Due to its location and my lack of transportation I decided to only visit Gardens at the HCP on Friday (February 24th). Despite it being winter on the West Coast during this time, the gardens were beautiful. The The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) has a Bonsai Garden, a Winter Garden, a Takata Garden (Japanese ‘less is more’), a Children’s Garden, a Native Plant Garden, and a Birds Bees and Butterfly Garden. There are amazing stone statues and structures spread out through all the gardens. If you love taking home little trinkets, they have a small gift shop in their main office. Next to the office, there is a cute little cafe, guarded by an orange feline, called Charlotte and the Quail where you can sit and relax with a tasty meal. A lot of weddings and events are also held at the gardens throughout the year.
The Gardens at the HCP is a non-profit organization that holds events and workshops for the community. The Pacific Horticulture College is located on the grounds and offers Landscape Horticulture Certificate programs, Level 3 4 Apprentice Technical Training, and a Pesticide Training Course, to name a few.
My favourite areas were the Bonsai Gardens, the forest of Rhododendrons, and a rock structure called The Folly (pictures below).
Leaving the gardens, you can walk a little ways along the road to view farmlands and wetlands. Across from the Gardens (can also be viewed at a distance within the gardens) is the Viaduct Flat Wetland/Conservation Area which has a few small hiking trails (easy) that are open to the public. I did not go far onto the trails but I did manage to see a few white swans swimming in the lake.
I can’t wait to go back to the Gardens at the HCP in the late spring/early summer when there will be more brightly colored plants lining the paths.