Winter Hours: November 1st - February 29th / 10 am - 4 pm
505 Quayle Road / 250-479-6162 /

Welcome Back Message

Welcome back and Happy New Year to all of our Members, Volunteers, Donors and Staff!

Let 2020 be the year of challenging yourself to take a new path.  A perfect example is this path in the gardens that had the stairs redone just before the break, thanks to the efforts of our wonderful volunteers, Lonnie and Peter!

In 2019, the Gardens continued to build on all of the successes we enjoyed in 2018 and we celebrated our 40th Anniversary! The 40th was a celebration of all of the growth and hardship The Gardens at HCP has persevered through, becoming the fantastic botanical demonstration garden we see today.

The Gardens were created by a group of influential citizens who had a dream of a centre of excellence for horticulture training. On November 7, 1979 we were officially incorporated as a not-for-profit society and the work began!  On November 7th, 2019, we held a tribute to the past 40 years which included a slide show presentation put together by Linda Petite (and friends), and displays around the Pavilion perimeter of beautiful presentation boards created by the volunteers of our many different gardens.

 As we move into 2020, I would like to once again thank you each and every one for giving of your time, your efforts and most of all your support in making the Gardens the incredible and welcoming place that they are.

New Years is a time to look back at the good you have all done this past year and to look ahead at all of the wonderful possibilities that await you. So here is to you! To 2020 and to making this year the best it can be for you and all the lives you touch!

- Deborah Donahue, General Manager

A New Year Brings New Gardening Trends

Happy New Year everyone! January is traditionally the month to plan and dream about your garden. However, gardeners will stop digging this year and encourage their children to make mud pies, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has predicted, as it forecasts the trends for 2020. Gardeners at HCP, meanwhile, are simply looking forward to another great gardening season. See you at the gardens soon!

- Linda Petite, Head Gardener

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Saanich Seedy Saturday Wrap-Up

On January 11th, The Gardens at HCP had the pleasure of hosting Saanich Seedy Saturday for the fifth year in a row. It's such a delight to kick off "seedy season" ahead of the rest of Canada! Vendors and visitors enjoyed dry weather and connecting with local farms and organizations. Dan Jason presented his new book, Changing The Climate With The Seeds We Sow to a packed classroom at 11:00am and 1:00pm.

With one Seedy Saturday under our belt, we're excited to participate in Victoria Seedy Saturday on February 15th at the Victoria Conference Centre. More information at

We are now live with our Online System

First, you need to set up your account. Under the Membership tab, you will see that there is now a Members Login (1).

Please follow the steps and create your account using your email address. Once you have an account, you can update/renew your Membership, make a donation, and sign up for Community Education and Youth Program courses. Please note that if you choose to decline emails under: DATA PRIVACY & CONSENT, you are also opting out of receiving the ENews and your emailed receipts.

Please do not hesitate to email me if you need any help.

- Deborah (

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Support the Gardens at HCP

One more way to support The Gardens! We have an account at the Bottle Depot!
Our account name is: The Gardens at HCP
How to donate on this account: The Gardens at HCP
Please advise the cashiers at the beginning of the transaction that you would like to donate the bottles onto our account. Please note: Your friends / family / co-workers etc who will be donating to this account must only reference this account by account name and not by any account numbers that may be found on some of the account transaction receipts. Each depot will have a different account number for your account.
You can donate at any of the Bottle Depot Branches: 4261 Glanford Ave, 655 Queens Ave, 3961 Quadra St

Giles Jottings

It is so interesting walking around the Gardens at this time of year. So many plants are dormant that it is easy to think there is nothing in flower, nothing much to look at. But the closer you look, the more you see and in time that closer inspection leads to discoveries of plants that one might otherwise never notice.
Of course even the grass can look magical on a cold morning with a rime of silvery white on every blade and varying textures of foliage can be beautifully accentuated by a covering of frost.

But now they say we are heading into a cold snap with snow flurries expected. Reflecting on the aftermath of last year’s snowfalls, it may not necessarily be a bad thing but those plants that are currently showing some colour may suffer.

