On Thursday, April 21, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the future site of the Heritage Garden in downtown Drumheller.
They have secured a government grant and have been working on site plans with students from Olds College.
The primary goal is to beautify the space and make it usable for residents and visitors. Currently the park is simply a patch of grass with a flower bed and “Munchie” the topiary dinosaur. The space is too small for field games, and there is no shade to utilize the park for casual enjoyment.
The new plan calls for raised garden beds, accessible walking paths, seating and picnic areas, shaded areas and shelter from the noise and views of the highway running through town.
Chris Marion, coordinator for the Badlands Community Garden Association, explains there is also a great educational component to the garden.
The plans are to use native plant species that are able to survive in the Drumheller valley growing environment.
“It is to teach about landscaping and here is a way of using native species without making it look like a weedy lot,” said Marion.
The site will be interpretive, with signage explaining the different species. They are looking at incorporating QR technology to make it an online interactive experience. By scanning one of the placards with a smart phone, it can launch you into a broader description of the plants, or even where to source them.
Another educational component is the garden will be a demonstration of xeriscaping practices. Xeriscaping is the gardening practice where water conservation is paramount. The planting and landscaping is done in such a way as to limit or even eliminate supplemental irrigation. The garden will demonstrate these techniques, and prove that the techniques are viable.
Councillor Jay Garbutt was on hand for the ground breaking.
“As a community we are very fortunate to have the people with the skill and passion to make this happen,” he said.
Marion said the push to start the groundwork will start when the ground fully thaws. The community will see a great transformation of the site throughout the summer, including planting in late August.
For more information go to www.badlandsgardens.ca.