Volunteers (left to right) Michael Beljankski, Rone Sinclair, and Jayme Hames work in the sun-filled gardens. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Gardens at Horticulture Centre of the Pacific celebrate 40 blooming years

Staff, volunteers invite the public for open houseopen house

The Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) mark 40 years with a two-day celebration with a public open house on Nov. 8 and 9.

The Gardens opened in 1979 when several community members envisioned a place to each people to garden professionally. They approached Mel Couvelier, then mayor of Saanich and namesake of the HCP pavilion, about turning the patch of Crown land into a demonstration garden and college.

Couvelier was happy for it to become a “centre for excellence in horticulture,” Linda Petite, head gardener.

On Nov. 7, 1979, the B.C. government issued a certification of incorporation and the HCP became an official non-profit.

READ ALSO: Pumpkin people, pressed apples and more to grace Family Harvest Festival in Saanich

The 40th anniversary celebration will include guided tours of the gardens and historical displays created by volunteers, and a Then and Now slide show in the pavilion from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Scrapbooks, photo albums and news clippings from over the years will also be on display for attendees to see what the garden was like when it first opened, Petite explained.

The guided tours will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day and will be lead by the Victoria Master Gardeners. Space is limited so advanced registration by phone or email is required. Guests are welcome to tour the gardens on their own at anytime through out the day.

“It will be a celebration of accomplishments and what has become of the gardens over the years,” Petite said proudly.

When it first opened, the garden was run entirely by volunteers, some of whom still help out and will be in attendance on Friday and Saturday. Petite noted it will be a good opportunity to speak to people – some in their nineties – who remember the garden in it’s early stages.

READ ALSO: Saanich’s HCP celebrates 25 years of Arts and Music in the Gardens

The HCP staff and volunteers are looking forward to the next 40 years for keeping up with gardening trends, teaching and sharing.

“The sky’s the limit, ” said Petite.

Admission is by donation and all proceeds will go towards maintenance and supplies to keep the garden up and running.

Anyone interested in the guided tours can contact reception at 250-479-6162 or by email at reception@hcp.ca to register.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Sooke Santa Run 2019 an inspiration

Loads of food for the food bank and a lot of smiles

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Goldstream church offers free festive feast

Gordon United Church says all are welcome to attend Monday’s meal

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Sex workers march in downtown Victoria for Red Umbrella Day

Red umbrellas became a symbol of sex workers after an art installation in Italy

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read