Alberta Snapshot: Nature Preserve at Carseland.

October 2015 141RFP

This absolutely incredible view is from the top of the Bow River escarpment at the Agrium Nodwell Nature Preserve near Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park in southern Alberta (photo taken in late September).  The Preserve was created in 2008 and is comprised of 59 acres of prairie grassland and riparian areas.  Best of all, it is fully accessible to the public – foot traffic only, of course!

The Preserve is home to 300 different species of native plants.  I’m eager to do some more exploring when the wildflowers are in bloom. An amazing place!

If autumn is in full swing where you are, where do you like to go to take in the spectacular colours?  If it’s spring where you live, what favourite flowers are blooming right now?

Winter interest.

There’s not much winter interest going on in my flowerbeds right now…there’s a nice homogenous blanket of snow, though! Ah, when will spring ever arrive? 🙂

A few days before we received another massive dump of the white stuff, my hubby and I managed to get out for a hike at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area, located southwest of the Calgary city limits. Donated by Sandy Cross (son of A.E. Cross, one of the founding members of the world-famous Calgary Stampede) and his wife Ann to the Province of Alberta in 1987 and 1996, this wildlife preserve consists of 4,800 acres of prairie land in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

SONY DSC

View from one of the outlooks at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area. (Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

The Area is carefully managed to minimize the impact of its users on the land and on the animals that inhabit it – it is necessary to prebook hikes online in advance and pay a small day use fee upon arrival.  You cannot cross-country ski and no dogs are allowed on the property.  (You also have to park your vehicle in a separate lot and walk in).

As always, what strikes me about hiking in the winter is the way everything stands out against the snow. Animal tracks and leavings, moss and lichens, the stubble of fescue, tufts of hair caught on a barbed wire fence…these are all things you might miss in the green riot of spring and summer.

CCFP6

SONY DSC

(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

CCFP8

CCFP7

SONY DSC

We believe this patch of hair belongs to one of the many head of cattle that are currently winter grazing on the property.  (Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

SONY DSC

(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

Do you like the term “winter interest” (with or without snow) in regards to landscape design? Is it something you consider in your own garden?