505 Quayle Road / 250-479-6162 / www.hcp.ca

As a nonprofit organization, we are very grateful for the support of our community. Thank you for staying connected with us during these challenging times. We continue to be guided by the advice of our public health officials and, like each of you, we are making decisions each day with the health of our employees, volunteers and community in mind.

We had a terrific response to our summer Picnic in the Gardens feature on Thursdays, and we held our Annual General Meeting with COVID-19 protocols in place on August 16. The minutes of the AGM are available here. During the AGM, we thanked three individuals with Life Memberships in recognition of their “above and beyond” service to the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific:

Bev Adamson – Bev began volunteering in 2011. Bev (or Tall Bev as she is

affectionately known) is one of our “Beverage Bevs” and is in the lunchroom every

Wednesday (during pre-pandemic times) to serve coffee and cookies to our volunteers. She also took on the Bottle Depot fundraising campaign and is the first to jump in wherever help is needed.

Tim Hounsome – Tim retired to Victoria from Edmonton in 2004 to be closer to his son in Victoria. In 2005, he came to the HCP to inquire about volunteering and the woman in charge (Robin Burton) took him to the Takata Japanese Garden to help Bob. We believe it was in 2013 or 2014 when he joined Dave DeShane’s group in the Conservation Park.

Patty Brown – Patty graduated from the Pacific Horticulture College in 2000. In 2001, she started volunteering in the Doris Page Winter Garden and stayed for 6 years, taking over as curator from Valerie Murray in 2002. She co-instructed the Practical Skills course between 2001-2003 and remains a valued PHC instructor to this day.

It has been a difficult year and I hope that you and your family have remained healthy throughout. COVID-19 continues to significantly impact our lives and remains a constantly shifting problem. That being said, I could not be prouder of our staff and volunteers for their unending resiliency and willingness to adapt. With fewer weddings and events taking place, Megan has taken on the eNews and social media duties, and we must say goodbye and thank you to Dana for working hard to increase HCP’s visibility over the past five and a half years. Please join us in wishing her the best in her future endeavours!

After the success of our Spring Plant Sale with a new online/phone order format, we are taking the Fall Plant Sale online too! We are hopeful that you will support us once again when orders open on September 21. More details can be found below.

Lastly, please update your calendars to reflect our Fall/Winter hours, effective September 1:

Monday - Wednesday: Closed

Thursday - Sunday: 10:00am - 4:00pm

Stay safe everyone,


Fall officially begins on September 22! This is the perfect time to add new plants to your landscape. The soil is still warm while the cooler air temperatures and rainfall provide ideal conditions to get plants established. The other advantage of planting in the fall is that all of our plants at HCP are reduced by 25% for the Fall Plant Sale!

To keep everyone safe and healthy, we will have online orders and phone orders. Once you’ve placed your order online, we will call you to schedule a pickup appointment. Online orders start Monday September 21 at 9:00am, with phone orders at 10:00am. Pickup appointments will be scheduled over the weekend of September 26-27. We look forward to introducing several new plants that we propagated this spring!

We will continue to offer in-person shopping and the Bargain Bin during regular garden hours, with the 25% discount starting Thursday September 24.

The plant list will be published 1-2 weeks in advance so you can make your wish list and shop early for the best selection. View or download the Fall Plant Sale poster here.

See you soon,


Has September really already arrived? What a strange year it has been, for so many reasons. The summer weather hasn’t been quite so hot and dry as recent years and the last couple of weeks have alternated between grey cloudy days and clear blue skies. But it has been warm enough to encourage fruits and vegetables to ripen and we have been harvesting considerable quantities of tomatoes, plums and apples.

Blackberries too are ripening on brambles everywhere, by the sides of the roads, on banks and hillsides, on almost any piece of uncultivated rough ground. We have a Wednesday volunteer group who work hard at uprooting and getting rid of invasives, especially in the Conservation Park and blackberries are one of their targets. But there are often discussions over which varieties are our native blackberries and which are invaders from elsewhere. Unfortunately I think it is hard to clearly identify each and every plant because Rubus is a genus that hybridizes freely and most wild plants are likely to be crosses between R. fruticosus, R. plicatus and R. allegheniensis. Rubus is a large genus including also dewberries, raspberries, thimbleberries and salmonberries, not to mention more modern hybrids such as loganberries, boysenberries and tayberries.

The Himalayan blackberry (R. armeniacus) is one of the species often considered invasive but it is difficult to distinguish from other native species and the fruit is usually larger and sweeter than that of native varieties so it almost feels counter-productive to try to eliminate it. The thornless blackberry (R. ulmifolius) is popular nowadays for obvious reasons but again it is originally from southern Europe so could be included in those considered invasive. At this time of year however they are all delicious.

