Hollyhock Learning Centre

Hollyhock Learning Centre
by Jennifer Martin
7 September 2023

This was the clubs’ second trip to Hollyhock Learning Centre on Cortes Island this year.  While late in the summer we had great weather both sunny and cool.   After some members grabbed breakfast at Nancy’s Bakery in Lund, we boarded the 43 ft Schooner Misty Isles and headed for the Southern tip of Cortes Island.  We cruised by Major, Twin & Hernando Islands and Captain Jonas told us about the rich history of this area dating back to Columbus, Captain Cook and George Vancouver.

After 1.5 hrs we arrived at the beach below Hollyhock and tied up to a buoy offshore.  First mate Nadia ferried us onto shore in the zodiac.  As soon as you step ashore you feel the serenity of this special place.   A short walk brings you to the Hollyhock Learning Centre, Restaurant & impressive garden given the remote location.   We dined barefoot on the deck and enjoyed a very healthy lunch of mostly vegetables (grown in the garden), kombucha, organic teas, homemade bread & dressings.

The head gardener Holly then gave us a tour of the 40 yr old diverse and productive garden while sharing some of their composting, soil amending and growing practices with us.   The garden is a lovely mix of densely planted vegetables surrounded by lots of beautiful perennials including some exotic ones that are all used as cut flowers for arrangements in the rooms and around the resort.
After a short swim off the boat, Jonas hoisted the main sail and we cruised past Bliss Landing through the narrow channel of the Copeland Islands.  Jonas pointed out the metal ‘dolphin’ pilings that log booms are tied up to wait out stormy weather.  Just north of Lund our return was delayed by a family of 4 Orcas and we were fortunate to observe them feeding from only 150 metres away.  It appeared they had caught a seal so there was lots of excitement as they put on quite a display.  These special moments are never planned for so it was the perfect ending to an already glorious day.