A couple of weekends ago, my hubby and I took a stroll through the Senator Patrick Burns Memorial Rock Gardens in Riley Park, in Calgary’s northwest. The history of the gardens’ namesake is very interesting: Senator Patrick Burns (1856-1937) was a hugely successful businessman, rancher, politician and philanthropist. He was one of the so-called “Big Four” founding members and financiers of the world-famous Calgary Stampede – without him, the “greatest outdoor show on earth” wouldn’t be what it is today. Responsible for building a meat-packing empire (Burns Foods), Patrick Burns was at heart a rancher, and at the height of his success, he owned 2,800 square kilometres (700,000 acres) of land in southern Alberta, extending all the way to the Montana border. The gardens in Riley Park were designed and built in the 1950’s to honour Burns’ contributions to the city of Calgary and the province of Alberta. They contain 20,000 pieces of flagstone salvaged from the senator’s 18-room Calgary mansion, which was built between 1901-03.
We hadn’t wandered through the gardens in quite a few years, and it was a special treat this go-around because most of the flowering plants were at their peak (we toured late in the season last time). What caught my eye most, however, was the use of drift plantings alongside the stone walkways. It’s a design tool used to draw the eye (and the body) upward and onward through the landscape, and it is used with great success here.
Do you use drift planting in your garden?
- Garden tour: Dorothy Harvie Gardens, Calgary. (myfloweryprose.wordpress.com)
- The calm. (myfloweryprose.wordpress.com)