And now in the gardens we are beginning to see all those plants that carry us over from summer into fall. Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) and Ironweed (Vernonia spp.) stand tall and upright crowned with large pink and purple flowers. Bupleurum fruticosum (sometimes called ThoroughWax) is covered in its impressive yellow umbels and always attracts a mass of happy bees. Rudbeckias both tall and short brighten the gardens with their golden yellow flowers. Verbena bonariensis has already been flowering for a long time but still adds its purple highlights to the beds. And hardy fuchsias contribute vivid pinks, reds and scarlets.

Finally I must re-mention the recently replanted bed at the foot of the Doris Page Garden. Having enjoyed a beautiful spring display of bulbs, now we can see an equally lovely fall show of purple Geranium ‘Rozanne’, pink Sedums, white petunias and red Schizostylis coccinea. Many thanks to the Doris Page volunteers for the work involved in this transformation.

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 the Spring Plant Sale, 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!


The Full-Time Landscape Horticulture Certificate students are excited about their upcoming Work Experience weeks! Over September 14-18 and October 5-9, the students will work with a host of their choosing to learn about a new field of horticulture and network within the horticulture industry. Work Experience hosts include Russell Nursery, University of Victoria, Compost Education Centre, Haliburton Farms and more. Students are also busy completing their Introduction to Permaculture and Plant Health courses, while preparing to start new courses in Landscape Design and Grading and Drainage. And, of course, there’s always plenty of gardening work to do in their Practical Skills course!

We are still accepting applications for the 2021 Full-Time Landscape Horticulture Certificate program waitlist. To learn more about the 2021 program and a career in horticulture, contact collegeadmin@hcp.ca.

A warm welcome to the Part-Time Level 1 students who just started on August 24! This Part-Time program runs until December with courses in Botany, Soils, Plant Health and more. We received so many applications for the Part-Time Level 1 program that we’ve scheduled another program to run in January. Please contact collegeadmin@hcp.ca for more information or to apply.

Pacific Horticulture College is also accepting applications for the Full-Time Level 3 and Full-Time Level 4 Landscape Horticulture Apprenticeship programs. Level 3 will be offered from November 9, 2020 until December 18, 2020. Level 4 will be offered from January 11, 2021 to February 19, 2021. For more information about these program options, please contact collegeadmin@hcp.ca or visit our website. Please note these programs will have a blended delivery of both online and practical components.

Coming up:

Integrated Pest Management Course (Landscape General Category)

October 3-4, exam on October 5

Please call HCP to register

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.

Summer is a very busy time for our Youth Programs, and the team who helped us this summer deserve a very big thank you! Reid Lukaitis and Julien Edwardson assisted with garden camps, tours, workshops and program development this summer. They are pictured enjoying a bit of game time during an Outreach Camp we held at Oaklands Community Centre this summer. Vanessa Naeme has been a junior leader since attending a workshop with her family at HCP a few years ago. This year she joined our team for a week of Garden Camp as a staff member!

Thank you Reid, Julien and Vanessa! We look forward to seeing you in the gardens again soon.

Lessons in The Garden – New Series for Fall 2020!

Are you looking for a small group, outdoor learning opportunity for your preschool, class, distance learning or homeschool network? Our programs continue to be based on experiential learning in our award-winning gardens! Consider our outdoor classroom delivery, featuring gardens and space to explore, learn and grow! Check out our website for more information about our new Garden Friends and Garden Explorers programs coming soon.

Camps in The Garden

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 15 participants.

Pro D Day Camps

Dates for 2020:

Monday, September 28, 2020

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday, November 20, 2020

Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Age: 5 – 12 years (school age)

Fee: $40/child

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Workshops in The Garden

All workshops are now held outdoors, so please dress for the weather!

Eco Crafts

Do you ever wonder how to reduce, reuse, and repurpose household items into new products? Bring along an old tee shirt to make a fabric tote bag to take your goods home in. Then create some more cool crafts with a variety of household pieces! Maximum of 8.

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2020

Time: 10:30am - 12:00pm

Age: 6+ years

Fee: $20/child

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Fairy Gardens

Miniature gardens are fun to make! They provide us with a connection to plants, help develop creativity and offer us a chance to play -- we can all use more of that! Join us for an inspirational garden wander and then make your own dream garden to keep the fairies comfy. Maximum of 8.

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2020

Time: 1:30 - 3:00pm

Age: 5+ years

Fee: $20/child

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

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 dress up a pumpkin person and plan your own photo shoot! Limited to 6 families (or parent and child) 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)

Register: Online (click here for morning, or here for afternoon) or phone (250) 479-6162

3 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 have an adult attend)

Fee: $20/child

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Terrariums For Kids

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 or shared space. 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 (up to 20cm), and everything else is included. Parents are welcome to attend! Limited to 8 participants.

Date: Saturday, October 17, 2020

Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm

Age: 5+ years (under 7 must have an adult attend)

Fee: $20/child

Register: 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, one Saturday a month.

Date: Saturday, October 31, 2020

Time: 1:00 - 4:00pm

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

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Acrylics with Ilana

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!

We’ll be featuring paintings inspired by flowers, trees, and landscapes, alongside unique techniques. 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.

