in this garden work all year round to create a spectacular display of colour and fragrance. Many hours are spent pampering these beautiful plants, and some volunteers come out just to deadhead the abundance of spent flowers each year. The Lead Steward, Bill McMillan, is a retired geologist who has been caring for the garden for the past 15 years. Interestingly, Bill was introduced to Rhododendrons by his boss Stuart Holland, who is also a geologist. The Rhodo garden seems to attract geologists and presently we have two on the team as well as a nurse and schoolteacher from Haida Gwai. The team also fondly remember the contributions of friends who have passed away, most recently Lynn Bissell. 

Don't miss the amazing show the Rhodos and Azaleas are putting on this month and please stop to chat with our volunteers who can share some interesting tips on Rhododendrons or rocks for that matter! 

The Bookend
There seems to be some particular interest these days in our four-legged neighbours - specifically the members of the Odocoileus hemionus columbianus family, otherwise known as Columbian black-tailed deer, and occasionally referred to as those d.... pests!
The HCP library has some information that may be helpful in finding ways to deal with these particular neighbours. A book by Russell Link called Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest mentions them, along with other animals with whom some of us prefer to not associate, such as racoons, skunks, rats, etc. (He also talks about geese, crows, ravens, swallows, etc.) The object is to help us learn how to  co-exist with all the other creatures that live in our world.
Knowing of your interest in deer in particular, however, our library has accumulated quite a few articles that we have stored in our vertical files. (Members may borrow these.) We have saved a few websites that might be useful as well. (These could be emailed to you).
In addition, the Victoria Master Gardeners have five pages (!) of material on the subject, and the Victoria Public Library has a couple of excellent books worth checking out.
So there you have it:  How to find out everything you ever wanted to know about  the pests with the lovely eyes!