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Botanic Gardens & Constructed Wetlands

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.

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.

Central Gardens

Garden areas have been created and planted based on particular criteria for each. These gardens are as hard-working as the Constructed Wetlands. They provide resources for courses and programs at the College, gardening information and inspiration for garden visitors, research opportunities, and of course a wonderful setting for campus staff.

Constructed Wetlands

Spread over 15 acres, and encompassing a series of 19 ponds, the scale is dramatic. If you walk the entire pathway system you will have covered 1.3 kilometres. Planted with hundreds of trees and shrubs, native plants, perennials and wetland plants, the site is truly impressive.

Environmental Stewardship

Our facility serves as a model to demonstrate the way wetlands can help reduce negative impacts on our environment and the increasing demand for clean water. Together the constructed wetlands and the Botanical Garden provide an outdoor laboratory for students, an industry training site, and a nucleus for community programs – all in one

Visiting the Gardens

The Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands are open to the public free of charge from dawn til dusk during the gardening season (April to October). During the winter months, the Central portion of the gardens is accessible, but the east portion is closed to the public. Donation boxes are found at each entrance to the gardens, and a $5 donation is suggested. All proceeds go to the ongoing support and care of the gardens.

Guided Tours

The Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands consists of two main portions - Central (the original two phases) and East (third phase including the constructed wetlands). Each is worthy of its own more detailed tour, or you may opt to have an overview of both. The timing of your tour, and the price, is dependent on this choice. If you are interested in a tour that focuses more specifically on the construction, functioning, and research activities related to the Constructed Wetlands, we would be happy to provide a guide with the relevant expertise.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

Alberta Bred Lily Collection

Partnerships & Associations

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