Garden Features for 2022
This year our annual display showcases two colour schemes – soft and romantic (pinks, whites, silver) and strong and vibrant (red, purple, orange). See if you can spot them in our flower beds and planters.
Our gardens also feature many varieties of shrubs perennial that are well-suited to Calgary gardens, many of which would have been grown in Calgary during the Victorian era. Seasonally you can see iris, roses, peonies, delphiniums and hollyhocks.
Our Cutting Garden looks good at any time of the summer, and our veggie garden this year illustrates different planting strategies – Square Foot, Traditional, and a Three Sisters combination of corn, beans and squash. We also continue to add to our collection of native plants, and plants with connections to the Metis culture.
To learn more about this rich history and about all the other unique plants featured this summer, click here to access our Garden Walking Tour and brochure.
Welcome – "Beautiful Place" in French
Our 2.8 acres is known as Beaulieu Gardens (“Beaulieu” is French for “beautiful place”).
Built by Sir James and Lady Isabella Lougheed, the Gardens were created in the late Victorian era when new plants were being discovered, imported, and hybridized at an incredible rate. The style of the Gardens reflects the desire at that time to highlight the skill of the gardener by making the designs highly ornamental. To achieve these ornamental patterns, gardeners used a technique called ‘carpet bedding’ which relied on low-lying, colourful, flowering varieties to create elaborate patterns in the beds.
In Victorian times, garden parties were extremely popular, especially amongst the social elites. The Lougheeds entertained many local and visiting dignitaries, including the Prince of Wales in 1919 when he was in Calgary on an official royal visit. We believe the biggest event ever held in our Gardens was a private outdoor dinner party in 2018 at which 1200 people dined al fresco.
Today the Gardens include both “heritage gardens” (gardens that honour and reference the past) and modern public green spaces that combine to make this a 2.8-acre refuge and destination for many urban residents and tourists. The Gardens, maintained by our team of devoted Garden Volunteers and our Head Gardener, welcome approximately 80,000 visitors each year. The Gardens are free to all, from dawn to dusk.
Beaulieu Gardens is renowned for its varieties of roses found on the west side of the House in the Memorial Garden and the perimeter of the western gardens. There is also a heritage prairie rose in its original location just outside the garden shed near the 14th Avenue parking lot.
The red climbing rose graces the arbour entrance to the Memorial Garden, a popular destination for our local bee population and a favourite spot for wedding portraits. The yellow rose is a floribunda located at the northwest edge of the Succulent Garden (next to the underground parking garage entrance) and is an early-season bloomer. The John Davis rose is a variety from the Explorer series and can also be found in the Memorial garden. Each year we harvest and dry the petals to make the Lady Lougheed Bath line (bath salts and bath milk) available for purchase in the Gift Shop.
Our Gardens’ most common plants remain the spectacular Hollyhocks, descended from the originals planted in 1892 when the Lougheeds lived in the home. Our gardeners have been encouraging the darker coloured blooms in recent years.
#lovelougheedgardens is our campaign to raise needed funds to keep our Gardens healthy in these times of unprecedented cuts to our funding and earned revenue as a result of COVID-19. You can help by donating a recurring gift of as little as $5/month (or a one-time gift of whatever you can afford). Please click here to help.
In lieu of money, you can give us emotional support by posting a photo of your favourite garden/green space with the hashtag #lovelougheedgardens. Whether you donate or post, your name will be entered to win one of our weekly prizes.
Beaulieu Edible Garden
Our edible garden is always a popular destination. We aim to illustrate the vegetables and other edibles that can be grown in urban, inner-city gardens in Calgary. The garden includes three raised beds and a surrounding in-ground bed.
South Bed – traditional rows
- This bed is planted with rows running north and south
- Leafy crops are alternated with root crops to help maximize the space
Center Bed – square foot gardening
- Square Foot Gardening is the proven, efficient, small-space way to grow vegetables that have been used by gardeners for over 40 years. Created by Mel Bartholomew in the 1980s, he has written several books on the topic
North Bed – tomatoes
- Only determinate tomato plants are used as they take less space and do not need to be staked as much as climbing (indeterminate) plants
- This space currently has a few perennial crops – rhubarb, chives, travelling onions and mint
- In previous years we have planted corn with sunflowers and squash as well as annuals that are either edible (pansies, calendula) or will repel insects (marigolds)
- This year we will use the space to showcase a Three Sisters Garden
THREE SISTERS GARDEN
This planting scheme involves growing corn, pole beans and squash together. It is a method that has been used for hundreds of years by North American indigenous tribes such as the Iroquois and Cherokee. The tradition of calling these crops the "Three Sisters" originated with the Haudenosaunee, pronounced Ho-deh-no-shaw-nee. Also known as the Iroquois, Haudenosaunee occupy the regions around the Great Lake in the Northeastern United States and Canada.
This planting strategy ‘draws upon centuries of Native American agricultural traditions and expertise’. These crops complement each other in the garden, as well as in the kitchen (nutritionally). Corn provides the tall support for beans to climb up; beans provide nitrogen to the soil (they fix nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form usable by plant roots) and stabilize the corn, while the squash provides shade to help retain soil moisture, and by covering the soil they help to prevent weeds. Corns, beans and squash provide a complete and balanced diet. They can all also be dried and used year-round.
This is a stacked garden using three layers to fill the space. All three are warm-season crops so must be planted after the last risk of frost. Plant corn first, then when it's 2-3 inches tall plant the beans (2-3 weeks later). When beans are sending out tendrils, plant squash (1 week after they have emerged).
Reminders to all visitors to the gardens:
- Respect other people’s space in the garden including any accompanying pets.
- Pet owners, we are an on-leash park so keep your pet safe by having them under control on a leash. Also, please clean up after your pet.
- Everyone is to use receptacles for all garbage, recycling, and compost so the park space is clean and safe for all!