What is a Legacy Prairie?


Honestly, I am not sure what a prairie is doing in Niagara Falls, but it sure is a pretty installation.

I know very little of prairies never living in the mid west or Central Plains myself. Using fire or cattle to control a prairie is also not something to expect in Niagara Falls.

Research did not yield any Western NY prairie history either. What I did find out about this Legacy Prairie was that it was billed as a combination of different ecosystems found in different parts of the Prairies. This makes me think it is representative rather than a recreation of a prairie found through our local history. There are examples of tall grass, alvar and sand barren prairie here.


I very much commend the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture for this unique garden with native plants. Relatively new, it was created in 2014.

I was there on a very warm, sunny day and really did not see much insect activity unfortunately. A few bees and one dragonfly. You know I would surely photograph them if  they were plentiful. I bet a later visit will have a number of pollinators.

This garden likely is geared more into summer and fall by what I saw growing. I will take you back again once in summer and again in Fall to follow the bloom cycle. The grasses, Monarda, Asclepias tuberosa, Asclepias incarnata, Echinacea pallida, Solidago, and Liatris spicata should be stunning come late July and into September.

I love these semi-permeable pathways you see in the gallery. They help direct water through and back to the roots of the plants. They also shed water to the small water feature. We have had little rain so the small water area is barely holding water, shown below.

My only thought about this garden is why there is not more information posted. Next time I visit, I will be sure to ask for some printed information. I want to know why this is considered a prairie and not a typical meadow, more commonly found in our area. Prairies have a greater percentage of grasses (not seeing trees for miles) and you can see grasses in the images, but with the trees backing it and wet areas, it reads more meadow to me. I have something to happily learn from them I guess.

Do I have any prairie plants in my garden? Next post, see the list of front and side garden plants. There are a few that might sneak in like in this garden. I just have few grasses.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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8 Responses to What is a Legacy Prairie?

  1. swo8 says:

    I always learn something new from you Donna. Thanks for the post.

  2. What a fascinating place, Donna. Like you I would like to know more about it. P. x

  3. Interesting. It looks very different from Tasmanian native grassland, much greener. What are the pathways made of? Permeable concrete, or something entirely different?

  4. Karen says:

    This garden looks very interesting, I’ll be looking forward to your followup post. Is it a large parcel of land? The walkways are a new concept for me, too, great idea.

  5. I hadn’t heard about this prairie garden. Once again, thanks for letting me learn something new.

  6. Laurin Lindsey says:

    It is wonderful that they have put in a prairie. It seems prairies are making a comeback and people are starting to realize their importance. Here in Houston our native Gulf Coast prairie lands are being consumed by suburban developments. This has lead to more flooding : (. I use a lot of prairie plants in my designs. The thing I only learned a few years back it that if they don’t freeze to the ground they will need a good cutting back since we don’t have wild fires, deer and other animals eating them back to the nub. So we have mimic that effect in our personal gardens.

  7. This reminds me a bit of the Curtis Prairie at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It was also designed so that it would have a variety of prairie plant communities – wet, dry, etc.

  8. rose says:

    I am wondering, too, why it is called a legacy prairie. We have several prairie restorations in our area, and I do enjoy visiting them. You should definitely visit again in mid-July; that is usually when prairie areas here are in full bloom and insects the most abundant.

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