The Garden for Gardeners
About Glendale Gardens and Woodland
A Brief History
The Horticulture Center of the Pacific (HCP) was proposed in 1978 by a group of citizens from Victoria; it was to be a multi-million dollar project. The concept envisaged a Pacific Demonstration Garden, a Pacific Horticultural Training Center, and a Pacific Cultural Center with the nations of the Pacific Rim each providing a pavilion as a national showcase.
The provincial government provided $75,000 to develop the concept and do study which concluded that the project was feasible and recommended a parcel of Crown Lands in Saanich as a suitable site.
As the time approached to apply for a charter, it was necessary to select a name. There was animated discussion whether the name should reflect the province, the city of Victoria, or its actual location in Saanich.
The initial grant had been provided to the Saanich Horticulture Center, and an organization chart, developed at the time, was labeled International Horticulture School. Hal Herbert, an early proponent of the project suggested the Horticulture Center of the Pacific as a name that reflected the international scope of the study of horticulture around the Pacific. It also solved the problem of Saanich versus Victoria versus British Columbia.
In 2006, the name of the physical space was changed to Glendale Gardens & Woodland as it was a name that could encompass both the gardens and the onsite Pacific Horticulture College. It reflects the traditional name of the valley and recognized the HCP as part of the Glendale Land Use Plan. The Glendale Lands include the Vancouver Island Technology Park, run by the University of Victoria, Camosun College and the Pacific Sports Complex.
The Glendale Trail constructed as part of the Saanich Centennial Trails Project links all the land and provides access to the Conservation Park. The Horticulture Center of the Pacific remains the name of the not-for-profit that governs Glendale.
The Province issued the Horticulture Center of the Pacific a charter in 1979. But, by 1982, it was clear that the provincial government was unwilling to provide both land and money, offering instead a long-term lease at a nominal charge. This along with a recession made fundraising difficult.
The whole project foundered and would have been abandoned completely if a few believers had not persisted and begun to create a small demonstration garden on Quayle Road.
Located in the Municipality of Saanich on Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, the peaceful rural site includes: 103 acres of land leased from the provincial government and features demonstration gardens, a conservation park and facilities for private and community events.
Over the next few years, gardens were developed using donated services and labor from supporters in the community. During this period, the Doris Page Winter Garden was created with the active support of the Victoria Horticultural Society. The garden is now a featured attraction showcasing the possibilities inherent in our mild coastal climate.
Later developments included the Takata and Zen gardens, done in the Japanese style. A rhododendron garden was created in 1985; tucked in natural woodland and under planted with hostas and hardy fuchsias, it is of year-round interest.
Other gardens include collections of heathers, irises, hardy fuchsias, ornamental grasses and unique perennials.
A Garden for Gardeners for 30 Years
Discover The Gardens
- 9 acres of spectacular gardens showcase over 10,000 varieties of plants, the majority of which are labeled. 34 different areas are designed and planted to demonstrate landscaping techniques suitable for the Pacific Northwest.
- Some gardens are cared for by local clubs including: Heather, Rhododendron, Lily and Hardy Plant
- Year-round interest includes the renowned Doris Page Winter Garden
- Modest admission fees
Walk The Conservation Park
- Free to the public
- 93 acres of conservation park including second growth Douglas fir surrounding wetlands which provide a feeding area for over 35 varieties of birds
- Cycling and walking trails include the Saanich Glendale Trail, birders’ and dog walkers’ loops
- Pockets of Garry oak habitat and other sensitive native plant material
Attend The School
The HCP offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for all ages and interests including:
- The accredited 10 month Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program conducted by the Pacific Horticulture College
- The Master Gardener Program
- Horticulture Therapy Certificate Program
- Sustainable Gardening Program
- School field trips
- Junior Master Gardener camps
- Community Education workshops
Meet The People
The HCP has a membership of over 1400 and is administered by a Board of Directors while a small dedicated staff oversee the day-to-day operations. A network of professional staff assisted by local experts and very knowledgeable members teach the college program.
Over 200 active volunteers donate over 20,000 hours per year and assist with every aspect of the operation from gardening to construction and hospitality. Partnerships with local gardening clubs round out the community involvement that is an integral part of the HCP philosophy.
Use The Facilities
In order to support its various programs Glendale Gardens & Woodland has a classroom, library, tearoom (Seasonal; limited hours), gift shop, greenhouses, a glasshouse and The Gathering Place, which facilitates weddings and events.
Public funding, local businesses, its own fundraising activities and the generous support of its members contribute to the continued development of the site, specific projects and programs.