The 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. The wide variety of plants require much in the way of customized care with respect to planting, propagating, thinning, pruning, watering, harvesting and preparing for use.

Learn what Native plants were traditionally used for food and discover the plants behind some traditional herbal medicines, aromatherapy, essential oils and plant-based dyes.

Posted by Dana Feb 15 2016

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 cultivars.

Posted by Dana Feb 11 2016

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 away.

Posted by Dana Feb 18 2016

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 used.

Posted by Dana Feb 8 2016

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 office.

Posted by Dana Feb 8 2016

Birds, Bees and Butterflies Garden

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 Mahonia.

Posted by Dana Feb 8 2016

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 plants.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Lily Garden

This garden is devoted primarily to the genus Lilium and demonstrates different varieties of asiatic hybrids, trumpet hybrids, and oriental lilies, in a wide range of sizes and colours. It includes lily cultivars from all divisions and many species are represented, many hundreds of bulbs in total.

Companion plants include many other genera, including a wide variety of Iris and other perennials, to provide interest year round.

May-August is the peak bloom period, the garden then being magnificent with dramatic blooms, luscious scents and exuberant growth typical of Lilium.

Another highlight of the garden is the mimosa tree Albizia julibrissin.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Mediterranean Garden

Features plants found in the different regions of the world where Mediterranean gardens flourish: South Africa, California, the Mediterranean Basin, Central Chile, South Africa, and South Western Australia. Victoria has a modified Mediterranean climate ( hot/dry summers, and very wet winters), drainage is key to the survival of these gardens. Several plants found in this garden must be lifted prior to winter and stored in order for them to survive, as they are not hardy in this climate.

Foliage, colour and texture are key elements of this display. A  garden that is pleasing to the eye as well as drought tolerant and low maintenance.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Mixed Borders Garden

Today’s major design trend is a mixed border garden, because it can provide year round interest in smaller home gardens using a combination of plants that: horticulturally belong together, look as if they belong together, and fit in with their surroundings.  Special attention is given to the relationships among foliage texture, plant size, bloom time, and hot or cool colour use. Architecturally, the trees and shrubs create a secluded valley that one walks within.

This is one of our most popular gardens showcasing unique plants.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

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 plant salvage operations and many of the plants come from sites in the Victoria area where new construction is occurring in natural areas.

This habitat includes a dazzling display of spring wildflowers, moss-covered rocks, and a diverse bird and bat community.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Ann’s Garden

Created as a cottage-style garden in memory of Barbara Ann Jardine (1923-1991), a long time volunteer at the HCP.

A mixture of old-fashioned flowering shrubs and perennials, spring bulbs, self-seeding annuals, and biennials create an informal, colourful, three-season garden.  Plants include Primula, Narcissus, Tulipa  and Myosotis in the spring; Clematis Montana ‘Pink Perfection’ climbing up into the Douglas Firs for a spectacular early summer display; Hydrangea, Gaura, Geranium, Helenium in the summer; and Anemone japonica and Sedum spectabile for fall interest.

This is a genuine memorial garden in that it utilizes plants that Ann Jardine loved, and also carries on a gardening style that she practised. It also Serves as a model for homeowners with moderate gardening skills and aspirations.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Rhododendron & Hosta Garden

A woodland setting demonstrates a harmonious garden with year-round interest by displaying both evergreen and deciduous Rhododendrons.

Several varieties of Hosta as companion plants provide unusual leaf textures, color and flowers after the peak Rhododendron display (late April to early June). 

 Generally, most rhodos like shade or part shade and were originally planted under the large Douglas-fir and Grand fir trees but because of a root rot (Phellinus) many of the more hazardous trees were felled. This area has poor drainage so most of the rhodos had to be elevated, coarse sand and leaf mulch added and many drainage ditches dug.  Generally, rhodos like to sit on a mound.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Bonsai Garden

Created in 2014, with over 60 bonsai trees on display. Bonsai is a Japanese phrase meaning “plant in a tray. It includes many styles of miniaturized tree arrangements and containers that work together as a unified whole to present an artistic representation of mature trees.

The collection is very diverse and has many trees native to Vancouver Island on display (including Mountain hemlock, Douglas fir, White spruce, Ponderosa pine, Yellow cedar, Western Red cedar, and Shore pine). There are also many exotic trees include Japanese maple, Ginkgo, Chinese elm, Pyracantha, Japanese larch, Hornbeam, Beech, Hinoki cypress, Japanese black pine, and Shimpaku juniper.

