As a non-profit organization, we are very grateful for the support of our community. Thank you for staying connected with us during these challenging times.

Where did summer go? I can’t believe it’s fall already! You wouldn’t guess it by the Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’ (pictured above) or indeed the rest of the Gardens. There are still many flowers going strong and absolutely beautiful, thanks to the efforts of our wonderful garden staff -- Linda, Giles, Emily, and our volunteers that work so diligently. We all thank you for creating such a tranquil space to replenish and delight the soul at a time when it’s most needed.

Thanks to the HCP construction crew, Charlotte and the Quail has a beautiful new fence around their patio. Thank you gentlemen, it looks lovely! You may have also noticed that many of our garden benches have been refreshed! Thank you to the Mason Family for their hard work volunteering to sand and stain the benches so that they can stay beautiful for years to come.

Our Fall Plant Sale has been a terrific success so far, but it’s not over yet! There are still many interesting plants to snap up. Please look online and in our onsite plant sale area to find that special plant to add a pop of visual interest in your own garden. Please remember, this is one of our main fundraisers and your support is so appreciated! In addition to supporting the Gardens, you get an amazing plant propagated by our very own Giles. Linda and I had some help with the scheduled plant pickups last weekend from our Pacific Horticulture College students and a flock of quail! I counted over 20.

A reminder to please update your calendars as we have now switched to fall/winter hours: 10:00am - 4:00pm, Thursday through Sunday.

Please stay safe everyone, and as always, we thank you so much for your continued support of this most magical and treasured place.


Last week’s fall rainstorms didn't dampen the enthusiasm of our shoppers! Our Fall Plant Sale is ongoing through the end of October (while supplies last), including our online shopping with scheduled pickup times. More information here:

I will be restocking the onsite sale area weekly, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, please check the online store. Fall is the perfect time for planting, and all plants are 25% off!

Do you have any overgrown perennials that you are dividing this fall? We would love if you donated your extra clumps to HCP for us to pot up and possibly sell at our Spring Plant Sale. Please contact me if you have any available: Plants particularly in demand include:

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum'

Libertia peregrinans

Ornamental Grasses

Sedum sp.

Iris sp.






Please note that I need to have the proper cultivar name of the plant(s) you are donating.

Thank you!


Over the last few weeks we have experienced a very variable set of weather conditions. There were those two or three days when the wind became suddenly hot and dry; I guess it was linked to the smoky conditions that followed soon after. The skies became grey and overcast and even though we knew it was probably only temporary, the persistent smokey smell and livid red sun created an atmosphere I found very oppressive. How glad I was when, after several days, rain began to fall; it wasn’t instantaneous but over about 48 hours the smoke cleared and it was such a relief to see patches of blue appearing once again.

Last week was also rather hard going but this time on account of the heavy rain. Most of the week we spent preparing for the Fall Plant Sale, grooming plants and preparing orders, but it was somewhat dispiriting each day to be thoroughly soaked within an hour of starting work. Yet this week, now the beginning of October, is wonderful. Warm temperatures, blue skies and sunshine; perfect fall weather.

October is hardly the season for extensive displays of flowers but those we do still have look marvellous, creating pockets of colour throughout the gardens. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) and Rudbeckias provide oranges and yellows both in the Farm Garden and elsewhere but the predominant seasonal colours just now are pinks and purples. Sedums are now coming into their own, the larger fall varieties displaying different shades of pinks in both leaf and flower. Crimson flags (Schizostylis coccinea) offer splashes of deeper red though there are also a few recently introduced white and pink ones to be found in the Winter Garden. In the Lily Garden nerines (Nerine bowdenii) show another vivid shade of pink and in the lower bed there is a beautiful tall pink aster. Another more compact aster, a lilac-coloured one, can be found in the Permaculture Garden.

I have always liked Ironweeds (Vernonia spp.) at this time of the year, tall plants with large heads of deep purple flowers, and there is a lovely example at the top of the Hardy Borders. Nearby and taller still are the magnificent Monkshoods (Aconitum spp.) with their attractive heads of large purple flowers. But my personal autumn favourite are the tall Japanese anemones (Anemone hupehensis). They are not always the easiest to get established, they are quite sensitive to humidity, liking it neither too wet nor too dry, but once they are settled they will increase year after year, displaying their delicate pink ‘windflowers’ often over many weeks.

