Garden Hours from July 1, 2015:
9:00am -5:00pm daily

HCP Volunteers
you are Loved
and Needed! 

Our Annual Arts & Music Festival is
August 15 & 16. 
We are now recruiting volunteers for this amazing event. The perfect place to socialize while listening to music in the garden you love. 

Please email Cheri at [email protected]
and state if you have a specific area in which you would like to volunteer and time slots preferred. Cheri will contact you after July 1, 2015.

Save the date!
The 1st
Annual Volunteer BBQ
will be

September 16th,

All HCP volunteers are invited to a special afternoon BBQ just for you! Smokies, burgers, and salmon roasted by the HCP staff as a way to thank you all for volunteering at the HCP and Outerbridge Park. There will be games, prizes and maybe a speech or two. 

RSVP required by
September 7th, 2015. 
Please email [email protected] or let us know at the front desk.

July E-news                                                
Horticulture Centre Of The Pacific                                                                                                                          July 15, 2015

Now in its 21st year, this major fundraiser for the Gardens at HCP has become one of Victoria's finest art events. As in past years, many artists will be joining this event for the first time, and returning favourites will be bringing their latest works. 

As you wander through the gardens and view the artworks of over 30 artists, you will never be far from music as some of Victoria's finest musicians will be entertaining at multiple stages throughout the gardens each day. All the musicians have volunteered their time and talents to the future of your HCP, so do come out to support and thank them.

You will want to check out the original Land Art designs by the Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild, and members of the Vancouver Island Bonsai Club will be available to answer your questions about their work. Grab a glass of De Vine Vineyard wine or Sea Cider to enjoy with friends between strolls through the gardens. Missed lunch? Food trucks will be on hand to entertain your tastebuds.
July Plant of the Month
By Linda Petite, Head Gardener


Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium)

  • easy-to-grow annual/self-seeds readily
  • colorful flowers/bush or trailing varieties
  • full to part sun
  • poor to average soil (do not fertilize)
  • all parts of this plant are edible (leaves used for tea, to treat sore throats, and high in Vitamin C)
  • good trap crop for aphids
  • deters white fly and cucumber beetle and attracts beneficials
  • carefree once established - a must for all gardens!
Plants for sale!

This feature in our eNews is to let members know of some plants that are currently for sale at HCP. They will be chosen somewhat at random each month. (Some will have been propagated from specimens currently growing on the premises.)

Hardy Fuchsias

These Fuchsias have a long-blooming season, from May to fall frosts. They will grow anywhere from sunny sites to shade - and in either garden beds or containers. This is another hummingbird favourite, but deer don't care for them! We have several varieties available that were propagated in house from our Hardy Fuchsia Garden.

Buddleia davidii 'Harlequin'


Harlequin has attractive variegated foliage and flowers all summer.

Its flowers attract butterflies to the garden - which accounts for its common name (Butterfly bush).

It was propagated in house.


Melianthus major


This is a spectacular foliage plant, having a somewhat tropical appearance. Its leaves are bluish-green and, when crushed, smell somewhat like peanut butter!


As it is classified as "zone 9," it needs a protected site but can be worth the extra care - particularly if it should chance to bloom.

These plants were propagated on site.

Weddings are always popular at the Gardens at HCP!

Weddings are always popular at the Gardens at HCP! it's such a great experience for brides and grooms to share with their families.

Recently the HCP Gardens, Food for Thought Catering, Poppies Floral Art, Tres Chic Boutique and Rock Paper Square decor hosted a photo shoot with beautiful Autumn as a bride. We had so much fun together that day, and we are all very excited about the upcoming wedding season and possibilities for the future.

Vivian Kereki was our photographer. Please visit her website to see more spectacular shots of the Couvelier Pavilion and the Gardens all dolled up for the special event:


Giles' Jottings

It's now early July, and it feels as if we are having a sort of summer lull. Maybe it's the warm dry weather, or maybe it's a natural hiatus in the roll-out of summer blooms, but for a few days it has felt as if the plants are having a rest. 

The students have gone on their two-week summer break, so the gardens in general are quieter. The lunchroom is no longer filled at regular intervals with students having lunch breaks. . . .though the arrival of volunteers on a Wednesday morning reminds us there is still plenty of work to be done.

