This morning we tour the Horticulture Center of the Pacific (HCP) Gardens. The 3.5 hectares of gardens exemplify the potential of gardening in every season in the Pacific Northwest. The gardens we tour are; the Mixed Borders Garden, which provides inspiration for year-round gardeners in a home garden setting; The Doris Page Winter Garden, dedicated to horticulturist Doris Page, who brought Hellebores to Vancouver Island; The Rhododendron Garden; and the Takata Japanese Garden, a 20-year old Japanese garden that includes traditional plants, bridges, stone lanterns and an authentic teahouse. The Bonsai Garden was created in 2014, with over 60 bonsai trees. The collection is diverse and uses many trees native to Vancouver Island.
In the afternoon we tour Finnerty Gardens, University of Victoria, which has one of Canada's best collections of rhododendrons. Complementing the plant life are three tranquil ponds, an inviting network of winding paths and dozens of benches. Finnerty Gardens is a beautiful naturalistic garden and we visit it during the best of the seasons.
We then visit a private garden in Oak Bay. The owner has been asked several times to open her garden to groups but has declined. We will be the first the group to view her garden. A rare privilege!
We travel back to the hotel via the upper class neighbourhood, the Uplands. It is a prime example of a garden suburb designed in the early part of the 20th century. The renowned landscape architect, John Olmsted, was hired as the designer. The Uplands of today is faithful to Olmsted's vision: the lots are large, the houses are meant to impress and the immense gardens are carefully tended. Olmsted considered Uplands to be his master residential work. B