Unnassumingly nestled into The Forks site between the Canopy Plaza and Oodena Celebration Circle is one of our city's loveliest horticultural gems, the Prairie Garden.
The tall grass prairie garden is home to 75 different native plants, and for many visitors to the site from outside Manitoba it will be their only experience encountering a prairie garden of this kind. Plants like the prairie crocus, switchgrass and western red lily are among what you will find in the garden. The Forks is indebted to Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) for all their efforts and expertise on ensuring that these plants, as well as many others, are authentic in their indigenous roots to the province. It's not your typical well-manicured, tidy little garden that screams, "Hey! Look at me and all my bright, pretty, symmetrically planted flowers!" Rather its subtle, slightly wayward, and modest beauty invites passersby to take a closer look at the various grasses and flowers that just naturally fit into their surroundings.
Bridging the space between the historic pedestrian railbridge, Oodena Celebration Circle, and the Variety Heritage Adventure Playground along the Red River, the Prairie Garden is a reflection of Manitoba's history before there were markets, train tracks or stables. The garden is another reminder of the rich history and topography of where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. The garden is filled with identification signage for plants, so even if you're not an expert in the horticultural department, you will know what it is you're looking at.
So, next time you're passing through the site on your way from The Market to the Railbridge or the Payground, why not stop for a moment to smell the flowers?