Thursday, June 15, 2017

Communities That Garden; Silver Springs Botanical Garden

     Back in May we took a trip to the Silver Springs Botanical Garden in North West Calgary. The unveiling of 1000 red and white tulips, planted for Canada's 150th, was taking place although the weather had been so hot the tulips were a little past their prime. I had never been here as it is a fair drive from my part of the city but it is well worth it. The gardens are 100% volunteer started in 2007 after the planting of a Birth Place Forest (there's a few around the city planted in honour of babies born that year) and carved out of a grassy strip/sound barrier from two major freeways. It is quite amazing as there are many grass strip/ sound barrier walls in almost any major city but none look quite like this! There are 12 distinct areas in the 1,347 sq metres like the shade garden, fruit garden, low H20, Old Post garden, Oval garden and Shakespeare garden. I have learned that this is the only Shakespeare garden west of Ontario, named for plants mentioned by the Bard.

The Wall garden runs quite a distance and has a South West exposure which is very beneficial to many plants in a setting like this with the sound barrier providing shelter and residual heat for the plants.

Here a cherry tree comes into bloom as perennials begin to grow.

Here some perennials and vines in the Old Post garden so named for a post left over from an old ranch.

The Rose Bowl, not looking like much this early in the season however the planting of Concorde Barberry was flourishing, I am not familiar with this variety but it apparently does very well here and has a beautiful compact habit with very dark foliage.

Some shots from around the Half Moon garden and Shakespeare garden.

Fruit garden at the peak of spring bloom, mainly apples but also some pears and various berries.

All along the edge of the grass strip which is also an off leash area are various garden beds, well maintained and cared for.

The Labyrinth is another highlight, made from nine thousand bricks and interplanted with decorative thyme, this seemed very popular with kids and parents tracing the entire path!

Here the bricks and thyme form the labyrinth pattern.

Just north of the Labyrinth is a curly que planting of columnar aspens, in the centre a brick circle. It's a nice effect and best use of columnar aspens I have seen yet!

One of the volunteers was out promoting a new feature for the garden, QR codes, if you have this app on your phone you can simply scan the code and a list of plants will pop up like here in the Lo H2O garden (plants that need little water, if you don't get it). Then you can identify and read about all of the plants in this garden, instead of looking for a tag. I love the idea and find this is a very useful resource.

     This garden is well worth the field trip, I should go again at prime bloom season. There is a website for more information and directions although I found it quite easily and have never been there before. I don't know whats in the water up there but I wish more communities cared and took the time for projects like this! This garden is an example for communities all over the country and is a valuable resource for gardeners in this area!

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