The Galt Museum & Archives is home to a unique public garden highlighting prairie plants, created by the Lethbridge & District Horticultural Society to celebrate its 2009 Centennial. Their goal was to build an environmentally sensitive garden, and they commissioned Lethbridge-based horticulturist June Flanagan to design it. The Galt and the Alberta Native Plant Council collaborated as partners in the project.
Over 50 species of prairie wildflowers, grasses and woody plants are featured, and something is always in bloom from the time the snow melts in spring until the first fall frost. Autumn leaf colour, and attractive seed stalks, fruit or bark make the landscape appealing in all seasons. The plants attract and provide food and shelter for a variety of birds, insects and butterflies.
The layout was patterned after nature, arranging plants in the garden so they experienced similar conditions to those in the wild. The plants were obtained from regional specialty growers and garden centres or grown from seed by Horticultural Society members, as it is illegal and unethical to dig native plants from public natural areas. Many of these species cannot be obtained anywhere else!
Now the garden is multiplying. In 2011, volunteers gathered, cleaned and packaged the seeds from 18 different species, and are available for purchase at the Galt Museum Store [open daily] and at London Road Market on 6 Avenue and 13 Street South.