The beautiful Elizabeth Hall Wetlands is a great place to visit if you hail from Southern Alberta and want to see native grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees in ‘the wild’.
If you’re not from around this area, find a national park or crown land or some other natural area to visit near you. It’s fascinating to see how native plants and grasses grow and interact in their natural habitat, and those insights will definitely help you in your native wildflower garden at home.
While visiting, I spend all my time looking around at all the vegetation. It’s so fun to realize I have actually learned quite a lot about native plants since I recognize so many of them!
Scenery and paths
Our family always feels rejuvenated after spending time in nature, and the wetlands really deliver. There is a peaceful, not-too-long walk around the lake, plus endless amounts of narrow offshoot trails to explore in the area.
It’s not a strenuous hike by any means, more of a gentle nature walk. If you take some of the paths offshoot paths, you can extend the walk to be as long as you’d like 🙂
The path on the opposite side of the wetlands is farther away from the water but there are beautiful views in all directions.
The view towards the other side of the path is this:
Not too shabby! There are also paths which will take you right to the Old Man River.
Then there’s the dock! It’s now pretty much surrounded by tall reeds so you can’t actually see a whole lot once you’re on the dock.
This is the view once you’re on the dock.
The water is really murky looking with a lot of green stuff growing in it. I don’t know if the green stuff is a sign of a healthy ecosystem or not. It’s almost like fabric, when you poke at it with a stick.
Can you see the fluffy white bundle floating near the bottom of the above pic? That’s a bunch of milkweed seeds attached to their fluffy coma. (Did you know the fluff attached to milkweed seeds is called a coma? Me either. Learned that today!)
Can anyone spot the mating dragonflies (above)? Learn more about dragonflies and the importance of wetlands here.
I believe these are snowberries along the path, and the intermingled reddish colored shrubs are a wild rose of some type.
Goldenrod setting seed.
Above, the seedheads of clematis, whose vines have scrambled up and through shrubs.
It’s very late in the season now, but there are multitudes of different flowers growing in the area. This is a great place to visit if you live nearby and are looking for inspiration for your native flower garden.
There are informative signs throughout the wetlands which are very interesting to read! Mainly about interesting facts about the wildlife you may see, there is also some info on native plants in the area.
As far as wildlife viewing? It never disappoints! Swimming and fishing in the wetlands are multiple species of ducks (my daughter thinks ‘cinnamon teal’ is the funniest duck name- ‘does it eat cinnamon?!’), Canada geese, painted turtles, and spotted sandpipers. Plus, while walking the paths we spotted many dragonflies, grasshoppers, and other insects.
Somehow I forgot to take a photo today of all the turtles basking on logs. I was surprised to see them out because there was a definite chill in the air, but the sun was bright and I guess that’s what they’re after!
This blurry old photo I dug up shows a turtle on a metal pipe in the wetlands, as well as one floating under the water on the left. (Yesterday we counted 20 turtles on a half submerged log, which was certainly more epic ;))
I think anyone interested in native flower gardening probably already enjoys spending time out in nature, but I highly recommend seeking out unadulterated natural areas near you to find inspiration for your native flower garden.