Author: Dana

A Garden for all Occasions

We love that the Garden is used in so many ways. From future horticulturists learning their trade to weddings where couples begin their lives together here, there is always something going on.  When we talk to people in the community we find that the Gardens mean different things to many people – perhaps their child attended one of our Junior Master Gardener Camps at Spring Break or they brought their Mother here to take a Wreath Making class at Christmas time. We really do have a special place for everyone. As a small not-for-profit, our staff certainly knows about...

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Tips & Tricks for your Wedding

As a new employee at the HCP, nothing could have prepared me for the excitement that this summer would bring. Tasked with helping out with events, there’s something new and exciting to see and do every day. One thing I particularly enjoyed this summer was helping out with weddings. The hustle and bustle each wedding brought was a highlight in my week. Whether it was an outdoor reception, or indoor banquet, whether the wedding colours were pink or blue, each wedding was truly unique. It was amazing to see how the gardens transformed into a couple’s vision, and even...

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Looking Back at Arts & Music

The Gardens were alive and buzzing this past weekend with over 50 local artists and musicians showcasing their talent to the Gardens’ many visitors. With 1500 people touring through the variety of different displays as well as all the gardens, Arts and Music was a huge success! After the event is over, one of the highlights for the staff is going through all the feedback and reviews submitted by the visitors, artists and musicians. So much hard work is put into this event throughout the year, and it’s extremely helpful for us to hear about our successes and opportunities...

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Propagating Succulents

Succulents: natures gift to the “low maintenance gardener”. Here at the HCP we’re in love with these no fuss, easy – to – grow plants. Whether they’re creeping along the rock borders or planted perfectly in a pot, with so many colours and varieties, it’s impossible to choose a favourite. One way you can bring these pretty plants into your own home/garden is by propagating them! Propagating a succulent simply means that by taking a cutting of a leaf or a stem off an already developed plant and providing it with the right conditions, you can create an entirely new succulent....

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Plant Identification with Diane Pierce

After a thoroughly enjoyable Plant Identification class, I found myself wondering how the instructor, Diane Pierce remembers so much about the subject. The obvious answer is that she loves plants and gardening. The best part is that her enthusiasm is quite infectious and I know I will be back for my monthly installment of knowledge and inspiration. I loved learning about plants that occur in unusual forms. For example, Clematis recta which is an upright form, quite different from the vine form of Clematis that we all know.  Another curious plant is Hebe ochracea ‘James Stirling’. This little Hebe...

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Garlic Scapes

Have you tried them yet? These long unnoticed early harvests from your hardneck garlic are tasty and people are starting to catch on! To harvest, cut the long curling tendrils a few weeks before garlic bulbs are ready. Depending on how hot and sunny your garden is most scapes are ready for harvest in Victoria, BC right now in mid-June. Although they look prettier don’t let them curl too much or they won’t be as tender. One post I read said that harvesting the scapes before they bloom will also help you get a bigger garlic bulb. Pictured above...

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The Gardens at HCP is Hiring – Summer Students

The Gardens at HCP is hiring three summer students. Please see below for position and application descriptions: Position 1: Gardens Assistant The Gardens at HCP is a public garden and place of learning in Saanich. The HCP is a not-for-profit society focused on the provision of horticulture education and the development and maintenance of 104 acres of educational gardens and conservation lands.  We are currently looking for a secondary or post-secondary student to help fill the summer employment position of Gardens Assistant from June 27 – August 26th, Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM. The successful...

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Honey Bees at the HCP

The Gardens at HCP is a place teeming with life, both flora, and fauna. Besides the humans working hard there are a plethora of critters a visitor may encounter during their visit. Last year, a student found a week-old hummingbird that we were able to reconnect with her mother, bunnies are often shooed away from the edibles, the quail bustle from bush to bush, and we have partnered with Habitat Acquisition Trust to introduce more endangered painted turtles into the Conservation area off Interurban. But where would we “bee” without the many different bees who zip around the Gardens...

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Spring Plant Sale

One of the biggest weekends of the Gardens at HCP year is upon us! Our Spring Plant Sale is the biggest annual fundraiser for the development and maintenance of the Gardens. Over 80% of the plants  for sale have been propagated in-house using plants from our grounds, as well as interesting varieties donated by our volunteers. It is a not-to-be-missed event for dedicated gardeners in Victoria. With only three staff who work in the Gardens, the funds raised support the over 100 volunteers who come on a weekly basis to give their time and energy, including a group who...

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Volunteer Week

With volunteer week approaching next week, April 10 -16th, we would like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to the many, many volunteers who help at the Gardens at HCP. We could go on about their hard work in the gardens, the invaluable help and friendly faces in the offices, or even that we look forward to the new faces that our Arts & Music Festival brings in but, instead, we asked our volunteers WHY they volunteer. Here are a few of the responses: I volunteer for the cookies It’s fun & I get to...

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Albert

  We wanted to introduce you to our Manager of Mice and Night Watchman, Albert. Albert came to us one year ago from a staff member’s home. As a Maine Coone cross we are anxious to see how big he will grow. He started off a little bit shy but bit by bit we coaxed him out. Before long he was a part of our HCP family. HCP cats are a long tradition – no doubt some of the readers will remember Sam and Sophie who used to reside here. Today Albert spends his days sleeping in staff offices,...

