For anyone who has spent time in the gardens, it is hard to believe that they have only been here since 2006 when a humble ornamental garden (400 square feet) was developed within the existing BirthPlace Forest (BPF) tree beds.
The BPF, by the way, saw 7000 trees planted in the area. The project was accomplished through a partnership of BP Energy, Calgary Parks, Regional Health and Golden Acres.
In the following year, 2007, the Oval Garden was developed with the participation of Calgary Parks. This ornamental garden is about 3200 square feet. At the same time, the Wall Garden got its humble start when William Morf, a resident whose property backed onto the noise barrier got the idea to develop about a hundred feet of garden along the wall.
This “little” idea eventually blossomed into the current 1300
foot long spectacular Wall Garden.
Since then, a registered charitable society has been formed,
whose directors not only oversee the development of many
new gardens and expanded beds but continue to do much of
the work – joined of course by the tireless and dedicated volunteers.
It should be noted that the total number of accumulated volunteer hours that have gone into the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs is verging on being astronomical.
And the work continues.
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And you thought Roses were difficult to grow in Calgary
The Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs:
Rose gardens are being highlighted in the gardens this year. We have collected many rose varieties over the years and are now over 130 different cultivars.
The Garden was started in 2003 and the first rose garden began in 2009 with preparation of the first half of the Rose Bowl. Twenty-five cultivars were in place by the end of 2010. The second half of the rose garden was prepared in 2012. As well several Heritage Roses were planted at this time in what is now the LoH2O garden. By 2017, the collection of roses within the Botanical gardens had risen to over 80.
The goal of the Botanical Gardens Rose Group is to ‘Collect and preserve hardy and Canadian Heritage Roses’ and to Demonstrate the breadth of roses that can be grown in Calgary without winter protection’ The botanical gardens has partnered with the Calgary Rose Society, Canadian Heritage Rose Experts and other rose and botanical groups to further these aims.
For several years now we have been identifying, mapping, and locating the many roses within the garden. In 2018 there were 220 plant representing 90 different cultivars. At present we have 130 cultivars and hundreds of plants spread throughout the gardens.
Roses that are hardy in Southern Alberta are bred for zone 2 or 3. We currently have cultivars of the following hardy series: Explorer (24),Parkland (14), Prairie (10), Pavement (5), 49th Parallel (2) and Canadian Artist(5). Many of these varieties were developed by Agriculture Canada. We also have several Bugnet roses (4) which are notable for being bred in Alberta. Most of our Old Roses and Canadian Heritage Roses have been donated to us and cannot be readily obtained commercially. We currently have more than 20 different cultivars. The intent of these donations is to increase the geographic distribution and secure locations for these rare species. It also involves a commitment to maintain these collections. All Old Roses were developed prior to 1867.
Roses can be found throughout the garden but there are concentrations of roses in the Rose Bowl, LoH2O garden, Shakespeare garden, Oval garden, and the new forest edge. All the collection is maintained in our database, but it is not yet public.
We are also currently developing methods to maintain specific roses to protect the genetics and to trade with other rose growers for specific roses to add to our collections.
The richness of the rose collection that is hardy in Northwest Calgary is extensive. We are especially thankful for our volunteers for their hard work in developing the database and maintaining the rose collection.
On any day, especially in the morning you will see our volunteers in the gardens. Stop and chat and ask questions (maintaining appropriate distancing of course). We love to talk about our gardens and the work that we do.
Our garden is free to the public. We accept donations. We currently have an opportunity for you to support our garden through an engraved brick program. These bricks will be put in the entrance of the garden this year. See our website (donations) or pick one up at the kiosk.
The Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs is located in the community of Silver Springs within the Birthplace Forest in the North East corner of Silver Springs. The main entrance is beside the ball diamond and a second entrance is near the LDS church. The garden extends over 1.5 kilometers and has mulch paths with small areas of bricked paths. A kiosk at the main entrance or the north entrance provides maps of the garden and photos of the flowers in bloom when you visit.