The Honourable David Lam, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (1988–1995), started a garden volunteer program “to improve, preserve and enhance the grounds and gardens of Government House and to encourage the active participation of the people of British Columbia in their development and maintenance”.

This small group of dedicated volunteers has evolved into The Friends of the Government House Gardens Society (The Friends) with a membership of 400, approximately half of whom spend many hours working in the gardens. Non-gardening members work in areas such as archives, library, photography, publications, administration, tour guides, special events, Tea Room and Costume Museum.

The Friends operate year round with most gardening occurring between March through October.  All money raised through memberships and fund raising events is channelled directly back into garden maintenance and improvement.

The Friends is a registered, but not a charitable, Society.  Members may volunteer for Society activities, but this is not a requirement for membership.

The Society is governed by a Constitution and managed by a Board of Directors. Major decisions about the maintenance and improvement of the gardens are made in cooperation with Government House and the Friends.