Saanich’s Horticulture Centre of the Pacific is Canada’s Garden of the Year.
HCP was named the top destination garden at the Canadian Garden Council’s recent annual general meeting, where it announced its Garden Tourism Award winners. HCP general manager Deborah Donahue made the annoucement to the applause of dozens of HCP volunteers, the Wednesday morning regulars, who took a few minutes out of their day for cake.
“It’s time that it happened, for all the great work the volunteers have put into HCP,” said Donahue, who moved into the GM role this year after two-and-a-half years as the finanical administrator. “And it’s time to put HCP on the map, we’re part of what makes [Greater] Victoria awesome.”
Criteria included having proven success in attracting and engaging tourists to the garden and its events and activities, which HCP does with its annual Arts and Music in the Garden summer festival, plant and seed sales, youth, student and master gardener programs, regular community workshops and the Pacific Horticulture College.
HCP’s Mel Couvelier Pavilion is already booked every weekend of the upcoming spring and summer season for weddings and other events.
“We have more than 200 volunteers here,” said HCP office manager Jo Volek. “They are the backbone of HCP and it’s really their award.”
Donahue was sure to credit outgoing GM Anne Kadwell for entering HCP into the Garden Tourism Awards.
It was the first time HCP was nominated for the awards. HCP is a non-profit with three full-time staff and four part time employees.
HCP’s next plant sale is the weekend of April 22 and 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by Tomato Day, May 20, 9 a.m. to noon.