Botanic Gardens

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Botanic Gardens & Constructed Wetlands

The Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands at Olds College truly offer something for everyone regardless of the season. In spring you’ll be treated to flowering trees and shrubs, early blooming perennials, swaths of spring bulbs and the sound of water starting to move through the constructed wetlands. Summer brings fabulous displays of annuals in select beds, and in containers strategically placed throughout the gardens.

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 and community learning opportunities. The Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands has the ability to host weddings, reunions, graduations, workshops, and boasts over two kilometres of trails throughout the gardens and wetlands.

Olds College

Central Gardens

The Central Gardens are nestled between several of the buildings on campus, and are traveled through by staff and students on a daily basis. 

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Olds College

Constructed Wetlands

The Constructed Wetlands spread over 15 acres, and encompass a series of 19 ponds. If you walk the entire pathway system you will have covered 2 kilometers. 

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Olds College

Visit The Gardens

The Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands at Olds College offers something for everyone  whether you're a keen gardener looking for ideas or seeking a pleasant place to stroll.

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What are Botanic Gardens?

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, exhibit a degree of permanence, use a scientific basis as the foundation for their collections, document and monitor the collection and communicate information to other gardens, institutions and the public.

The Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands at Olds College is dedicated to meeting all criteria and continuing to expand its value to the College and extended community. To learn more about the standards to which botanic gardens adhere, and the history of botanic gardens, visit Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

Our goal is to maintain a Botanic Garden that introduces and conserves a diverse, well documented and accurately labeled collection of prairie hardy plants. Our collections preserve our natural heritage and expand the role of Olds College as a Centre of Excellence in Horticulture. Olds College's Botanic Gardens enhance and support education, training, demonstration, and applied research programs that span generations and encourage the exchange of information and ideas with industry, students, other botanical gardens and the public. The Botanical Garden also raises awareness with the public regarding the importance of sustainable environments.

Our Botanic Gardens have received formal recognition with the Canadian Botanical Conservation Network (CBCN) and the American Public Gardens Association (APGA).

Support the Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands

In 2017 we started a Volunteer Program to allow members of the public to give their time and energies to the Botanic Gardens. Interested parties can send an e-mail to OCBotanicGardens@oldscollege.ca

Donate online  Set in Stone and Tribute Bench Programs

Additional Information:

The Buck Godwin Herbarium at Olds College

A herbarium is a collection of dried plants, especially one in which the plants have been mounted, systematically classified, and labeled for use in scientific studies. Most botanical gardens and educational institutions that provide courses in botany, horticulture and other related subjects have herbariums on site. In 1964 the horticulture program at Olds College was launched due in large part to the initiative of B.J. ‘Buck’ Godwin, an instructor at the College from 1963 to 1988. At the same time, he founded the herbarium.

In 1969 the sign outside the door indicated that the collection consisted of 5,045 sheets of plant material of prime interest to horticulture and agriculture with the oldest specimens being collected in 1904. As of 2016 the collection houses approximately 3,000 folders and 30,000 mounts, filed alphabetically by family, genus, species and cultivar. The plant material includes native and ornamental plant material from Alberta, Alaska, the Yukon, the northern U.S.A. and from most Canadian provinces. A number come from foreign countries including the former Soviet Union.

Anyone wishing to learn more of visit the herbarium please e-mail OCBotanicGardens@oldscollege.ca

Olds College joins forces with Nektar

In March 2013, Olds College embarked on an exciting new project with Nektar, a company that creates and provides management systems to simplify the collection and analysis of field data.  The Botanic Gardens uses their Histree product, developed to manage green spaces. Using QR codes and an app that is tailored to the Olds College Botanic Gardens, staff are able to scan plant tags, labels and signs with their smart phones to access more information on plants and beds within the gardens. Staff are able to track maintenance tasks, health concerns and growth rates in the field, and instructors can use this system with students, having them contribute information to the database among many other activities.

Download on the App Store Download on Android - Google Play

Olds College Botanic Gardens and the Alberta Regional Lily Society

Olds College has been working with the Alberta Regional Lily Society (ARLS) since 2008. Over this time, dozens of lilies have been trialed and information collected on emergence dates, height, bloom time, bud and flower count and other criteria.  Comparison was done on planting depth, use of mulch and the depth of mulch used.  

Recently, a series of articles has been developed on Lily Basics, published in the newsletters of both the Edmonton and Calgary Horticultural Societies. These among other resources are also available for downloading from on the Alberta-Bred Lily Page. Working with the ARLS the Botanic Gardens has also established three collection gardens—species lilies, Alberta Bred Lilies, and martagons.  These are located in the Central portion of the gardens, providing an invaluable resource for gardeners hoping to choose a hardy lily for their landscape.

Associations

As a botanic garden, memberships are held in several organizations which provide opportunities for networking with other gardens and their staff.

American Public Garden Association - The APGA is committed to increasing the knowledge of public garden professionals throughout North America through information sharing, professional development, networking, public awareness, and research so they have the tools to effectively serve visitors and members.

Perennial Plant Association - The Perennial Plant Association connects professionals, provides education, and promotes perennial plants.  Each year they choose the Perennial Plant of the Year ™ (POY™), showcasing a perennial that is a stand-out among its competitors.  Many of the past winners can be found in the Olds College Botanic Gardens. 

Canadian Botanical Conservation Network - The  objective of Canadian Botanical Conservation Network (CBCN) is to preserve the biological diversity of Canada's rare and endangered native plant species, wild habitats and ecosystems through the education and conservation programs of our members, including botanical gardens and arboreta.

Alberta Native Plant Council - The Alberta Native Plant Council (ANPC) promotes knowledge and conservation of the native plants and vegetation of Alberta. 

Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership - The Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership offers training, expertise and networking to professionals seeking to implement sustainable storm-water management in land development.  They partner with communities, academics and stewardship groups to help them increase awareness, understanding, acceptance and action towards upland practices that will lead to healthier watersheds in Alberta.