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Olds College is celebrating its Centennial in 2013. The Botanic Gardens may not be that old, but we'd like to share our history with you.







Grand opening - shot from Centennial Hill.jpg

Grand Opening - amphitheatre.jpg


August 7, 2001
Ground was broken for Phases I & II of the Olds College Botanic Gardens

The first two phases of the botanic gardens were built to expand Olds College’s role in horticulture in Alberta and the Canadian Prairies through demonstration and applied research, and through the exchange of information and ideas with industry, students, other Botanical Gardens, and the public.  The area is situated south of the Land Sciences Building and West of the W.G. Elliott (Ag. Mechanics) and Metals buildings. The original 13 specialty gardens included the Rose Garden, Herb Garden, Iris Dell (now Iris Collection and Annual Display), Natural Areas, Water Garden, Alpine Garden, Apple Orchard, Conifer Bed (now Pinetum), Heritage Grove, and Perennial Border.


July 25, 2002
Phase I & II officially opened by Lt. Governor Lois Hole

This multi-million dollar, multi-phase project evolved through the dedication of many people over 12 years. Volunteers, staff and industry partners worked side by side with Dave Herbert, project manager and Olds College instructor, to realize the vision of a botanic garden at Olds College.  As well as providing a valuable ‘hands-on’ classroom for students, these gardens create a breathtaking botanical environment for the public to enjoy.


July 2002
Vision created for Phase III

Olds College moves forward with plans to develop Phase III of the botanic gardens through a unique collaboration between Olds College, Westhoff Engineering Resources Inc. and Watertech Engineering Research & Health.  Both corporations will utilize their expertise as water resource management consultants to create a number of plans including master drainage, comprehensive water management and a recirculation system.


August 27, 2002
Promenade is officially opened

The Promenade (now the Adrian Bylands Promenade) was officially opened by the Honourable Lyle Oberg, Minister of Learning. The pathway runs between the Land Science Greenhouses and the Landscape Construction Pavilion on the North, and the parking yard of the W.J. Elliott Building (Ag. Mechanics Building) on the South.  (The Promenade is the pathway system that now connects Phase I & II of the Botanic Garden with the East portion of the gardens, completed in 2012, which houses the Treatment Wetlands). This project was a collaborative effort between members of the horticultural industry and Olds College Students and Staff.


The Botanic Gardens ongoing development

As with any garden, the Olds College Botanic Gardens continued to evolve over the years.  Beds were modified and added in response to interest from students and donors, as well as ideas and visions of staff. The All American Selections Display Garden was added in 2004.  Two memorial gardens were added in 2009 and 2010 – the Buck Godwin Memorial Garden and the Ernest Mengersen Butterfly Garden.  The Cleo Mower Garden was constructed in 2011. Also new since the initial construction was completed is the Monocot Bed and the Alberta-Bred Lily Collection.


Planning for Phase III and the Treatment Wetlands begins.

Planning for Phase III and Treatment Wetlands began.  A master plan was made for the 20 acres of land to be developed into a world-class research and education complex including naturalized landscapes, specialty gardens, walking trails, demonstration plots, an arboretum and 20 constructed treatment wetlands and display ponds.


Groundbreaking ceremony for Phase III and the Treatment Wetlands is held.


Summer 2011

The main land work and construction of the ponds, gazebo, amphitheater and pathway system was virtually completed.  Planting began with the installation of 300+ trees, donated by a number of nurseries, and equipment and labour donations by Foothills Landscaping.  Staff from the School of Environment, and across campus, were also involved.


April 2012 - October 2013
Landscaping proceeds throughout the summer.

Landscaping progressed rapidly, with interlocking brick pathways, asphalt pathways, tree and shrub planting, mulching, irrigation, sod installation and seeding.  Perennials were installed on the top of Celebration Hill and aquatic plants were planted in several of the ponds.  The site started to generate interest within the local and campus community, and several college classes carried out activities in the gardens including planting planting grass plugs, measuring trees, mapping out pathways, and testing water quality.


September 2013
Official Opening

After finishing touches to irrigation and landscaping were completed, the gardens were officially opened during the College's Centennial Year of celebrations.   The gardens are now open during the growing season, from dawn to dusk every day of the week.  Research projects are anticipated to start in the spring of 2014.