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The Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs, Calgary, Alberta is indeed a ‘hidden gem’ – a one-of-a kind very unique garden!

It is open to the public year round from dawn to dusk and is situated within a Birthplace Forest covering several acres of land. Within this area there are over eighteen individual gardens each displaying unique features and all identified with a hand-painted garden sign. These garden areas are all accessible by connecting walking paths of mulch leading throughout the entire area. Along these pathways leading to the various gardens are beautiful flowering shrubs, fruit trees and also a large variety of other featured shrubs and trees.

Main Garden Areas

Oval Garden, Sunflower Garden, Border Garden, Half Moon Garden, Wall Garden, Swan Garden, Eagle Garden, Owl Garden, Lo H20, Alpine Crevice and Native Plant Gardens, Old Post Garden, Shade Garden, Peony Garden, Heart Garden and Prairie Rose Celebration Garden.

Featured Specialty Gardens and Areas

Shakespeare and Herb Garden, Crevice Rock and Alpine Garden, the Labyrinth, Rose Bowl, Fruit Grove Garden and the Oak Grove Picnic area.

This garden project began over ten years ago now and is designed, developed, maintained and managed entirely by a volunteer group. As a not-for-profit Charitable Society, the Gardens have been developed from the onset with the continued support from the City of Calgary Parks Department and the Silver Springs Community Association. It is through donations from individuals, corporations, and provincial grants that it continues to thrive and has become a focal point of our Community and indeed within the City of Calgary and beyond.

Walking Tour brochures and donation boxes are conveniently located at both the Labyrinth and the Shakespeare Garden areas.

Mission

To create a welcoming park and beautiful gardens that are open for all to enjoy and learn through:

Emphasis on species that will succeed - Local, variety and specialized gardens
Creating and inspiring a natural learning environment; sharing what we know
Supporting activities that support the vision
Inclusiveness – Accessibility for all ages and disabilities
Engagement, partnerships and volunteerism
Stewardship

Vision

A destination park and botanical gardens featuring plants that grow in Calgary's unique climate.​
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Garden LowH20

Low H2O Garden 2019


Flowers

Since the Gardens and BirthPlace Forest areas are located in a City of Calgary park, they are open to the general public just like all other city parks. There is no admission fee but we do appreciate your support through donations and letters of appreciation. We do not take bookings for special events. If you would like to make a booking, you can do so through the City Parks Department.

Archives

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History

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.

Wall Blue Flowers

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.

Core Garden
BirthPlace

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.

Volunteers

Several short years ago, if you walked down the areas where the current Botanical Gardens are now flourishing, you could not help but see that for the most part, there was nothing but stretches of grassland overrun with weeds, rocks, dandelions and dirt. Not the greatest environment for flower gardens.

Volunteers hard at work

Well they are, thanks to the tireless efforts of a core group of 30 volunteers who spend three mornings a week from May to October doing what needs to be done to keep the gardens healthy and beautiful. Some exceptionally dedicated volunteers work far more than three mornings a week.

Ladies in the garden

Volunteers are always needed and welcome - and you do not have to have a green thumb or special skills. All that is required is the willingness to be part of a project dedicated to making our world a little greener and more beautiful.

facts

Last year, 62 people contributed $15,420 to help us maintain and develop the Gardens and the BP Forest trails.
The total distance from the Half Moon Garden to the south end of the Forest is 1.4 km.
Total area of the Gardens and the Birthplace Forest Park is 20 acres or 871 200 square feet. Total area of cultivated gardens is 39,735 square feet.
At the north end, by the Half Moon Garden, the elevation is 3,811 feet or a difference of 117 feet.
Ever wonder what happens to all the plant materials such as weeds, pruned plants and bushes, and autumn leaves?
We use it to produce 2.5 tons of compost which is eventually spread on the various beds to keep them healthy and fertile. Five tons of compost (donated by Bluegrass Nurseries) are also spread on the beds.
Over 200 truck loads of mulch have been used on the trails since the Gardens project first started. We now spread about 10 truckloads (20 000 pounds) a year to maintain the many trails.
Calgary is unique in that it has the only Shakespeare Garden in Western Canada. To complete the new pathway, 4023 bricks were used.
Since 2007, between 30 and 40 volunteers have put in approximately 30 000 hours developing and maintaining the various areas! Last year, 33 people put in close to 6000 hours to maintain and develop the Gardens and forest areas.
Over the past 3 years, approximately 12,000 doggie bags have been donated by a local S.S. resident. They are available at the south forest entrance close. A sincere thank you to all who use the bags and pick up after their dogs.
Did you know that we have the largest outdoor Labyrinth not only in Calgary but in all of Canada! One of the most spectacular sights in the Gardens and BirthPlace Forest area is the Labyrinth in spring when the wild thyme is in bloom. This is something you do not want to miss. To establish the wild thyme in the Labyrinth, 700 plugs were planted. To complete the Labyrinth, volunteers laid 8000 donated bricks and another 1000 that were purchased.
The oldest person to ever visit the Gardens is 103 year old Hugh from from the Garrison Green Lodge for Seniors. Hugh was accompanied by his 101 year old wife Kay.