Autumn is a great time to join us here in The Gardens at HCP! In lieu of our usual Harvest Festival, we have an excellent slate of smaller events to get you into the fall spirit, along with our beautiful backdrop of changing foliage.

To kick off our autumnal celebrations, we have our Pumpkin People workshop this Saturday, October 3. This year, we’re inviting families to join us in creating our Pumpkin People display. Space is limited, so sign up now! More information in the Youth Programs section.

If you’re unable to attend the Pumpkin People activity, not to worry! They’ll be on display for great selfie opportunities for the rest of the month. We also have a rotating selection of colouring and activity sheets for all ages to take home from the front desk.

Mid-month, we’ll be learning more about some misunderstood eight-legged friends with a Spider Time display in the JMG Garden. Scary? No way! These gentle friends are a fascinating and important part of our ecosystem, and you’ll be leaning in for a closer look for the rest of the season.

To wrap up October, we’ll be celebrating Bat Week! Bat Week (October 24-31) is an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature. Our friends at Habitat Acquisition Trust will join us on October 24 for an informative walk through the gardens to discuss how these adorable animals assist with pest control, pollination, and spreading seeds. This walk ‘n’ talk is for all ages, but you can find the registration link in the Youth Programs section.

We need your help now more than ever to “Keep the Flowers Blooming”!

Generosity takes many forms, whether it’s volunteer work, in-kind donations or financial contributions. We are doing everything possible to recover as much of our lost spring and summer revenue as possible by trying new ideas, including our online plant sale and selections from our gift shop, both with scheduled appointments for pickup. I personally would like to thank all of you so very much for your support as we transitioned to our new online system. Thanks to you, we’ve had great success with plant sales, donations, and your membership renewals, all of which are a very important part of our annual budget.

If you are able to donate, please click here.

Once again, thank you!


With the fall weather settling in, our Full-Time students are entering their second week of Work Experience, working hard on their Landscape Design projects, and spending lots of time with the leaf blower and in rain gear! A huge thank you to the hosts of the first week of Work Experience: Cordova Bay Golf Course, University of Victoria, Novus Wholesale Nursery, Joyful Agriculture at Haliburton Community Farm, Lochside Nursery and Susanne Osmond Garden Design! It was an intense smoky week for hosts and students alike, and everyone persevered to create a wonderful learning experience.

Meanwhile, the Part-Time Level 1 students are enjoying their Plant ID, Turfgrass and Softscape Maintenance classes both online and in-person. PHC is also now accepting applications for the next Part-Time Level 1 program beginning on January 25, 2021. Please contact for more information.

The college staff are working hard to prepare for the upcoming Level 3 Apprenticeship Training course starting on November 9th, followed closely by the Level 4 Apprenticeship Training course on January 11, 2021. For more information about these program options, please contact or review Please note these programs will be blended delivery, with both online and practical components.

Coming up:

Integrated Pest Management Course (Landscape General Category)

November 17-18, exam on November 20

Please call HCP to register

Custom IPM courses are available for groups. Please contact PHC for more information. All courses and exams are delivered with appropriate physical distancing measures for the safety of our staff and students.

Please note that all workshops are now outdoors, so dress for the weather, including boots!

Pumpkin People

What are Pumpkin People? These outdoor creations are much like scarecrows, and we just love to have them in the gardens for fall. This year, we are inviting families to join us for a fun activity to make a Pumpkin Person and contribute to our fall display for all garden visitors to enjoy! We will provide the supports and pumpkins along with the straw. You bring along some old clothes to donate to dress up a pumpkin person and plan your own photo shoot! Limited to 6 families per session.

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2020

Time: 10:30 - 11:30am or 1:00 - 2:00pm

Fee: $20/parent and child (or family, up to 4 people)

Registration: Online (morning / afternoon) or phone (250) 479-6162

Three Season Planters

Add some colour to your front step, balcony garden, or deck with a planter designed for 3 season interest! This 3-in-1 container garden features fall- and winter-flowering annuals to provide colour now and through winter, and bulbs that will provide spring colour. Bring your gardening gloves and we will provide the rest. Parents are welcome to attend. Limited to 8 participants.

