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Peace Garden would be a beautiful place to enjoy nature, social distance

Submitted Photo Johannes Olwage, director of horticulture at the International Peace Garden, is pictured in the conservatory at the Peace Garden.

DUNSEITH – International Peace Garden Director Tim Chapman said he knows coronavirus restrictions mean that this summer will be different.

However, he has high hopes that visitors will still be able to enjoy the beautiful flower gardens and hiking trails and camping opportunities at the park.

“We’re hoping to have a plan in place to potentially open before June,” Chapman said this week.

The International Peace Garden is currently closed to visitors. Visitors to the garden from Manitoba would still have to quarantine themselves for two weeks when they return home, Chapman said, though the state of North Dakota has eased some of its travel restrictions.

Chapman said when the Peace Garden is ready to open, it will do so with the appropriate safety precautions. Visitors will notice hand sanitizer stations and signage reminding people to stay at a distance from each other. There will likely also be restrictions on the number of people allowed at any one time in the popular Peace Chapel or the conservatory.

“We still want to be able to put together a good experience,” said Chapman and the amount of space to roam in the 3.65 square mile park means people will be able to easily practice social distancing requirements.

Flower beds in the garden this summer will include lots of red and white flowers in celebration of the 150th anniversary last year of the province of Manitoba.

Designs will celebrate Manitoba and the prairie scenery in general.

“Our greenhouses are completely full,” said Chapman.

Johannes Olwage, the director of horticulture at the Peace Garden, received the Sakakawea Award this spring for his behind the scenes contributions to tourism in North Dakota.

Olwage, who lives on the grounds at the Peace Garden with his wife, Jenny, and their four children, said he came to North Dakota to manage the Vitko Collection of cacti and succulents that were donated to the Peace Garden from a private collection and moved from Minot to the Peace Garden.

“Those plants are triple the size from what they were when we brought them up here,” said Olwage earlier this month. “We have so many cacti flowering right now. We are very excited.”

Olwage, who is originally from the African country of Namibia, said he couldn’t possibly pick a favorite from among the plants he tends to. Every one is special in its own way.

Olwage said the garden has been expanded and improved on over the past few years and visitors will find many things to enjoy from the conservatory to the perennial gardens.

Down the road, there are plans for projects that will expand and revitalize the existing Peace Garden so it can remain a jewel that will draw people from far and wide.

Olwage said he believes people will be tired of being cooped up inside and will be looking for a beautiful outdoor space from the Peace Garden where they can wander and still safely social distance.

The International Peace Garden, located on the border between Canada and the United States near Dunseith, was established in 1932 and celebrates the peaceful relationship between Canada and the U.S. Some of the features in the Peace Garden include thousands of flowers planted in flower beds each year, a flower clock, a conservatory filled to bursting with cacti and succulents, and a peace chapel.

For more information about the Peace Garden and when it will be open to the public, log on to the www.peacegarden.com or call 701-263-4390.

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