A dog runs past me as I tour the newest Botanical Garden in Alberta and I am a bit confused. Off-leash dogs are welcome here?

Yes. The City of Calgary Parks local open space plan for Silver Springs permits dogs in the area now developed as the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs BGSS). Tucked between a back alley and busy road, this beautiful garden is full of surprises. It’s my first visit in a decade and my first encounter with an off-leash area meshed with an ornamental garden.

I speak with Duncan Badger, financial adviser by profession, garden trailblazer by passion. Badger, president of the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs Society, remembers the early days in the garden when one of the guys, Bill Morf, started planting perennials along the noise barrier between his back alley and Crowchild Trail. And how city workers came along with their weedeaters and accidentally snipped off Morf’s new plants.

BP Birthplace Forest was launched on the site in 2002 and things really changed. “I was planting trees on that same piece of land but when to put in there wasn’t really room for more trees.”

The Silver Springs Community Association created a task force to explore how they could use the empty land beside the forest: “[At the time] we asked e could we do with this piece of land? We wanted to make it nicer for everybody and one of the primary things we came up with was gardens.

We gave the city a 10-year plan (for BGSS) showing we’d be planting these gardens and we got an Optional Amenities Lease from the city to proceed. This means we get to use the land but we have restricted rights to it. It means there are other users, too. We can’t just put gardens anywhere because then …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald


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