The Story of Silver Springs Botanical Gardens

It has one of the most impressive permanent outdoor labyrinths in Canada and the only Shakespeare garden west of Ontario.



The Labyrinth Garden thyme in full bloom.

Photo by Brenda Forsey

After the BP Birthplace Forest program began planting 7,000 trees in the community of Silver Springs in 2002, a small group of volunteers saw the remaining grassy field surrounding the forest was left bare and decided to beautify their backyard, so to speak.

Soon after the BP Forest was completed in 2007, a perennial garden roughly 12 by 27 metres was planted. This garden, dubbed the Oval Garden due to its shape, was planted south of the Birthplace Forest with the help of the City of Calgary Parks Department and the Silver Springs Community Association. From this one space, the botanical gardens have since grown to encompass 12 distinct areas across its 14,500 square feet (1,347 metres) of cultivated garden space, with names like the Shade Garden, Eagle Garden and Old Post Garden, so named for the single, old post in its soil, a remnant of a ranch that used to stand there.

Image courtesy of the Silver Springs Botanical Gardens

A map of the more than 1.4 kilometres that encompass the gardens.

Chronologically, the next development after the Oval Garden was the most expansive, taking over a 1,300-metre strip of land along the concrete sound barrier wall that separates sections of Crowchild and Sarcee Trails from the neighbouring community. This section, called the Wall Garden, benefits from a southwest facing exposure, as well as wind protection and residual heat from the concrete wall which allows for hundreds of perennials to flourish there every year.

One highlights of the botanical gardens is its labyrinth, which opened in 2013 and is one of the most impressive  permanent outdoor labyrinths in the country. Built using nine thousand bricks, it takes around 20 minutes to properly pace the 1,270 feet the labyrinth spans.

Another highlight is its Shakespeare garden, the only one of its kind west of Ontario. For those not in the know, a Shakespeare garden features plants and greenery mentioned in the works of The Bard and often feature relevant quotes from his works as well as photos of the man himself.

It takes 35 dedicated volunteers around 6,000 hours every year to maintain this beautiful space, and they’re always in need of more helping hands. If you’re interested in volunteering, or want to learn more, visit botanicalgardensofsilversprings.ca.

Photo by Brenda Forsey

The Oval Garden in full bloom.

Photo by andrew Guilbert

The Shakespeare Garden is filled with vegetation mentioned by The Bard in his work, as well as references like this quote from Hamlet.

Photo by andrew Guilbert

The entrance to the Labyrinth Garden.

Photo by andrew Guilbert

Each of the individual gardens features handpainted sings made by a volunteer.

Photo by Brenda Forsey

The view of the city from the atop the Wall Garden's incline.

Photo by Brenda Forsey

The Wall Garden stretches along more than 1,300 metres.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Property of the Week: $2.7 Million French Country-Style Home

It has a Forno pizza oven and a home theatre.

Manning the S.S. Moyie

How the little boy from southwest London ended up captain of the Heritage Park paddlewheeler

20 Best Places For a Picnic or Barbecue in Calgary and the Mountains

Pack a lunch, bring the bug spray and enjoy dining alfresco while it’s nice outside.