We’ve barely emerged from a very deep freeze here in Calgary, and the sharp wind that ushered in our Chinook barely feels like an improvement. It’s + 2 C outside, but feels much colder, and frankly I’d take -20 with no wind any day. It’s a cold cold wind.
Matters appear to be equally wintery in other parts of the world, and our US neighbors are also not spared their winterland adventures, while Australia battles a huge hurricane. Like my co-worker poetically phrased it: ‘everyone’s getting bent over this year’. Crude but right.
So if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take a moment and escape. I’d escape to the tropics, but even CUBA plunged down to a memorable +1.6 a few weeks ago, and people, their homes have no heaters. Imagine an unheated concrete box and how much that would suck. So in order to properly escape, I’m going back in time, to the height of summer and a lovely garden stroll in a very unique inner-city garden of Calgary.
It’s unique because of it’s odd location, it’s sandwiched between the chaos of the Stampede grounds and the quiet of a large old cemetary. The garden literally flows down the hill in meandering pathways and is a tiny hidden oasis in the bustle of city traffic.
It never used to be there, I’ve spent some time walking around that cemetary and where the garden is flourishing now used to be a messy tangle of vegetation and not much else. It was restored to former glory quite recently and my brother and I took some time to explore it.
The topography of the park is rather crazy – neat wooded paths lead to steep hills and cliffs and quite a bit of terrain is covered in such a small area.
There is a little wooden bridge:
A lovely pond (with some empty beer bottles), c’mon people!
And a ton of native vegetation, all of which I know not the names of, but thanks to reading garden blogs, I did identify all some of the hostas! Aren’t you proud of me? The flowers range from modest prairie flowers like these:
To some pretty exotic specimens, that likely didn’t see too much life on the prairie: (Unless they did of course, my knowledge of botany ends with color.)
I don’t know what he was, but he was gorgeous, and HUGE!
And I sincerely hope that’s a peony:
And did I mention I got the hostas number? I betcha no one else was as excited by hostas as I was. Familiarity breeds love you know.
As well as some of the largest leaves of… something known to man. Seriously, I could make a bed of one of those.
Of course there were some hilly sections where you got to climb. All those stones criss-crossing the hill are actual narrow paths. You can play mountain goat:
And they’re steeper than they look, at least 30 degrees I’d say.
But very pretty:
And once you’re at the top, you can have a lovely rest in a shaded oasis:
Then you meander some more, a bit lost really, which is hard to do since you’re in a pretty small space, but the layout FEELS like it.
Well hello there – who’s pretty in pink?
And how exotic is this?
And find some oddly tucked away chairs to ponder life in:
Until eventually, you find a glimpse of the rebuilt house of the guy who started the garden – waaay back when.
The house is now a cafe, and I’m sure it’s a great spot for a drink, although we weren’t in the mood.
Overall I loved this garden more so than many others, and the crazy meandering layout is largely why. I hardly ever get the opportunity to get lost in the city, to follow an unexplored path, or to find something hidden from sight. Most parks are lovely spaces, but much more open and with way less flowers of course. Many gardens are more formally laid out with straighter lines and stricter paths. It’s very neat to find yourself a bit disoriented, it’s like a small adventure with plenty to see on the way, and a drink at the end. Sure beats winter.