Anne Kadwell

Anne Kadwell

HCP is renewed with programming, pavilion

Horticultural Centre of the Pacific looking to book Mel Couvelier Pavilion through fall, winter

There’s no other place like the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, which has some in Saanich wondering if the 36-year-old gardens could be a little more popular, including general manager Anne Kadwell.

The gardens are immaculate and educational, HCP’s master gardener program is thriving, and the Pacific Horticulture College is renowned. Visitors are frequent and HCP offers a rich variety of programs, such as the junior gardeners summer camp. In fact, HCP overall is in decent financial shape thanks to about 100 regular volunteers, organized by a skeleton staff of four. The biggest challenge right now is booking fall and winter events in the new Mel Couvelier Pavilion, which is a tough place to get into during the summer months.

“If a bride makes a site visit (to the pavilion) they book it, they’re ecstatic,” Kadwell says.

Kadwell’s love for the gardens is unabashed. She worked there a decade ago and returned as general manager in October.

“As a facility, we find (most of) the people who book it are (already) nature-focused, so it’s a matter of bringing in other people,” she says.

The Couvelier Pavilion is a West Coast monument of windows and exposed wood, an ideal replacement for the popular but barebones greenhouse which preceded it. To help cover the pavilion’s $750,000 mortgage, management is introducing Christmas party packages for 2015, including catering  by Food for Thought. It’s all led by new event and office manager Dana Gage, who is already booking the pavilion for the summer of 2016.

“The numbers for (2016) are strong, already ahead of where we were for bookings this time last year (for 2015),” Gage says.

The pavilion has some available bookings for this summer but not on Saturdays.

Kadwell says beyond Christmas parties, staff are looking to draw new events, such as corporate seminars and conferences.

“Maybe it’s seen as remote, but to have access to these gardens and be able to wander around here during a conference is quite appealing,” she said. “It’s not unlike the weddings we hold. At night the gardens close to the public, but the wedding guests are able to walk through the grounds.”

On July 6, Saanich Council approved HCP’s request for $70,000 to perform upgrades: $32,000 will shore up the roof and kitchen of Nourish Cafe, $30,000 will help upgrade a college classroom and support the program and, $8,000 will help convert the caretaker cottage into a student learning centre.

In addition to HCP’s popular Arts and Music festival (Aug. 15 and 16), the centre has partnered with CTV to offer Picnic in the Gardens, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26. “Bring your picnic basket, a blanket, family, friends and lawn games,” Kadwell says. “Just hang out on the grass and eat dinner.”

Entrance is by donation.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read