Di­verse gar­den land­scapes

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - News -

pipe­line from the oil wells, the dunes and peat sloughs were home only to na­tive plants.

In 1974, Mother Na­ture stepped in. Heavy snow­fall fol­low­ing a wet fall cre­ated the per­fect con­di­tions for mas­sive flood­ing, chok­ing out plants and trees. The fol­low­ing year fundrais­ing ef­forts be­gan in earnest to re­pair the dam­age. The Devo­nian Foun­da­tion do­nated over a half mil­lion dol­lars which was matched by the Depart­ment of Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, the only stip­u­la­tion was a re­quest to for­mally name the gar­den The Univer­sity of Al­berta Devo­nian Botanic Gar­den. The siz­able do­na­tions al­lowed for more than flood re­pair, lead­ing to the pur­chase of an ad­di­tional 40 hectares (110 acres), a head­quar­ters build­ing and green­houses. In 2015, an ad­di­tional 80 acre par­cel was do­nated by the fam­ily of orig­i­nal land donor Col. Sandy Dyde, bring­ing the to­tal size of the DBG to 240 acres (97 hectares).

This is more than just a gar­den for pub­lic en­joy­ment, the Univer­sity of Al­berta car­ries out ex­ten­sive re­search here as part of their pro­gram­ming. Staff are do­ing re­search in ar­eas of bryophyte ecol­ogy and di­ver­sity, plant con­ser­va­tion, , the study of wet­lands, mosses and al­gae. Test gar­dens for fu­ture hy­brids and cul­ti­vars are also done here. The fully dig­i­tized herbar­ium con­tains an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of bryophyte spec­i­mens used for re­search and teach­ing..

Its northerly lo­ca­tion of­fers vis­i­tors a chance to see a di­verse range of alpine and cold-hardy plants, but there is much more to this gar­den par­adise than this.

Vis­i­tors should plan out their ex­cur­sions as there are many in­ter­est­ing gar­dens to view here. Gar­dens are or­ga­nized to dis­play dif­fer­ent ecosys­tems (alpine gar­den), his­tory (Na­tive Peo­ples gar­den) and the re­la­tion­ships be­tween peo­ple (Ku­ri­moto Ja­panese Gar­den). Other dis­play gar­dens in­clude the herb gar­den, a peony col­lec­tion, a prim­ula dell, an iris dell, , a col­lec­tion of Al­berta plants and a wide va­ri­ety of or­na­men­tal plants, fruits, veg­eta­bles, trees and shrubs. Each year the hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ists cre­ate new dis­plays for vis­i­tors to en­joy. Here is a taste of some of the gar­dens worth ex­plor­ing:

The Devo­nian was home to the first Na­tive Peo­ples Gar­den cre­ated at a botanic gar­den in Canada. Open­ing in 1980, this gar­den is pop­u­lated with plants that were tra­di­tion­ally used by in­dige­nous peo­ples for medic­i­nal, di­etary and or­na­men­ta­tion pur­poses.

The Devo­nian con­tains a di­verse se­lec­tion of na­tive plant species rep­re­sent­ing all of the lo­cal biomes in Al­berta: grass­land, park­land, foothills, moun­tains and bo­real for­est. The grounds are rid­dled with in­ter­wo­ven paths per­fect for af­ter­noon strolls, but why not get a lit­tle closer to na­ture while you’re there?

With acres of land, an ex­ten­sive hik­ing trail sys­tem and board­walks you can wan­der through sev­eral di­verse ecosys­tems, in­clud­ing tama­rack, birch and sedge fens, wet­lands, aspen park­land and bo­real for­est. View it all in

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