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Dalhousie AC launches its Bicentennial Botanical Garden

Horticultural technician Laura Lowe is most at home among the 3,000 species of plants and trees that serve as a living lab for students at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill. A graduate of Dal AC, she now works on its grounds and was seen here on Aug. 25 as the Bicentennial Botanical Garden was officially launched.
Horticultural technician Laura Lowe is most at home among the 3,000 species of plants and trees that serve as a living lab for students at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill. A graduate of Dal AC, she now works on its grounds and was seen here on Aug. 25 as the Bicentennial Botanical Garden was officially launched. - Fram Dinshaw

Students, alumni and guests from as far away as China to celebrate Dalhousie’s 200th birthday on Aug. 25.

Dalhousie Agricultural Campus officially launched its Bicentennial Botanical Garden on Aug. 25 at its Bible Hill campus.

The garden was officially launched inside the existing Alumni Gardens, which was developed by Dal AC in the 1970s and has now been handed over to the campus.

Dal AC grad Laura Lowe said the gardens are home to a range of flora including Scots Pine, chestnut trees and flowering plants such as rhododendrons, hibiscus and dahlias, just a few of the 3,000 types on display. Her job as a horticulture technician is to maintain the garden in her alma mater as a living lab for current students learning about botany.

“I want to further my career working here and running the gardens and taking over my boss’s job, maybe. This is a great place to work, this is a great place to come and visit, it is beautiful,” said Lowe. “We maintain it, everybody who works here loves it. It’s a great environment.”

Three people enjoying the tranquil environment were Zeng Huaping, Liu Min and Zhuang Peifen from the southern Chinese city of Fuzhou, who attended the launch as guests of Dal AC.

Totalling 26 acres of extensive plant collections, the Dal AC grounds are also home to rock, shade and herb gardens, a butterfly meadow, an apple orchard and other plant collections and tranquil havens that offer students a break from an often-hectic university life.

One sapling on display is a Wisqoq or Black Ash, which is used by Nova Scotia’s original Mi’kmaw First Nation inhabitants for making baskets and other household items. It was planted on Aug. 25 to coincide with the Bicentennial Botanical  Garden launch.

“We’ve been slowly developing some of the areas to keep up with public use and student demand as far as lab activities [are concerned],” said garden manager Darwin Carr.

The Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture is also an institutional member of the American Public Gardens Association and follows best practices in the management of its botanical garden.

The Bicentennial Botanical Garden is open to the public and is staffed and maintained by professionals trained in their given areas of expertise while managing active plant records systems. The garden reaches its peak throughout spring and summer and into the fall and garden visitors can identify plants through labels, guide maps and other interpretive materials.

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