University of Alberta Botanic Garden

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Water feature and bridge in the Japanese garden

The University of Alberta Botanic Garden (formerly the Devonian Botanic Garden) is Alberta's largest botanical garden. It was established in 1959 by the University of Alberta, and is located near the town of Devon, Alberta in Parkland County.[1]

History[edit]

The garden was created in 1959 and established on donated land.[2]

The garden was originally designated the "Botanic Garden and Field Laboratory" of the department of botany at the U of A. In the 1970s, after the garden was severely damaged by floods, a donation from the Devonian Foundation, along with funds raised by the Friends of the Garden, helped to repair the damages, create a system of canals and ponds, construct a headquarters building, and purchase more land. In recognition of the donation, the name was changed to the Devonian Botanic Garden.

The Friends of the Devonian Botanic Garden was founded in 1971 as a fundraising group to support the aims and objectives of the garden.

In conjunction with an enhanced MOU signed between the Aga Khan University and the University of Alberta in 2009, the University of Alberta requested His Highness the Aga Khan to develop an islamic garden within the grounds. Planning the garden took nearly a decade and construction lasted 18 months. It was designed by the architectural firm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. The garden is open to the public as of July 2018.[3][4]

Throughout the 2018 season, gardeners will complete the planting of over 25,000 new perennials, trees, shrubs, and wetland plants, and add finishing touches on landscaping. In 2019, once new plantings have had a chance to become established, a public grand opening celebration event will be announced. The total cost of the Aga Khan Garden is $25 million. The garden is tagged as the "most northerly Islamic garden in the world".[citation needed]

The botanical facility was renamed as the University of Alberta Botanic Garden in 2017.[5][6] In September 2017, it invested $4.9 million to renovate its front entrance and parking lot.[7][8]

Description[edit]

A lamp and forest path in the Japanese garden

The gardens extend over 30 hectares (80 acres) of 12,000-year-old sand dune shoreline of pre-glacial Lake Edmonton, and include an additional 65 hA (160 acres) of natural areas.

It is linked to the North Saskatchewan River via the Parkland County trail and will soon be linked to a 74 km Edmonton Capital Region river valley recreation trail system.

Highlights of the garden include the Kurimoto Japanese Garden; a Tropical Showhouse with exotic butterflies; Temperate and Arid Showhouses; extensive alpine, herb, rose, peony, lilac, lily, and primula collections; Native Peoples Garden; trial beds, and much more. The Garden is open to visitors from May through Thanksgiving (Oct. 8), and year-round for adult and children's education programming.

It contains a diverse variety of plants, with emphasis on cold-hardy plants that can survive the harsh extremes of a Zone 3 climate.

As a unit of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, the garden is also a site for research, including plant conservation and diversity. A fully digitized herbarium contains a large collection of bryophyte specimens that is used for research and teaching, as well as horticultural plants grown at the garden.

Every June, the Edmonton Opera company plays music in the park for one day during an event dubbed Opera al Fresco.[9]

Awards[edit]

  • Alberta Emerald Award for its outdoor environmental education programs, attended by more than 17,000 children per year.[citation needed]
  • 2014: Top Botanic Garden in Canada by the Canadian Garden Tourism Council.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ University of Alberta Botanic Garden: Location, retrieved 24 July 2015
  2. ^ Moira MacDonald (6 June 2018). "University botanical gardens and arboreta are more than just pretty places". Universityaffairs.ca. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Landscape architects journey far in designing Aga Khan Garden". the.ismaili. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  4. ^ Caley Ramsay (27 June 2018). "Aga Khan Garden set to open southwest of Edmonton". globalnews.ca. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Botanic garden in Devon renamed University of Alberta Botanic Garden". Edmontonjournal.com. 7 March 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  6. ^ Alex Boates (9 March 2017). "New name announced for botanic gardens". Devondispatch.ca. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  7. ^ Juris Graney (29 September 2017). "University of Alberta Botanic Garden parking lot part of $4.9-million makeover". Edmontonjournal.com. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  8. ^ Juris Graney (7 April 2017). "Aga Khan drops $25 million gift on University of Alberta Botanic Garden". Edmontonjournal.com. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  9. ^ Kyle Muzyka (12 June 2015). "Opera al Fresco in its sixth year at Devonian". Sprucegroveexeaminer.com. Retrieved 14 June 2018.

External links[edit]