Date: Saturday, October 17, 2020

Time: 10:30 - 11:30am

Age: 6+ years, under 7 must be accompanied by an adult

Fee: $20/child

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Terrariums For Kids

Do you have a glass container to repurpose? Kids love to create miniature gardens, and terrariums are an easy way to add a plant to their rooms, to a shared family space, or to give as a gift. They take just a bit of care and offer a creative way for children to learn about plants and their needs. Bring along a glass container to upcycle (up to 20cm) and everything else is included. Parents are welcome to attend. Limited to 8 participants.


Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:30 - 2:30pm

Saturday, November 22, 2020 10:30am - 12:00pm

Age: 5+ years, under 7 must be accompanied by an adult

Fee: HCP Members $20 / Non-Members $25

Registration: Online (Oct 17 / Nov 22) or phone (250) 479-6162

Attracting Backyard Birds

Birds are a fun way to foster diversity in your backyard. Join us for a bird walk and feeder-making session in our beautiful fall gardens. Then begin attracting, identifying and tracking all the birds who come to feed! Bring along a pair of binoculars for viewing. Parents are welcome to attend. Limited to 8 participants.

Date: Saturday, November 7, 2020

Time: 10:30am - 12:00pm

Age: 6+ years

Fee: HCP Members $20 / $25 Non-Members

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Tea Cup Fairy Gardens

The mystique of having fairies in our gardens has us all intrigued! Learn how to incorporate tiny plants and elements of design into these little gardens for indoor use. We will explore the needs of plants and how to care for them in a miniature setting, while providing a magical place for wee garden visitors! Warning: These can be addictive and so fun to make! Parents are welcome to attend. Limited to 8 participants.

Date: Saturday, November 7, 2020

Time: 1:30 - 3:00pm

Age: 5+ years, under 6 must be accompanied by an adult

Fee: HCP Members $20 / Non-Members $25

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Outdoor Fairy Gardens

Using a selection of winter hardy miniatures, we will create an outdoor fairy garden for your deck, balcony or garden. These will provide a fun reason to move your child’s play outdoors in the colder seasons and makes a great destination to check on during the fall/winter! Parents are welcome to attend. Limited to 8 participants.

Date: Saturday, November 22, 2020

Time: 1:30 - 3:00pm

Age: 5+ years, under 7 must be accompanied by an adult

Fee: HCP Members $20 / Non-Members $25

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Wreath Making With Kids

Join us for a fun wreath-making session and take home a beautiful evergreen creation for your home! With a few how-to tips, and a couple pairs of hands, you will be amazed at how great these turn out. Each one is unique and special! Wondering why you should take the Wreath Making With Kids class and not bring your child to the adult sessions? Our expertise is in providing youth with fun and engaging activities, in a shorter length of time. We also work with smaller frames more suitable to smaller hands. Make this a new family tradition! Limited to 8 participants.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Time: 1:30 - 3:00pm

Age: 6+ years, all ages must have an adult to assist

Fee: $25 per child

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Bat Interpretive Walk

Bat Week is October 24 - 31! Join the Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) on a walk through HCP’s natural areas and learn about our native and at-risk bat populations. Learn about the important role these animals play in our ecosystems and how you can enhance bat habitats close to home. Registration is free, but please bring a donation to HAT’s bat conservation programs.

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2020

Time: TBA

Fee: By donation

Age: All ages (all children must attend with an adult)

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Garden Friends – New Series for Fall 2020!

Children love to explore our gardens while observing and experiencing nature. Together, we will engage in a weekly series of nature activities designed for a parent and child. Each session will include a garden wander, a sharing circle and storytime. Please bring a snack and picnic blanket for storytime and dress for the weather. Limited to 8 children.


