Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 07/05/2015

Photo taken on July  4, 2015

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annual Nature Calgary bus trip 2015
Olds College Botanic Gardens & Wetlands
N of Calgary
Anne Elliott
4 July 2015

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Olds College Botanic Gardens and Wetlands

Olds College Botanic Gardens and Wetlands
Yesterday, 4 July 2015, was the Nature Calgary annual bus trip, and this year it was a visit to the Olds College Botanic Gardens and Wetlands. The College is approximately 95.0 km north of Calgary, roughly a 55 minute drive. This once-a-year outing always feels so good for everyone - no driving, simply relaxing on a bus. We had about three hours there, which sounded short, but in fact worked out quite well.

The mission of the College is:

"Our goal is to develop a Botanic Garden on the Olds College campus, which introduces, conserves, and maintains a diverse, well-documented and accurately labeled collection of prairie hardy plants.

Our collections will preserve our natural heritage, expand the role of Olds College as a Centre of Excellence in Horticulture, and gain formal recognition with the Canadian Botanical Conservation Network (CBCN) and the American Public Garden Association (APGA).

Olds College Botanic Garden will enhance and support education, training, demonstration, and applied research programs that span the generations and encourage the exchange of information and ideas with industry, students, other botanical gardens and the public.

The Botanical Garden will also raise awareness with the public regarding the importance of sustainable environments."

About the College:

"Not just a walk down the garden path, the gardens are designed to meet the instructional needs of courses and programs on campus, and are used as the location and subject matter for research projects. The Botanic Gardens are an aesthetically beautiful, diverse and well-maintained garden and constructed wetlands. Highlights include our collections of hardy peonies, lilies and roses, natural areas, a wide variety of aquatics, herb garden, fabulous annual displays each year and much more.

The Gardens are comprised of three phases spread over 25 acres and are populated with a wide ranging collection of prairie hardy plant material, both native and ornamental. The most established parts of the garden are the Central Portion opened in 2002.

The third and most recent phase of our Botanic Gardens is the East Portion which contains the Treatment Wetlands, opened in early September of 2013.

The three phases when considered together include naturalized landscapes, specialty gardens, walking trails, demonstration plots, an arboretum and 20 constructed treatment wetlands and display ponds. The area is complete with two public gazebos, an amphitheater and event areas. The Botanic Gardens & Treatment Wetlands has the ability to host weddings, reunions, graduations, workshops, and boasts 1.3 kilometers of trails throughout the gardens and wetlands.

Botanic gardens are quite different from other public garden spaces or show gardens. To be able to be identified as a botanic garden, several criteria must be met. For example, botanic gardens must:

Be open to the public
1. Exhibit a degree of permanence
2. Use a scientific basis as the foundation for their collections
3. Document and monitor the collection
4. Communicate information to other gardens, institutions and the public
The Botanic Gardens and Treatment Wetlands at Olds College is dedicated to meeting all criteria and continuing to expand its value to the college and extended community."