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Fergus Garrett at the Gardens at HCP

Our first official blog post is an exciting one! Today we hosted the renowned Head Gardener of Great Dixter House in the United Kingdom, Fergus Garrett. Great Dixter is the family home of gardener and garden writer Christopher Lloyd with a historic house and expansive gardens. Visit  http://www.greatdixter.co.uk to see this wonderful garden. We have Christopher Lloyd’s books in our library, e-mail [email protected] for more information. A group of lucky participants listened to Mr. Garrett’s presentation about bulbs today and we are sure they enjoyed his presentation. The talk was organized by the Hardy Plant Group. Our Couvelier Pavilion...

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Herb Garden

This garden takes you on a delightful and educational journey. The garden contains five distinct sections, each laid out to provide the visitor with species information and planting interest. This garden incorporates design elements from monastery and cloister gardens of medieval Europe to pre-Christian household gardens. A dry stone wall at the south end is constructed to deflect cool winds (which can do more damage to plants then cool temperatures). When you visit, touch the rosemary, thyme and lavender and be transported by their fragrances. In spite of the problem free characteristic of most herbs, this is not a low maintenance garden....

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Hardy Fuchsia Garden

A collection of hardy Fuchsias that grow well in our climate. Fuchsias are easy to care for plants that are pruned in the spring after the last of the hard frosts and will flower from late-spring/early summer until the first hard frost in fall. A formal geometric style provides pattern and structure. Styrax japonicus trees provide the partial shade required for many Fuchsia...

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The Urban Garden

Demonstrates organic principles and sustainable practices in an environmentally-friendly setting. Demonstrates what a homeowner can do on a small urban lot. The history of the potager and of kitchen gardens and victory gardens during the war, show that the reintroduction of urban food production is a viable and sustainable alternative to shipping food from far...

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The Farm Garden

Located in the lower field. The vegetable garden is where the technicians and the public learn how to grow many types of produce and  gardening techniques suitable for year-round harvesting. They learn companion planting, crop rotation, organic methods of pest and disease control and the use of beneficial insects. It is in full sun and Drip irrigation is...

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The Cutting Garden

From Spring to Autumn, from seed to bouquet, a riot of colors and scents create a stunning floral display. Flowers are used to create the gorgeous bouquets that can be found outside the front...

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Birds, Bees & Butterflies Garden (The 3B’s)

This garden was created to demonstrate a variety of plants that attract Birds, Bees and Butterflies to a backyard garden. A mixture of nectar- and pollen-rich plants throughout the seasons include early spring Crocus, summer-blooming Monarda and Echinacea, fall-blooming Asters and winter-blooming...

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Upcoming HCP Events

Meadowscaping for Biodiversity WorkshopApril 28 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pmTwining with Soft MaterialsApril 28 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pmHypertufa Planters IIApril 28 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pmHealthy Soils Workshop Series: Compost Tea for the Garden WorkshopApril 29 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pmKombucha WorkshopMay 5 @ 9:00 am - 12:00...

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Volunteering

Why Volunteer at the HCP? We are always happy to welcome new volunteers to the Gardens. Email us at [email protected] for more information and a list of current volunteer opportunities. Become part of a close-knit group of volunteers and experience some of these great benefits: • Learn from gardening mentor • Gain landscaping work experience • Share your knowledge • Make new friends • Spend time in a beautiful space • Get fit & keep fit • Contribute to conservation efforts • Interact with other gardeners • Fun social events Volunteer as a Gardener Volunteers work with staff to keep our gardens...

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Donate To HCP

Help Us Grow   Why does HCP need your support? The Gardens at HCP are unique, enchanting, well-loved, and nurtured—truly a “hands on” garden experience. Much of the creation and maintenance of the gardens has been carried out by teams of volunteers, providing experiences rich in mentorship, camaraderie, and healthy outdoor exercise. HCP continues to reach out and assist with horticultural initiatives within the larger community. The Pacific Horticulture College educations industry horticulturists, HCP partners with Saanich in upgrading and maintaining Outerbridge Park, and our Community Education is always current with gardening and environmental trends. In 2016, the Gardens...

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Conservation Park

Free to the public, this 100 acre site includes second growth Douglas Fir surrounding wetlands, walking and cycling trails, and a bird watching platform near the Interurban car park. For about 20 years, efforts have been underway to restore and maintain this area in a condition similar to its historical state with facilities for low impact human visits. Ongoing forest restoration includes endangered Garry Oak habitat and edible native...

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The Children’s Garden

This garden offers a mixture of experiences with features to touch, smell and explore. With vegetable beds changing with the seasons, children can help weed, sample lettuce, broccoli, and peas, and learn about the different aspects of these plants. Children can seek out the Sempervivum salamander, the living Thyme bench, the kid-size arbor, and slate patio with...

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Ornamental Grass Garden

Color and size, texture and growth habit add a graceful structural element to this garden. Planted as background, accent plants, screens or edging, grasses add movement and sound to the landscape. Naturalized perennials among the grasses, as well as woody plants, add interest in all seasons. Low-maintenance, drought-tolerant and deer-resistant Ornamental grasses deserve a spot in every...

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Native Plant Garden

A natural setting designed so that plants, indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, can be seen growing in an actively cultivated area as well as in a natural setting. Only 20 native species were on site when the garden was started in 1999.  There are now over 100 species. The 1,630 square metre (0.4 acre) garden is located in a typical lower Vancouver Island setting featuring rocky outcrops, Garry oak, Douglas-fir and spring flowering bulbs such as camas, shooting stars,  fawn lilies. It also provides a natural habitat for both flora and  fauna. The volunteers who maintain this area also participate in...

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