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 are renowned for their 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 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 milks) available for purchase in The 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.
Critters in the Gardens
In spring and early summer watch for the nesting magpies and their fledglings, as well as songs birds and the occasional visits of mallard ducks and Canada geese. White-tailed jackrabbits, as well as cottontail and snowshoe hares may also visit. And, of course, we welcome the various pets who come to exercise with their "fur parents" in this on-leash park.
#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.
Reminders to all visitors in the gardens:
- If you are feeling unwell, please stay home and contact medical professionals.
- Practice social/physical distancing of a minimum of 2 metres (six feet).
- Exercise respiratory etiquette (e.g. coughing or sneezing into a tissue or bent elbow, not your hand, and promptly disposing of used tissues in the trash and wash your hands afterwards
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid shaking hands or any other physical contact
- Wash hands frequently and use proper hand hygiene.
- This means washing your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of greater than 60%.
- 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 leash. Also, please clean-up after your pet.
- Everyone is to use receptacles for all garbage, recycling, compost so the park space is clean and safe for all!