Nov 1, 2015 to Mar 6, 2016
the Gardens will be open
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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February 2016 E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens

Hellebore Sunday
Hellebores are in bloom in the Gardens at HCP! Our Doris Page Winter Garden is spectacular this time a year - the colours and the fragrance are enchanting. It's truly incredible what can be done on the Pacific Northwest this time of year and we encourage you to come and see for yourself!

If you are interested in expanding your own Winter Garden, we will have our annual Hellebore Sunday with Companion Plants on March 6th from 12 - 3 PM! There will be two free presentations as well - Richard Hebda will give a lecture on Growing Galanthus and Diane Pierce on growing Hellebore with the sale to follow. Even better, admission to the Gardens will be free during the event. 

Charlotte & the Quail
Our on-site cafe Charlotte and the Quail is open and ready for business. Nourish is now operating solely in the Harbour but the same great team has now opened a new restaurant at the Garden at HCP's location. It features a new menu but has the same local, healthy food philosophy. There will also be a 'food for home' deli option very soon. It's a special little place.

For more information on their hours and expanding menu please visit www.charlotteandthequail.ca.
Mason Bees
We put in a little teaser last month that the gift shop is now carrying Mason Bees and their homes. We are very excited about the potential of our little critters for you to adopt and take home to help pollinate your garden. We have two houses that you can choose from - simply purchase your favourite as well as some sleeping bees and then set them up in your favourite spot near your orchard or garden between March and early May. They will do the rest!

In the fall you can harvest the bees to store in your refrigerator over the winter. We will provide basic care instructions with your purchase and will be offering Community Education classes in the fall or you can purchase a detailed instruction book from our shop 'Pollination with Mason Bees' by Dr. Margriet Dogterom from the shop. We also have a copy of this book in our cottage library - free for members to peruse. 
Seedy Saturdays
The first Saanich Seedy Saturday, held on January 9th, was a smashing success. We welcomed over 500 enthusiastic gardeners on a beautiful day! A great assortment of vendors, talks from Don Genova, and the Gardens offered a great opportunity to make this a really special outing. Thank you to Haliburton Farms for producing this event and to Mayor Richard Atwell  for opening the celebrations on behalf of the Municipality of Saanich.

If you didn't get enough Seedy Saturdays or missed out, Victoria's Seedy Saturday will be at the Victoria Conference Centre February 20th from 10 am - 4 pm. Come say hello at our booth or watch our Head Gardener Linda talk at 10:15 about starting Seeds. Visit their website for more information: http://jamesbaymarket.com/SeedySaturday/
Giles' Jottings
It seems to have rained an awful lot during January. Water pours in a continuous stream down through the Takata Garden from Quayle Road, entering the pool at the top of the garden behind the Takata Garden compound, following the watercourse down through the garden to the pool beside the Zen Garden, and then onwards beneath the roadway out into Viaduct Flats. So we are not short of humidity in the soil.

But now, as February begins, volunteers and gardeners are sensing the start of a new season and enjoying  early spring activities. On Wednesday mornings several groups are using Polyhouse 1 to start their first seeds. Betty, in the Cuttings Garden, has started some sweet peas in tall pots, giving them that extra bit of root depth so helpful for climbers. The Ethnobotanical Trail group have been taking cuttings of native currants. And Delphia's Wednesday morning group have started some vegetable seeds and more climbers.

We also have a new group of full-time students. They have been with us a couple of weeks now and are settling in well as they tackle all those basic plant science and plant ID courses. And out in the garden they are already learning about weeding and mulching as they help us pull the garden together for the coming season. No doubt they also will soon be up in Polyhouse 1 sowing packets of spring seeds.

As for flowers, well February is perhaps the 'cruelest' month, but the Doris Page Winter Garden is coming into its peak. Bulbs are coming up all over, especially the snowdrops and cyclamen. The Doris Page group have been cutting back the foliage of the Hellebores and Epimediums to encourage flowering, and indeed a range of different coloured Hellebore flowers are now emerging. Winter aconites are bursting out all around the new gazebo. The witchhazels are looking wonderful, and now  the buds of Cornus mas and Cornus officinalis 'Issa Minar' are beginning to swell. In fact, there is a full range of yellows lighting up the lower part of the garden; the buds of Cornus 'Issa Minar' showing the same rich yellow as the emerging winter aconites. The flower sprays of Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun' are a paler shade, matching the yellow heathers and Polygala chamaebuxus in the alpine beds.