Tuesday, October 6 – Helpful Bees

Tuesday, October 13 – Curious About Plants

Tuesday, October 20 – My Senses

Tuesday, October 27 – Garden Birds

Time: 10:00 - 11:30am

Age: 4 - 6 years

Fee: HCP Members $60 (4 sessions) / Non-Members $75 (4 sessions)

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Pro D Day Camps

Join us for an outdoor garden experience where we will busy ourselves with seasonal gardening activities in our very own Junior Master Gardener plot! There will also be exploration of the many natural systems that keep our gardens growing, arts and crafts and more! Limited to 8 participants.

Dates for 2020:

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday, November 20, 2020

Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Age: 5 - 12 years (school age)

Fee: $40/child

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Some classes are best enjoyed with a loved one! Please include in your registration whether you will be sitting on your own or sharing a table with someone in your household or “bubble”. Masks are required at times when physical distancing is not possible.

Willow Tension Trays Workshop

Willow is highly valued as a basket making material. We will begin with a discussion about how to grow, harvest and prepare willow for weaving. Different types of trays will be explored including tension and rib style trays. This course offers an introduction to working with willow and your finished piece is certain to become a favourite.

Instructor: Joan Carrigan

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm

Fee: HCP Members $120 / Non-Members $140

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Acrylics with Ilana - Lily

At its core, this class offers a creative platform for individuals to create, experiment, learn, and socialize; all while working toward their own version of the same painting. You’ll learn about working with acrylics, mixing colours, the application of paint on canvas, and how to create good composition. There is no painting experience required as we’ll lead you through the painting step-by-step!

Whether you paint regularly, haven't painted in a while, or have never painted, painting workshops are a favourite among those who like to try new things, find creative expression, meet new people, and explore new sides of themselves.

Instructor: Ilana Selivanov

Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020

Time: 6:00 - 8:00pm *Please note the time change!*

Fee: $50 (includes all materials)

Registration: Online or by phone

Willow Chair Workshop

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 techniques. 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. This class requires previous building experience or a helper from your household. The fee is for one chair, with one or two participants working together.

Instructor: Andrew Kent

Date: Sunday, October 18, 2020

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Fee: HCP Members $250 / Non-Members $275

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Watercolours with Richard Wong - Red-Tailed Hawk

Learn how to paint the “Red-Tailed Hawk” on Japanese art paper. Everyone is welcome, and beginners are especially encouraged. Richard’s classes frequently sell out so early registration is recommended. Richard’s classes are also fun, relaxed and fully supportive. The Gardens at HCP is committed to providing a safe learning environment, with overhead projection when possible, individual tables, physical distancing, and masks when needed. Come early to enjoy a picnic in the gardens before heading into the Pavilion.

Richard Wong is a local professional wildlife artist with international credentials.  His art is popular. His classes are fun. Learn more about Richard at

Instructor: Richard Wong

Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020

Time: 12:30pm - 3:30pm

Fee: $55

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Plant Identification & Culture

Learn so much about plants with instructor 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, once a month. 

Instructor: Diane Pierce


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Time: 1:00 - 4:00pm

Fee: HCP Members $35.00 ($350 for 12 sessions) / Non-Members $45 ($450 for 12 sessions)

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Random Bird’s Nest Basket

Random weave is one of Joan’s favourite styles of baskets. The structure is beautiful, reminding one of bird’s nests. It is strong, durable and lends itself to sculptural forms in both small and large scale. We will discuss and cover several ways of approaching this technique. Our base material will be round reed with a selection of Joan’s favourite vines and branches. A tour of the garden to discuss other possible plants for this technique may result in other materials we can incorporate into our baskets.

Tool list: Sharp secateurs, an old towel, 5”-6” cable ties and/or long twist ties, flat piece of cardboard no smaller than 15” square (basically the side of a large box will do fine) 

Instructor: Joan Carrigan

Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm

Fee: HCP Members $120 / Non-Members $140

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Advanced Pruning

Are you a hands-on gardener hesitant to prune small trees and shrubs in fear of injuring or undesirably altering them? This course with certified arborist Ryan Senechal will give you the skills you need to successfully prune your garden. In 2 sessions, basic pruning techniques and advanced strategies will be reviewed and applied to teach you how to achieve desirable structure, reduced maintenance and long-term plant health in your garden. Your confidence and comfort will grow as you observe, learn, and practice proper pruning techniques and common mistakes to avoid. This is an outdoor workshop, so please dress accordingly. Bring your secateurs; all other equipment will be supplied.

