Visitors to Victoria as well as locals are drawn to the Gardens at HCP and why not? It is a quiet walk through a secret garden! Designed as a demonstration Garden, it shows the variety of gardening that can be done in the Pacific Northwest during all seasons of the year. Standing in the Rose Allée, you will see a gorgeous Eucalyptus framing a lake in the background, the Hardy Border Garden on your left gives you inspiration for your own Garden, while smells from the Herb garden float up and on your right children play around a Mulberry bush. And that is at the beginning of your journey!
Although the Gardens seem quiet, it is a hubbub of activity! Visitors to the Gardens can always have a peaceful walk, listening to the trickle of the stream in the Takata Japanese Garden with an array of birds serenading you, a buzz of bees making honey, or a chirping squirrel. HCP is designed to explore – there are a few “main” pathways, but mostly there is a labyrinth of secret trails and bridges. The Gardens take on a new energy though if you ever come on a Wednesday morning. The Gardens are full of hard-working volunteers who work fostering their particular garden through the year. On Tuesdays you may find a group of Horticulture College students learning Plant Identification, Saturdays during the summer people are dressed in their finest for a wedding amongst the trees and flowers or perhaps you will stumble upon a Sunday afternoon pruning class, or a birthday party of little fairies planting succulents in tea cups. No matter what, you will always find peace and tranquility, as there is something about the Gardens that draws you in and makes you fall in love with this space.
We asked the people who spend the most time in the Gardens at HCP, the staff, what their favourite things are. This is what they said:
- The most special thing to me about the Gardens is being able to witness the love and celebration of so many families and friends on wedding days! It’s an honour to play a part in their special day, and all that love rains down into the Gardens like a secret recipe magic fertilizer.
- My second favourite thing about the Gardens is having a glass of wine on the patio at Charlotte & The Quail and watching the kitties roam by!
- A place to learn and grow for so many people from professionals to gardening newbies!
- So peaceful it feels like you’re far far away from the city that is beautiful year-round
- Amazing community of gardeners, and, the variety of plants!
- Our resident cat, Albert and that people can bring their dogs for a walk (on-leash).
- There are lots of benches throughout the garden to sit and enjoy the views
- Visitors can visit the Plant Sale area that is open to the public from April through November and that offers many unique plants propagated from the gardens.
- There is always something new to see, I have worked here three years and continue to discover!
- The sense of community that the volunteers in our many different area gardens bring when they work together as one to create one horticulture centre.
- Pride is also a feeling you will experience here due to the energy and hard work everyone has put into seeing the garden grow and change over time.
- What I feel every time I enter the garden encompasses the past almost 40 years of volunteered hard work, dedication, time, energy and an overwhelming amount of love.
Make sure your summer includes a visit to the Gardens at HCP – try to come a couple of times and marvel at the changes throughout the year. We offer great membership rates that include admission to our annual Arts & Music Festival. We also offer by-donation days, including our popular Picnic Nights. These are a quiet and serene way to spend a summer evening in the shade, listening to the breeze in the trees and a local musician. Check the calendar to see what we have coming up and we look forward to welcoming you soon!