Still Life - Apple & Pear

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020

Time: 5:00 - 7:00pm

Fee: $50 (includes all materials)

Register: Online or by phone

Garden Door

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2020

Time: 11:00am - 1:00pm

Fee: $50 (includes all materials)

Register: Online or by phone


Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020

Time: 11:00am - 1:00pm

Fee: $50 (includes all materials)

Register: Online or by phone

Watercolours with Richard Wong

Richard’s classes are fun, relaxed and fully supportive in a safe environment. Overhead projection will ensure social distancing requirements are met. Provincial health guidelines will be followed. Hand sanitizers will be available. Tables, chairs and all art supplies will be cleaned before and after use. 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 www.richardwongwatercolors.ca

Crows & Ravens

Learn how to paint “Crows & Ravens” on Japanese art paper with a mystical backdrop that is so fitting for these special birds. Crows and ravens have special meaning to many in mainstream western society and spiritual significance within many eastern and Indigenous cultures. Everyone is welcome, and beginners are especially encouraged.

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2020

Time: 1:00 - 4:00pm

Fee: $55 (includes all materials)

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Spirit Fox

Learn how to paint “Spirit Fox” on Japanese art paper. Within many Indigenous cultures, Fox as spirit animal offers guidance to one for taking quick action, adaptability and mental alertness in

dealing with everyday and life issues. Everyone is welcome, and beginners are especially encouraged.

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2020

Time: 12:30 - 3:30pm

Fee: $55 (includes all materials)

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Red-Tailed Hawk

Learn how to paint the “Red-Tailed Hawk” on Japanese art paper. Everyone is welcome, and beginners are especially encouraged.

Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020

Time: 12:30pm - 3:30pm

Fee: $55

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

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: Sunday, September 13, 2020

Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm

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

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162 (class is currently full, but we are accepting a waitlist)

Cedar Bark Pouch Workshop

Come weave a beautiful individualized small pouch with plant materials harvested from the Pacific Northwest. I use my pouch to hold my cell phone so make sure you bring yours with you. We will begin with a discussion on how to respectfully harvest materials followed by a hands-on demonstration of how to prepare the materials including cedar bark, willow bark and sedge. Participants can design their pouch using different weave patterns presented which include a variety of plaiting, twining and twill variations. This course is good for beginners as well as experienced weavers.

Instructor: Joan Carrigan

Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm

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

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Forest Therapy Walk

Come join Kelly Kiss, ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guide, to discover “Forest Bathing”, what it is, along with its health and wellness benefits. Forest therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing. Shinrin-Yoku means to “bathe in the atmosphere of the forest” and is a term that was originally used by the Japanese government in the 1980s to describe the practice of spending time in nature to soak up its health benefits. If practiced regularly, “forest bathing” may improve your health, wellness and happiness! Moving slowly over a gentle landscape, the practice of forest therapy is accessible to people of all fitness levels, ages and abilities.

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2020

Time: 1:30 - 4:00pm

Fee: $45

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

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.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm

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

Register: Online (click here for Sept 29 or here for Oct 18) or phone (250) 479-6162

Introduction to Backyard Beekeeping

As beekeeping becomes more popular, the importance of some introductory knowledge becomes even more important prior to getting honey bees. This workshop is aimed at providing new beekeepers with knowledge that will help them with setting up their first colony of honey bees next spring. We will be covering equipment required, methods to purchase bees, swarming, potential pests and diseases (yes we will be talking about the dreaded Varroa mite...!) and also look at a few recommended flowering plants for our local area, which are important nectar, pollen and propolis sources for honey bees.

Instructor: Gordon Mackay

Date: Sunday, October 4, 2020

Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Fee: $25

Register: Online or phone (250) 479-6162

Wreath Making registration opens in October!

The holidays would not be the same without our wreath making workshops at The Gardens at HCP. Our priority is to provide a safe environment for participants and instructors for this popular workshop. More information including dates and how to register will be available in the October eNews. We look forward to seeing you all there.

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.

For light reading about gardens and gardening, Beverley Nichols’ books are filled with whimsy and humour and fit the bill nicely. Whether you still have time to lounge in the sun or just a few minutes to unwind in the evening, reading his enthusiastic, high-spirited narratives is to share his joy and delight in plants.

Nichols (1898-1983) wrote in Merry Hall (1951) and Sunlight on the Lawn (1956) about his ambitious project in Surrey, UK to create a garden for a Georgian mansion from a neglected wilderness. Garden Open Today (1963) and Garden Open Tomorrow (1968) are Nichols’ final (of 10!) gardening books and share 30 years of practical gardening experience in an entertaining fashion.

In her foreword to Merry Hall, Ann Lovejoy wrote that “…time has been a friend to (Nichols’) garden writing, which remains as lively and rewarding today as it did half a century ago.”

The lovely Timber Press editions pictured are facsimiles of the original publications, illustrated by William McLaren. All four are available to borrow from the HCP Library, open Saturdays 11:00am - 1:00pm.

See you then,


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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