Instructor: Ryan Senechal

Dates: Saturdays, November 7 + 14, 2020

Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Fee: HCP Members $90 / Non-Members $110

Registration:  Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Holiday Miniatures & Cards with Richard Wong

Join Richard for this fabulous painting and social event in the Pavilion at The Gardens at HCP. Safely paint, learn and have fun together. Try something different as Richard shows you how to paint lovely watercolour miniatures on Japanese art paper that will double as original greeting cards. This is a great opportunity to learn and practice Richard’s special painting techniques and processes. All levels are welcome, including beginners. A sample image is provided here; Richard will have a number of new images for the class to work with.


Richard Wong is a local professional wildlife artist with international credentials.  His art is popular. His classes are fun. Learn more about Richard at


Instructor: Richard Wong

Date: Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Time: 10:30am - 3:30pm (There will be a 30min lunch break; please bring a lunch as Charlotte & The Quail will be closed)

Fee: $85 (includes all supplies)

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162


Wreath Making Registration Now Open!

The holidays would not be the same without our wreath making workshops at The Gardens at HCP. Join us in a safe environment to create a beautiful wreath. In this class you will have access to a wide variety of beautiful materials, step by step instruction and a festive environment. Be prepared to get creative and have fun! This year, our classes will be held in the Couvelier Pavilion and participants will be spaced according to physical distancing requirements. Please indicate when you register if you will be sitting on your own or with someone in your “bubble”. Masks are required at times when physical distancing is not possible.

Dates: November 25 - December 6, 2020

Time: 10:00am - 12:30pm

Fee: HCP Members $45 / Non-Members $55

Registration: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

We have an account at the Return-It Bottle Depot! The next time you’re bringing in your refundables, please advise the cashier at the beginning of the transaction that you would like to donate the amount to The Gardens at HCP.

Please use our name and not the account number you may see on a past receipt, as the account number is different at each Bottle Depot location. The three Victoria locations are 4261 Glanford Ave, 655 Queens Ave, and 3961 Quadra St.

Visit the Return-It website to see which beverage containers are eligible for a refund.

October is Canadian Library Month! We welcome you to visit us in our peaceful cottage library. Explore our 2,800+ horticultural books on everything from antique flowers to Zen gardens. Wander the stacks and be inspired. We’re open to the public on Saturdays between 11:00am - 1:00pm and kindly ask that you wear a mask while inside, as it is a cozy space. Check out our list of recent acquisitions here. Coming soon: our very own online catalogue!

This month, we recommend Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth by Jessi Bloom & Dave Boehnlein. In this thorough book, the authors cover the basic principles, processes, systems and more of permaculture with the intention of making it ‘approachable and inspirational.’ They describe permaculture as a process that starts with a problem, then finds an elegant solution; living sustainably within ecological means; and using holistic design decisions based on ethics and natural systems. The entire design process is explained, with detailed information on the plants, water, waste, energy, shelter, food, animals and structures that make up the garden. This thoughtful book can be a valuable resource for anyone who wants to be more deliberate in each step of their gardening practice. Available from the library to borrow and the Gift Shop to buy.

Stay safe and be well,


It’s a new month; don’t forget to check your bright green 'Gardens at HCP' membership card to see if it has expired! Membership are a great value and include:

  • Free admission all year to the Gardens
  • A free guest pass each year
  • Discounted rates for additional guests
  • 10% off plants and gift shop purchases
  • Discounted member rates on Community Education Workshops
  • Discounts at select plant sales throughout Victoria
  • Free admission, free parking, or other discounts at participating gardens in the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program!

Revenue from annual memberships supports youth programming, horticulture student development, plants and supplies for garden improvements, and volunteer appreciation. You can purchase or renew your membership today online or by calling (250) 479-6162.

Our new database system allows you to manage your membership, donations, and workshop registrations online. Current members and most past members have an account already.

When you attempt log in for the first time, you will need to reset your password. Please note that the password recovery email expires after 48 hours, and may be in your spam folder. Don’t hesitate to phone us if you need any assistance.

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