Local ecosystems shape Larch Park’s unique landscaping guidelines. Here’s the back story that inspired the community planting and plant lists, a brief introduction to the nature of the area.
Edmonton is located within a long strip of Northern prairie that stretches from the foothills to Saskatchewan. The strip is called the Rough-Fescue Prairie, after a prolific native grass called Plains Rough Fescue, or festuca hallii. In the mix are other grasses, sedges, shrubs and forbs (non-woody perennials) that support animal life. When bison and fire were the major landscape disturbances, this ecosystem dominated the landscape.
Significant breeding places for many warblers and waterfowl, Aspen Parkland borders grasslands and thrives in moist habitats. Other trees and shrubs, like poplar and willow, join the aspen and contribute to the landscape’s mosaic. Amphibians hibernate in the leaf litter during the winter, where they run the risk being stomped on by larger residents. Fresh snow reveals the footprints of foxes, voles, snowshoe hares, plus the occasional mink or beaver.
Coniferous and Mixed Forests
There are mixed forests of spruce and aspens in the neighbouring valleys of the Black and Whitemud Creeks. Black spruce forests ring wetlands and live in moist soils. White spruce live in drier soils of upland slopes in the valleys. The understory plants of spruce differ from aspen and prairie ecosystems, increasing the biodiversity of Larch Sanctuary and surrounding area.