There are snowdrops in various stages of emergence that might survive, I think, but I fear many of the primulas and hellebores in the Doris Page Garden could be damaged by a heavy snowfall.
There are a couple of striking Mahonias (Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’) in full flower that, were they to be damaged, would be a considerable loss, and not just to me but to our wildlife; I have been watching hummingbirds repeatedly sipping at their multiple lemon-yellow blooms.

I am trying to remember how the witch-hazels (Hamamelis mollis' and Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’) responded to the snow last year. Given their flowering season they are of course naturally cold resistant but their delicate spidery flowers do give rather an impression of vulnerability. In contrast, the early Rhododendron ‘Lee’s Scarlet’, also now fully in flower, seems somehow more robust.

And not to be ignored are our many colourful berries. Cotoneasters and Skimmias, Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) and rose hips, Nandina and Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus), all of them are thick with berries in reds, whites and oranges. But most spectacular for me is a small shrub I have found tucked away at the bottom of the Winter Garden, the Blue Evergreen Hydrangea (Dichroa febrifuga), an Asian plant that has the most startling dark blue berries. Perhaps only some varieties of gentian can compare in their depth of genuinely blue coloration.

Pacific Horticulture College

Happy 2020 from Pacific Horticulture College! January is a busy month with multiple programs starting and finishing. And this bit of snow keeps us on our toes…

Congratulations to the Level 3 and 4 students who wrote their trades exams on January 10th. They were excellent groups of students and we wish them the best for the season. Thank you for studying with us!

Welcome to the Part Time Level 2 program that just started on January 13th! This program goes until early June, and classes run in the evenings and on Saturdays. This is a very dedicated group of students who work full-time and also want to further their knowledge and experience in horticulture.

On January 20, 2020 there will be 20 new horticulture students arriving for the full-time 10-month program. We are excited to welcome them and watch them grow into plant nerds!

For current happenings, alumni and current student profiles and more, follow PHC @ pacifichorticulturecollege on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Coming up:

- Integrated Pest Management/Pesticide Course (Landscape General Category)

·         March 3rd and 10th, exam on the 13th

·         Please call HCP to register

- Integrated Pest Management/Pesticide Course (Landscape General Category)

·         April 4th and 5th, exam on the 6th

·         Please call HCP to register

Youth Programs

TERRARIUM Gardens Workshop for Kids

These indoor gardens are fun to create and the feedback has been amazing! This class takes participants through the steps of making a terrarium garden using basic materials often found at home and using recycled glass containers. This upcycle activity is creative and practical and can be a great way to give an old item new value and beauty. These gardens make very nice gifts and are a fun family activity to increase plants in the home. Adults also enjoy this activity and can join in the fun to create their own terrarium with their family. Participants are asked to bring along a glass container that measures up to 20 cm. All other supplies, including plants are supplied. *All younger children, 5/6 must be accompanied by an adult (no fee) to assist with the project.

DATE: Saturday, February 8, 2020

TIME: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

AGES: 5 + years

FEE: $15/child

FEE: $10/participating adult

*Register in advance of the workshop by calling 250-479-6162


Miniature gardens are a magical way to bring plants into people's lives! We will start with small containers and tropical plants to create these indoor gardens to enjoy for years to come. Our gardens will allow for child play and rearranging to suit a theme. We will explore a few themes as part of our design using natural materials collected in our very own garden pathways during an introduction wander. We often have parents/family want to join us. See the information below to participate with us! *All younger children, 5/6 years of age must be accompanied by an adult (no fee) to assist with their project. If you would like to make a fairy garden of your own, please see the additional registration below.

DATE: Sunday, February 23, 2020

TIME: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

AGES: 5 + years – 12 years

FEE: $15/child

FEE: $10/adult attending with child and wanting to make a garden

*Register in advance of the workshop by calling 250-479-6162


These Pro-D Day Camps are filled with garden activities both in and out of the garden. We use sustainable practices to grow our own food and flower crops throughout the year. The campers learn to prepare, plan, plant, harvest, and maintain a garden while including native pollinators and building awareness of the ecosystems that support our project. This hands-on camp is a good introduction for those wanting to grow their own food at home or further develop their skills for existing home and school gardens.