In the Doris Page Winter Garden there has been considerable work done in the last few weeks removing the old rotting pergola. Now there is a beautifully constructed pavilion rising up in its place. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

But there are definitely some plants which are showing their best at this time. The vivid reds and oranges of the Crocosmias and the whites and pinks of the Gauras make very attractive splashes of colour. The frothy flowers of late summer - Astilbes, Filipendulas and Eupatoriums - are all creating gorgeous mounds of mostly white, cream and pink. There are lovely Astilbes down the stream in the Takata Garden, and there are Eupatoriums (Joe Pye Weed) and white Phlox bubbling up in the bridal beds.

And now there are Hydrangeas coming out, white blooms on the oak-leaved varieties, and blues and mauves on the Paniculatas. And although we perhaps suffer an excess of the Verbena bonariensis, they are certainly at their best at the moment. 

Daylilies and Agapanthus in the Hardy Garden are also making the most of this hot weather. But may we now be allowed to dream of two or three days of steady rain. . . .?

Picnic in the Gardens

In August, for one evening only, the Gardens at HCP will be extending our open hours to invite you to come down for a Picnic in the Gardens. Bring along your picnic basket, a blanket, family, friends, and/or lawn games, and take this opportunity to explore the Gardens in the cool of the evening.

This special evening is co-presented by our 2015 media sponsor, CTV. They will be bringing along some of their media personalities to say hello to you and enjoy the Gardens at HCP as well. Perhaps you can challenge your favourite personality in a game of croquet? The picnic will be entrance by donation and free for members. It will take place 5 - 8 pm on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015.

Black Bamboo update

We had only one reply concerning the demise of a local trio of black bamboos. (They all originated from the same plant and all have now gone to seed.)

The Nanaimo/Ladysmith area is where the other bamboo we learned of once lived. It, too, went to seed and has been cut down. It is not anticipated that it will grow back from those roots.

This is a disappointing thing to have happened, as the Black bamboos are particularly attractive, having more delicate leaves that their cousins.

Once we can stop tending to all our remaining plants, it is hoped we can do a little more research on this topic.

This being the time of year when folks particularly enjoy cruising the Gardens at HCP, they may chance upon one or both of the Whatzits for this month. As usual, we will be interested to hear if you can identify them.

Send your best guess as to what it is to [email protected]. Last month's WHATZIT?" (Click here)


You may be interested to know...


There will be a Winemaker's Dinner - "Savour the Taste of Summer" - in the Pavilion on July 30th, 5pm - 7pm

(tickets- 250-383-7191 or


Bob Clarke's Notebook


The story behind our 100-year-old Japanese Maples


In 1907, Isabura Kishida, a garden designer, was invited to Victoria by his son, Joe Kishida, to design a Japanese garden in the BC Electric Gorge Park. When he came, Isabura brought with him many Acer palmatum dissecturms  (commonly known as Japanese split-leaf Maples).


These beautiful trees are very resilient and don't suffer from transplant shock, even when mature.  A few of them still reside in a select number of Victoria gardens where they were distributed during WWII by the late horticulturist, Arthur Lamer, in order to save them from possible harm in their original location.


Two of them came to us from their second home on Goldstream Avenue in Colwood  which  was being operated as a B and B by Lyn and Bud Collins. When Lyn and Bud decided  to sell their home to a developer, they were particularly concerned about the two ancient trees. Luckily for us, they were active volunteers at HCP at the time, so they offered the trees to the Takata Garden.


With an offer of "instant age" for the relatively young Takata Garden, Sandra and Stephan Cranz  rounded up their 17 Horticulture College students and removed the two trees by hand from the rocky ground that had been their second home. They were then carefully  transported and transplanted into their new home at HCP. 




People who have helped make things happen



Lea Snyder approached me in the Takata garden one day and asked if I would take on the task of putting together a display in the Royal Roads garden.  Little did I know when I agreed to do the display that it would lead to three shows altogether.


The best creation for two consecutive shows consisted of an octagonal framework with eight miniature gardens radiating out from the centre. Descriptive signage described some of the many gardens that make up the Horticulture Centre.


My next-door neighbour, Chris Neilsen (who has since done many metal projects at HCP) built the elaborate framework, and Rod Burkhart did the signwork. Rod has also been kind to HCP. The curators of the eight contributing gardens and the HCP students created the very successful floral display - which caught the eyes of 10,000 people at the Royal Roads shows.Great publicity for HCP!


