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Habitat Garden in St. Albert Botanic Park

Originally published in the June 2021 issue of the Wildflower News

The St. Albert Botanic Park is a city park dedicated to many varieties of botanical plants in themed garden beds such as the Dahlia beds, the Asiatic Lilly beds, the Day Lilly beds, Iris lily beds and many others. Also featured in the park are the Rose garden and the Cottage garden which is very popular with wedding parties. The park also features a pondless water fall with various shrubs and plants and a Heritage garden dedicated to plants that early settlers to Alberta would have cultivated around their homesteads.

A relatively new addition to the park and an ongoing work in progress that was begun in 2019 is the Habitat Garden, a garden dedicated to local native plants that support plant pollinators which have struggled so badly with the advent of urban sprawl and dramatic global climate change.

The initial approach to developing the garden has been to have three raised beds centered by a pergola, one raised bed for plants to attract birds, one to attract bees and the other for plants that would attract butterflies. This habitat themed garden, albeit still under development, has certainly inspired many visitors to inquire about the availability of native plants so they can create such gardens in their own yards.

Having the native plants in raised beds gives the opportunity for children and adults alike to engage and enjoy the pollinators much more closely than in a regular garden bed.

Close to the Bee Bed we have a bee hotel; this allows us to help bees that are in decline due to increased pesticide use and the decrease of natural habitat. Having this Bee hotel is one way to help the many species of the solitary bees that are in decline.

We have essentially only had one full year with the native plants in the raised beds. The survival rate for these plants was extremely high and we look forward to the same success throughout this coming season. A good time to be at the park is of course in July.

Gaillardia, meadow blazingstar, and giant hyssop in background

Heart-leaved alexanders and fleabane.

Two solitary bees on a wild white, or Richardson’s, geranium.


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