DATES: Friday, February 14, 2020 Monday, April 27, 2020 Friday, May 15, 2020

TIME: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

AGES: 5 + years – 12 years (school age)

FEE: $38/day

*Register in advance of the workshop by calling 250-479-6162

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Community Education Workshops

Grow Your Own Way Wellness Journey

Sundays - 2:00pm - 4:00pm

January 26, February 16, March 15, April 19, May 17, June 14
Instructor: Marnie Dangerfield

This program is designed to allow you time in nature.... to slow down, pause, refresh and connect to your inner wisdom. There will be wellness practices led throughout,in a beautiful garden setting. The vision is for you to go through the year and connect to the seasons, to nature and to build community and connection with like-minded people. We will practice awareness/mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, kindness, journaling and intentional creativity®️ (among other things). The goal is to increase your overall well-being with new wellness habits. We'll focus on decreasing stress while increasing joy.

$45 per session for HCP Members & Non Members

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

Grow a Career in the Floral Industry

Sunday - February 9 - 10:00am - 12:30pm
Instructor: Linda Rambaud

Considering a career in the floral industry? Find out about working at a florist store. Explore career opportunities in Canada with Floral Designer and Horticulturist Linda Rambaud.

HCP Members $70 / Non Members $80
Call 250 479 6162 to register

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

Willow Chair Workshop

Sunday - February 9 - 9:00am - 5:00pm
Instructor: Andrew Kent

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.

HCP Members $250 / Non Members $275

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

Twill Tote Basket Workshop

Saturday - February 15 - 9:30am - 4:30pm
Instructor: Joan Carrigan

Weave this lovely carrying basket for everyday use or keep as a decorative storage basket. This basket is woven with a twill weave using natural and dyed reed and has a sturdy swing handle. A great project for beginner weavers. Please add your name to the interest list if the workshop is sold out as we may run a second date with enough interest.
HCP Members $120 /Non Members $140

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

Cannabis Basics for the Home Grower

Saturday - February 22 - 10:00am - 1:00pm

(additional dates February 29th & March 14th)

Instructor: Jo Wyld

Learn the basics of growing Cannabis for personal use with college instructor, Jo Wyld. This workshop will cover cannabis species and strains, how cannabis is used, starting from seed or clone, considerations and methods for growing outdoors or indoors, common pests and disease, harvesting and relevant legislation.

HCP Members $60 / Non-Members $65

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

Wicker Basket with Wood Base Workshop

Sunday - February 16 - 9:30am - 4:30pm
Instructor: Joan Carrigan

Explore the sculptural design possibilities of the Wicker Basketry technique when starting with a wood base. Bases will be provided along with dyed round reed and a selection of natural materials to incorporate into this sculptural basket. In the process of weaving this basket, participants will learn control of shaping as well as a variety of weaving patterns. The rich variety of colour and design options makes for a fun and creative experience. Please add your name to the interest list if the workshop is sold out as we may run a second date with enough interest.

HCP Members $120 / Non Members $140

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

Pruning Ornamental Plants Workshop

Tuesdays - February 18 & 25 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Saturday Field Trip - February 29 - 9:00am - 12:00pm

Instructor: Patty Brown

Gain an understanding of how and why plants respond to pruning. This workshop will help you get the results you want with any plant in your garden. Patty Brown, Pacific Horticulture College instructor will take you through the steps, theory and techniques of pruning. The workshop consists of two lectures and one hands on session to practice what you’ve learnt.

HCP Members $95 / Non Members $115

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

Plant Identification & Culture Workshops

One Saturday a month 1pm - 4pm

January 25, February 15, March 21, April 18, May 23 (Field Trip - please pre-register), June 20, July 18, August 15 (Field Trip - please pre-register), September 19, October 17, November 21, December 5

Instructor: Diane Pierce

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 & common names, plant descriptions, cultural requirements, general maintenance and landscape uses. This is an ongoing course & can be joined at any time, all year long, one Saturday a month.

HCP Members $35.00 per session

or $350 for 12 sessions

Non-Members $45.00 per session

or $450 for 12 sessions

Click here to Register Online

Call 250 479 6162 to Register by Phone

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