It is the only outdoor Bonsai garden in Western Canada and the second largest in all of Canada. A great display of the art of bonsai in a tranquil environment, a great place to relax and enjoy a sunny afternoon.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Takata Japanese and Zen Garden

Named for the Takata family who owned and operated a Japanese garden in Esquimalt from 1907-1942. When they were forced to leave Victoria they gave many plants to their Gorge neighbours including 2 Japanese maple now over 100 years old that were transplanted here in 2008 as a gift from one of those neighbours on the Gorge.

This garden was designed to recreate the unique components of traditional Japanese “stroll gardens” with the focus on understatement and simplicity.

Design features include:

  • Moon viewing bridge made in a traditional, minimalist Japanese style is a popular spot for wedding photos due to the many weddings held on the property.
  • Zigzag bridge known as a Yatsuhashi bridge. It is believed that if chased by evil spirits, anyone crossing the bridge will be protected as the spirits can only go in a straight line and cannot follow around the corners of the bridge.
  • An authentic Ceremonial Teahouse overlooks the lower pond.
  • Fences and gates made from bamboo-like grasses called Miscanthus gigantus harvested from an enormous planting that separates the Zen garden from the upper Takata.

Can you find the subtle turtle in the Zen garden?

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

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 mosaic.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Upper Veggie Garden

This garden demonstrates the variety of vegetables that can be grown in our climate year round.

It includes herbs, small fruits and many flowering plants – some are edible and some are there simply because they grow independently of care.

The raised beds provide better drainage and allow the soil to warm up quickly in the spring.

An environmentally-friendly and organically-grown garden.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Doris Page Winter Garden

Dedicated to horticulturist Doris Page, who was credited with bringing Hellebores to Vancouver Island and for showing that Victoria is one of the few places in Canada where you can garden year round.

Winter visitors will see several varieties of Hellebore and spring bulbs in bloom as well as enjoy the sweet scents of Sarcococca, Daphne odora, Lonicera and Chimonanthus praecox. Key elements for winter interest are: colored berries, coloured bark & stems, branch structure & form, flowers and fragrance, evergreen ferns, and ornamental evergreens.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Drought Resistant Garden

The changing climate has necessitated a need to alter our watering practices. Exposed to full sunlight, all plants are chosen to provide long seasons of interest & light watering requirements (once established). Plants include cacti, succulents, hardy prairie plants, and mediterranean herbs. In addition plants normally associated with more moist conditions such as Achillea (Yarrow), Belamcanda chinensis (Blackberry lily), and Diascia, have been included for experimental purposes.

This garden demonstrates a variety of plants that tolerate hot and dry summer conditions. One of the challenges for a drought tolerant garden in Victoria will be to foster plants that can survive with virtually no water in summer and sometimes excessive water in the winter.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

Heather Garden

A demonstration of Heathers and companion plants that grow on a windy, sunny slope. “Heather Drifts”, which simulate vast moorland covered with heathers. A “river” of summer-flowering varieties flows down through all three beds. Different varieties of heather provide blossom colour for nine months of the year, and foliage colours of some varieties are striking year-round.

Peak flower color is February-April and July-September.

On a sunny spring day visitors are struck by the sight and sound of all the bees foraging among the flowers, grateful for nectar at a time when food is scarce.

Posted by Dana Dec 10 2015

The Golden Spruce

BC History recounts the amazing story of a proud, majestic and beautiful tree, the Golden Spruce – Picea sitchensis ‘Aurea’. Growing on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), its fame extended internationally, with people coming to view it from many parts of the world until this 300-year-old unique tree was cut down in 1997.

Scrawny in size, but immense in history, the little tree described in the article below, is now living in the Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) where it moved in October 2017. It is a direct descendant of that famous tree, grafted from a branch of the original Golden Spruce, onto Sitka Spruce rootstock (which is the green vertical branch that you see).

Because this tree was grafted from a lower branch of the original tree, it lacks the hormone needed to make one branch turn upwards to form a dominant vertical “leader”. Therefore, it can only form a bush, rather than the typical triangular shape of normal trees. The lack of chlorophyll (green) in the golden needles means that they sunburn easily and then some can drop off. This is why it needs to grow in a shaded spot. To our knowledge, this is the oldest surviving direct descendant of the original tree, but all others are the same shape as this tree, resembling a bush.

The full story of the original Golden Spruce can be read in the national bestselling book, available in the HCP Giftshop: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed By John Vaillant

The DVD, “Hadwin’s Judgement” is a movie about the sad story of the events that led up to the cutting down of this magnificent tree, and is available to view or borrow for HCP members.

The following story is one dictated by Jim Kinghorn, the propagator of this tree, to his daughter in 2013, less than a year before he died. The tree spent most of its life at Jim’s residence in Saanich, and was moved to HCP as a donation to honor this amazing tree and its prominent place in BC History. A Serpentine Tale can be found here.

Posted by Linda Petite Sep 6 2017