Next door, in the Rhodo Garden, the earliest Rhododendron, 'Lee's Scarlet', is well into flower now. And most of its neighbours have fully swollen buds, so we can look forward to several months of their changing colours. Hopefully, the sun will soon emerge and warm up the earth a little and we can expect to see more spring growth throughout the HCP gardens.
Summertime Photo Shoot
The Gardens at HCP was home to a photo shoot from the Canadian jewelry company Hillberg and Berk in August 2015. They have just launched all their Spring and Summer lines with some great pictures from the Gardens. 

If you need a little summer in your life, watch their video - it's fun to see which gardens were used and how fabulous it all looks.
HCP in the News
Astrid Braunschmidt from CTV was here last week to encourage Families to get out and Garden. Check out this great video of HCP staff members, Linda and Paula, getting some kids interested in growing and eating veggies! 
Most of the January Whatzit? answers were right on the money.  Katrina,  Kathleen, "PC", Leslie,  Donna, and Michael said it was a Humulus lupulus - which is correct.  Dianne and  Edna recognized  "hops," but weren't able to come up with the fancy Latin name.  Dale, on the other hand,  said it was a Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' and that he uses the flowers in his homemade beer for the hop flavour. 
Perhaps everyone isn't aware that we have had some experience with hops on the Island. Tommy sent us some notes that you may find interesting and has suggested the following website for a bit of Hop history:
See if you can tell us whatzit below? Send your answer to enews@hcp.ca

Princesses in the Gardens
The Gardens at HCP is hosting a group of well-known Princesses who will be here for an Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 26th. If you know a special little one who would love this you can get tickets through www.enchantedfables.com.
Pacific Horticulture College (PHC)

Welcome Class of 2016
Our new full-time students started their horticultural journey on January 18. They just completed their third week and have already made a noticeable difference to the appearance of the Gardens - go down the slope when you are visiting and check out the Ornamental Grass Garden!

The students had their first practical lesson on sheet mulching there, putting down layers of cardboard and covering it with leaf mulch to keep the weeds down. Our volunteer, Florentina, had done a fantastic job weeding and cleaning up large sections of the Grass Garden over the past months, and now with the new mulch it looks amazing!
Level 3 Apprenticeship Course Winter 2015/16
A group of Level 3 Apprenticeship students, who are working towards their Red Seal Certification, were here for 6 weeks of technical training from November to January. They accomplished three beautiful hardscaping projects with their instructor Rob DeGros, which are major improvements to the garden. New stairs lead down the pathway between the Winter and the Heather Gardens - no more slipping on gravel on the steep slope. You will also be on firm ground when stepping out the back door of the lunch room - and the Children's Garden has a new sitting circle with a beautiful little driftwood arch. Thank you guys, great work - it was fun having you here, and we are hoping to see you next winter for Level 4!
Upcoming Workshops

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

The Nature of Native Plants
with Kristen Miskelly of Saanich Native Plants
Sunday, February 28
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Many people are interested in environmentally friendly and low maintenance gardens that will attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to their garden. 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.

$45 HCP Members
$60 Non Members

More info at: www.hcp.ca/events

Botanical Soap Making for Mother's Day
with Grace Wolf
Saturday March 5
12:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Come and create unique, earth and skin-friendly soaps. Grace Wolf patiently guides participants to safely create soap from scratch. Each participant takes home a box of soap and a portion of our creation will be donated to a local charity.

Members $80
Non Members $90
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Willow Trellis Workshop 
with Andrew Kent
Saturday, March 6
10:00 am - 2:30 pm

Join artisan Andrew Kent from The Willow Way for this half day workshop. With Andrew's expert instruction you will create your own bent willow trellis to take home. This is a great introduction to rustic building, or with different sizes of willow to create an artistic and functional piece for your garden. All tools are provided and no prior experience is required.
Members $60
Non Members $65

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

Fruit Tree Pruning
with Ryan Senechel
Saturdays March 12 & 19
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

This 2 session course is for the urban fruit growing enthusiast with young or mature plants. The course emphasis is on structural pruning and pruning for fruit production. Also covered is espalier trellis training, soils, and an introduction to plant health care (cultural controls).
Members $85.00
Non Members $100.00
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Living Willow Columns
& Willow Woven Plant Pot Cover

with Joan Carrigan
Sunday March 13
9:30 am - 5 pm

Participants will explore both the potentials of creating living willow structures using fresh willow and weaving dried willow that has been soaked to become pliable again. First the living willow will be woven in the form of a decorative round column planted in a plastic pot of soil. If kept watered throughout the spring and summer it will root and grow in the pot. To cover the plastic pot, we will weave a simple yet attractive willow cover.