Community Education Courses

To register for the following Community Education Programs, please call  250 479 6162 or email [email protected]
Our Community Education program will be offering some great courses this summer. . . check them out!


Date: July 28th, August 11th 

Stories in the Shade


Wondering what to do with your preschoolers this summer? Plan to visit The Gardens at HCP on these Tuesday's in July & August for a Free  fun story and craft time. Bring a snack along or plan to picnic and make a morning of it!


Time:  10am - 10:45am

Cost:   Included with admission, 2-5 years of age


Date: July 28th, August 11th 



Register your children  for some creative time to explore nature through gardening activities and crafts. There will be different garden activity and art creation each day.

(Pre-Registration, 5+ years) 


Time:  1 pm - 3 pm

Cost:   - $10/child


Date: August 10-14 


The Gardens at HCP are a wonderful place to get inspired! Children love to explore the many pathways and hunt for natural materials, then use those for their creations. There will be something special to bring home each day.



Time:  9:00 am - 12:00 noon



Cost:   $100/week



Arts & Music in the Gardens - Volunteers Wanted

We're looking Musician Liaisons, Artist Liaisons, Site Assistants, Servers and more!

With the 2015 Arts and Music in the Gardens right around the corner, we just had to share an update and let you be among the first to know what's new and exciting about HCP's most important fundraiser of the year! So far more than 30 uniquely skilled artists are confirmed, and the roster of music talents is filling up quickly! With so much gratitude, we thank many returning and some new participants. The event this year promises to have something for everyone. 

New things on our 'menu' include new partnerships with de Vine Vineyards and Sea Cider. We are pleased to have them on site to offer visitors a Wine and Cider Tasting experience. As well,

we will have food trucks with a wide variety of choices, from grilled cheese sandwiches to gelato.


As our memorable garden festival approaches (August 15 & 16), we'd like to encourage you to get involved. We need a great many volunteers and a great amount of word of mouth. All volunteers will receive a free water bottle as a thank-you gift for their participation.

If a day volunteering in beautiful gardens surrounded by art and music sounds like fun, then please sign up. Send us your contact details by email [email protected] or call HCP at 250 479 6162.

Thank you in advance for sharing the event with your friends, family and colleagues -- together we will ensure the 21st annual Arts & Music in the Gardens is something truly special for you and the greater community to enjoy.

by Linda Petite, Head Gardener

Summer drought has come early and there is no sign of relief! 
* find out what water restrictions apply in your municipality 
* pay close attention to your plants - watch for the first signs of drought stress and wilting 
* water deeply less often - instead of a shallow drink daily
* dig into the soil to see how deep the water has penetrated (must be at least 4 inches deep to be effective) 
* try to avoid watering in the heat of the day, most of it is lost to evaporation
* soaker hoses and drip irrigation are the most water efficient devices, hand water where possible
* don't waste water on your lawns -they tolerate drought and with a good rain they will green up quickly
* water plant roots (drip line), not plant foliage
* 3- to 4-inch top dressing of mulch helps conserve moisture 
* start a rain barrel (fall-spring) to use during times of drought
The Gardens at HCP - perfect settings for meditation

During the summer - through to September 1st - the Gardens at HCP will be hosting Meditation in the Gardens. Starting at 5:30 every Tuesday evening through the summer, Angela Strank will lead a group in a healing meditation, using guided visualization. The sessions will take place at a different location in the Gardens each week.
Meditation can help improve your quality of life by giving you the tools for healing, raising self-awareness, more relaxation, building energy, and better focus. The fresh air, natural setting, and sounds of birds and water will add to the experience after a busy day at work, running errands, and day-to-day demands.

Each session will be $18 for members and $20 for non-members. Please bring something comfortable to sit on. You are welcome to come early and bring your dinner as a picnic.

For more information about Angela and these sessions, please click here. For any other questions, please e-mail Dana at [email protected] or call 250-479-6162


A timely tip


Before you take photos of your garden, take a few moments to give your plants a shower with a fine spray of water.

Wet down the soil and stonework. The plants will look lush and healthy, and the darkened soil and stone provide a nice contrast.


(Fine Gardening magazine Aug. 2013)


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Horticulture Centre of the Pacific | (250) 479-6162 |  [email protected] |
505 Quayle Rd
Victoria BC, V9E 2J7