Resources

Plant Sources

Organizations

Education

Local Gardens

Gardens of the world

FAQs

How do I book an event, like a wedding, in the gardens ?
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Since the Gardens and BirthPlace Forest areas are located in a City of Calgary park, they are open to the general public for informal use, just like all other city parks. We do not take bookings for special events or exclusive use. If you would like to make a booking, you can do so through the City Parks Department.
How do I get to your gardens / where do I park ?
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Information about garden access is located here:
What are your hours of operation ?
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We are a public park within Calgary and are open 24/7. Volunteers are normally around during the day throughout the week, but we do not have a set schedule.
How can I become a volunteer ?
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To become a volunteer you can contact us at info@bgss.ca or via Contact Us page located on the top main menu.
How can I donate ?
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Donations can be made in person, by mail, or online via PayPal. This information is all available on the Donations page. All donations will be given a charitable tax receipt. Interested in in long term support or non-monetary donations ? You can visit the Sponsorship page.
Q & A
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For all information on plants in the garden you will soon be able to see everything in the Garden Directory page of the website.

Directions

Click on the map popup to obtain directions

Transit Access

Public Transit:
From Crowfoot LRT station: Bus 120
From Dalhousie LRT station: Bus 120 or Bus 134

Bus 120
- (North end of park) Get off on Silver Springs DR NW @ Silver Springs CR NW
- (South end of park) Get off on Silver Springs DR NW @ Silver Brook DR NW

Bus 134
- Get off on Silver Ridge DR NW @ Silver Springs BV NW

Contact Us

Please fill out the form to:

Make comments about the Gardens
Ask questions
Volunteer
Offer suggestions

Friends of the Gardens

Partners, Sponsors and Donors

The Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs are grateful to our many "Friends of the Gardens" for their generous sponsorship and support.

The ongoing generosity and kindness of our many individual donors and sponsors have enabled us to make the gardens blossom and grow.

Sponsorship program: 💁

Choose a sponsorship program type you would like to participate in. (1)
Review program information and contact our sponsors. They will talk to you about your expectations, timeline and payment options. (2)
Once all information is gathered and payments received, we will honour your sponsorship application and fillfill our commitment.
Please make a selection ;)
Bench Sponsorship
Brick Sponsorship
Picnic Table Sponsorship
Garden Sponsorship
Tree Sponsorship

We would like to especially recognize the following Sponsors for their support.

We encourage fans of and visitors to the Gardens to show their gratitude to these sponsors by letting them know that their contributions are appreciated.


Thank you to the following for their substantial contributions of donations, materials and services:


Become a Corporate Sponsor

Recognition includes listing in the Silver Springs Community Association newsletter and on-site posting on sponsor board.

For more information, contact us at: info@bgss.ca

Donations

The Gardens appreciate any and all donations given.

Our continued success is due to the generosity of the community, corporations and individuals.


Everyone is encouraged to donate whatever they can.

Charitable tax donation receipts are issued by the Silver Springs Botanical Gardens Society.

Paper Donations

Please email donors@bgss.ca with an indication of your donation. This helps us to ensure that we collect your kind donation in a timely manner.

Cheques should be made payable to:

Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs Society.

Completed printable forms with the cheques or cash should be dropped off at:

The Silver Springs Community Association clearly marked for the Botanical Gardens. The address is 5720 Silver Ridge Drive NW, Calgary, T3B 5E5

Electronic Donations

Donate via PayPal
Online Giving via Interac e-Transfer

Interac e-Transfer is a secure way to donate directly from your bank account to BGSS. You can use your bank's E-Transfer function to donate which is a great alternative to cheques and cash.

If you wish to donate via Interac e-Transfer, please do the following:

* Go to your online banking site and click on the link for sending an Interac e-Transfer. Add “BGSS” as a new recipient. E-Transfer your donations to donors@bgss.ca.

To get a donation receipt, please submit your request by emailing: donors@bgss.ca. Please submit your full name, address, phone number and indicate a date and the amount of your donation.

Tax receipts will be issued for any donations of $25 or more.
Charitable organization: #821268372RR0001.

Please email us to obtain your tax receipt at:

donors@bgss.ca