Members $115
Non Members $135
To sign up call 250 479 6162 or email communityed@hcp.ca for more information.

Plant Identification and Culture 2016
with 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 on-going course and can be joined at any time, all year long, one Saturday a month.
Saturdays: 1:00pm - 400pm
Jan 23, Feb 27 , March 19, April 16,
May 14, June 18, July 16, Aug 27,
Sept 17, Oct 15, Nov 19, Dec 3
HCP 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

Youth Programs

Family Workshop Series
Learn and play with your family in the Gardens at HCP during our series of Growing Together workshops;
  • Seeds & Starts - Learn to select and grow your own nutritious edibles from seed ...and take home the fruits of your labour!
  • Garden Prep Basics - Learn about plot orientation and soil preparation ... and plan your best garden ever!
  • Maximizing Your Yield - Find out how to maximize your yield and grow healthy crops with less effort!
  • Creative Food Growing - Use your creative means to plan and plant a food garden in small spaces!
Dates:   Saturday's February 13, March 5, March 19, April 2 2016
Fee: $25 / 2 hr session (up to 4 people with minimum of 1 adult) or $80 / 4 sessions. (Materials are included in the fee)

For more information about Birthday Parties and School Tours & Programs contact Paula at youthprograms@hcp.ca or call 250-479-6162 to register your family

Spring Break 
Junior Master Gardener Camps
Come grow with us! This dynamic program educates youth about horticulture, health, nutrition, environmental science, leadership and life skills using fun and creative activities. Flexibility is a key component of the JMG program that enables it to be adapted to meet the needs and interests of different individuals and organizations. It is perfectly suited to Afterschool Childcare Programs, 4-H, Home School groups, or any number of interest groups as a program enhancement.

Cost: $175/Child per full day/week long program (10% discount for siblings registering for the same camp)

Cost: $140/Child per full day/4 day program (10% discount for siblings registering for the same camp)

Spring Break Programs
March 14-18               9:00am-4:00pm                Ages 6-11
March 21-24               9:00am-4:00pm                Ages 6-11

To register for these camps call Saanich Recreation at 250-475-7600. Don't wait! They sell out!


Focus on Volunteers
The Doris Page Winter Garden
The Doris Page Winter Garden is lovingly and capably tended by eight women.  Cumulatively they represent 75 years of dedicated service to the HCP.  Anita, the longest serving member, has been volunteering for over 20 years and remembers Doris Page herself.  Marilyn, recently arrived from Saskatoon, joined the group just 2 months ago.  Jean is a native of Victoria - everyone else has retired from the east to this marvellous climate and thoroughly appreciates the ability to garden all winter.  

The group works collaboratively together under the supervision of Giles.  Everyone has a role.  Donna maintains the plant inventory and is in charge of labelling; Susan maintains the garden log; Pam has traditionally hosted the annual plant sale; Jean is the treasurer; Ingrid, our most knowledgeable gardener, works with Donna, Gillian, and Anita on plant selection; and Marilyn liaises with the staff at the HCP and attends curators' meetings.  Together they keep the garden looking splendid and, most important, they have become good friends who enjoy working together as a team.  
The Bookend
"Never judge a book by its cover."  That has always been good advice; however, in our library we jumped to a conclusion one day that The English Gardening School was about  an English school and so something we didn't need to save.  Later on, when we had some time to review things, we discovered it was a "distillation of the courses" that had been taught at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London.  It's actually a potentially useful book for folks considering doing some serious design and construction work on their properties.
Like many books of this nature, it often serves to jog the imagination - and maybe even the initiative - of readers, rather than give one complete instructions of how to tackle our own particular spaces.  However, we could save ourselves a lot of time, effort and money if we were to follow at least a few of the professionals' suggestions/ instructions before we start digging!
Your library has a truly impressive collection of "how-to" books. Check it out sometime.