RV There Yet is located about 13 kilometres north of Red Deer. Contributed photo

Planting, camping, golfing popular this long weekend in central Alberta

It’s the season to get outdoors – be it in your backyard, or at a campground or a golf course.

Central Albertans who enjoy gardening and planting are starved for green, said Gloria Beck, owner of Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre.

“People are anxious, they’ve had a long winter, they want to see green and they want to beautify their garden, or balcony or patio, because everyone is sick of winter,” she said.

The Victoria Day long weekend is upon us and Mother Nature may also be giving us all her blessing – almost.

The weather forecast for Red Deer shows a high of 13 C Friday and a 40 per cent chance of showers Friday night, with a low of 3 C, according to Environment Canada.

On Saturday, expect clouds with a high of 11 and a low of 2 at night.

Sunny skies follow Sunday and Monday, with a high of 14 and 16.

That might mean the weekend is favourable for planting, said Beck. She advises gardeners to watch for nighttime temperatures, because if it does freeze, tender plants or annuals may need covering.

“It’s cool, but it’s fine for planting,” she said Thursday.

Central Albertans are often drawn to plants they can eat, because they want a healthier diet, she said.

Even first time gardeners are into edibles, choosing to plant lettuce, chard and fruit bushes such as Saskatoon berries and raspberries, she added.

Those who are making last-minute plans to get out and camp this long weekend will be happy to know there are spaces available at Discovery Wildlife Park. The campground in the Innisfail area is popular with families, said co-owner Debbie Rowland.

Overnight, they can listen to the sounds of animals from the nearby zoo.

What attracts people to the campground is the availability of space, said the co-owner.

As of Thursday morning, about 50 per cent of the campground was booked, she added.

So far, the campground is busier this season than the last.

“Word is getting out, that’s what we’re thinking: that people are finding out about us,” said Rowland, whose campground has only been open for a couple of years.

On the other hand, RV There Yet Campground, located just north of Red Deer, is completely booked for the weekend. Owner Marcie Jeffries said that’s typical for the first long weekend of the season.

She said there are sometimes cancellations, but people also show up at the last minute to see if there are spots available.

She said the lack of any fire bans in Red Deer County, where the campground is located, makes camping popular.

“For the most part, people show up because they’re just happy to get away for the first long weekend,” she explained. “People are just excited to be done with winter.”

What attracts people, who are usually from central and southern Alberta, is the proximity to the city of Red Deer, she said.

“We’re located close to the city, but yet we’re in a country setting, so a lot of people like that. It’s handy for amenities, but we still offer them a country setting, so they feel like they’re getting away.”

The May long weekend also kicks off the start of golfing season, said Red Deer Golf and Country Club general manager Don McFarlane.

Many central Albertans have booked their tee times, and for the most part, the club is fully booked for the weekend.

With only a few evening spots still available as of Thursday afternoon, McFarlane expects it’ll be a busy weekend. That’s one of the main reasons the club does not host tournaments at this time of year; so the course is available to the public.

“At this time of the year, the interest in golf is high. Everybody is anxious to get back out and get playing, so we think we’ll be quite busy,” he said.

For those looking to enjoy some shopping, Red Deer’s Saturday outdoor market returns this weekend. Market-goers can peruse a wide variety of produce, craft, plant and antiques booths in the parking lot of Servus Arena and the Red Deer Curling Club.


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Discovery Wildlife Park campground is located south of Red Deer in Innisfail. Photo contributed

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