Aug 252019
 
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University of Alberta Botanic Garden
An award-winning visitor attraction, the U of A Botanic Garden outside Edmonton contains a wide diversity of plants, specialized gardens, and indoor showhouses

A sign at the entrance to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden welcomes you to their “garden in a forest.” The Garden is located on a 240-acre property 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. It contains 80 acres of cultivated gardens, indoor showhouses, and natural areas including wetlands, fens, woods, and meadows.

The garden was created in 1959 when Colonel H.A. (Sandy) Doyle donated land to the university for the purpose of creating a botanical garden. The garden has grown and evolved since then. It became known as the Devonian Botanical Garden in 1975 after a grant from the Devonian Foundation. The name was changed to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden in 2017.

I was impressed with the size and diversity of the garden. Its setting, surrounded by natural meadow areas and trees away from city bustle, creates a peaceful, unhurried vibe.

The Aga Khan Garden

The Aga Khan Garden at U of A Botanical Garden: Geometric shaped grassy and flowered areas with crisscrossing pathways with the raised upper terrace in the background

The Aga Khan Garden is the newest addition to the Botanical Garden. Opening to the public in 2018, it was made possible by a gift from His Highness Aga Khan, a spiritual leader in the world’s Ismali Muslim community. It is the northernmost Islamic-inspired garden in the world, and one of only two in North America.

Geometric garden design of the Aga Khan Garden

The Aga Khan Garden contains modern architectural elements inspired by Mughal traditions and uses geometric patterns in its design.

Metal fencing panels and steps leading into the Aga Khan Garden at the Jilau Khana threshold
Jilau Khana threshold – fencing metal panels incorporate contemporary and tradition patterns
Fish statues inside a water feature at the Aga Khan Garden at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Water features contain animal sculptures. The movement of the water over these fish made it seem as if they were alive and swimming.
Pond, natural green space and trees at the Aga Khan Garden at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
The orderly design of the central courtyard gives way to a more natural space surrounding Calla Pond
Walkway through Alberta trees to Aga Khan Garden
Entrance to Aga Khan Garden

Kurimoto Japanese Garden

Japanese garden at University of Alberta Botanic Garden

The 5-acre Kurimoto Japanese garden was created in the kaiyou (strolling garden) style. The design is Japanese but plants are species hardy to the northern climate. The garden, which opened in 1990, is named after Dr. Yuichi Kurimoto, the first Japanese national to graduate from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts in 1930.

Japanese lantern at the edge of a pond in the Kurimoto Japanese Garden at U of A Botanic Garden

Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden

Bed of purple,green, and reddish alpine plants against a backdrop of prairie trees at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden

The Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden, one of the largest alpine gardens in North America, contains many plants adapted to grow above the treeline of mountains. The garden  is named after Patrick Seymour who was Director of the Botanical Garden from 1971 to 1996.

White flowers blooming in the meadow at the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden
Waterfall in the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden at U of A Botanic Garden

Indigenous Garden

A collection of plants in the University of Alberta Botanic Garden Indigenous Garden

The Indigenous garden was created in 1980 and contains plants traditionally used by indigenous peoples for food, medicine, and ornamentation.

Indoor Showhouses

Indoor showhouses include a Tropical Plant and Butterfly Showhouse, an Arid Showhouse, and a Temperate Showhouse.

Lush green plants and a brick walkway insided the Tropical Plant and Butterfly Showhouse at U of A Botanical Garden
Tropical Plant and Butterfly Showhouse
Samples of flowers (pink, orange, red, white) inside the U of A Botanic Garden Tropical Plant and Butterfly Showhouse
Sampling of plants inside the Tropical Plant and Butterfly Showhouse
Pink blooming shrubs and green and red foliage inside the Temperate House at the University of Albert Botanic Garden
Temperate Showhouse
Succulent plant growing along a grey stone wall inside the Arid Showhouse at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Arid Showhouse

Garden Collections

The rest of the Garden contains a diverse collection of plants including ornamental plants, fruits, vegetables, trees, and shrubs. Collections are organized to display and interpret ecosystems and the relationships between people and plants. The following photos from my visit highlight just some of what can found there.

Ferns in foreground with trees in background at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Shady area
Peonies at University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Peonies
Beds of roses with pergola seating areas at back of garden in the Rose Garden at University of Alberta Rose Garden
Rose Garden
Folly tower of Manitoba Tyndall stone behind the Rose Garden at University of Alberta Botanic Garden
John’s Folly, made of Manitoba Tyndall stone and built in 2009, overlooks the Rose Garden
Manitoba Tyndall stone tower, John's Folly, amid trees at University of Alberta Botanic Garden
View of John’s Folly from another spot in the garden
Cactus blooming pink flowers at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Cactus in the Desert Garden
A wildish looking field of herbs at University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Herb Garden
Marshy pond amid bush at University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Grebe Pond
Collection of human-like statues tucked under trees at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Statues were tucked under trees in several places

Visiting the University Of Alberta Botanic Garden

The University of Alberta Botanic Garden is open to the public from May to September. Check the website for exact times and admission fees. The garden is located 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, 5 kilometres north of Devon on Highway 60.

Benches under trees at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Shaded spots to sit can be found at several spots in the garden

You can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to all day exploring the garden. Wear comfortable shoes. The outdoor licensed café sells light lunches, snacks, and ice cream. You can also bring your own picnic lunch. We walked through the garden on our own using the Visitor’s Map as a guide, but drop-in guided walking and guided tram tours are available.

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University of Alberta Botanic Garden just outside Edmonton, Alberta is an award-winning visitor attraction containing a wide diversity of plants, specialized gardens, and indoor showhouses #Alberta #Edmonton #garden #Canada
University of Alberta Botanic Garden just outside Edmonton, Alberta is an award-winning visitor attraction containing a wide diversity of plants, specialized gardens, and indoor showhouses #Alberta #Edmonton #garden #Canada


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  4 Responses to “University of Alberta Botanic Garden: Garden In A Forest”

  1. Looks like a world’s fair of gardening. What they all look to have in common is an aura of calm and peacefulness.

  2. Looks like a lovely place with great variety. Reading your post has me looking forward to Winnipeg’s Diversity Gardens under construction at Assiniboine Park. The world needs more gardens!

    • Deb, I too am looking forward to Winnipeg’s Diversity Gardens. Gardens generally take some years to mature. It will be interesting to see how the Diversity Gardens look when they first open.

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