If one was travelling by wooden oxcart on the Carlton Trail near the settlement town of Arden in the 1870's they would be welcomed by the delicate, lavender petals peeking out of the ground of the wild prairie crocus, blooming by the thousands!

Now during the month of April these lovely signs of spring still decorate the land in and around the village of Arden, located in the municipality of Glenella-Lansdowne.  In fact, Arden boasts to be the keeper of the largest wild prairie crocus in the world! Their town monument springs to life near the south entrance of the village.

And each year, the Lansdowne Heritage Resources & Tourism Committee (LHRTC) invites all amateur photographers to submit their favorite photo to their annual Prairie Crocus Photo Contest.

Committee Chair, Cam Timlick, says the contest has been drawing photographers from across the province for about a decade, this to celebrate the prairie crocus during their annual festival that takes place the first Saturday in May.  

"We have a lot of crocuses in and around town," he says. "We have some fields that are open as a conservation area and each year you can find lots of crocuses growing there."

Timlick was out in that area just a few days ago and hadn't seen them peeking out from under the brush just yet, but by now with the warm sun calling them up it's best to keep your eyes peeled for the purple wonders!

"Sometimes it can be very unpredictable as to when the crocuses are going to pop up from year to year," he adds with a laugh, "and sometimes you have to go hunting for them. Last year there were a lot of crocuses around.  I saw crocuses growing where I hadn't seen them before. They were springing up all over the place last year. So, hopefully that will happen again this year."

In 1906 the Prairie Crocus was officially proclaimed as Manitoba's floral emblem to symbolize the arrival of spring, and the resilience and tenacity of the early settlers making their homes on Manitoba's prairies.

The photos will be showcased at Arden's annual Prairie Crocus Festival taking place on Saturday, May 4th.

"We're hoping for lots of entries and people are welcome to use last year's pictures if they'd like," shares Timlick.  "They can submit pictures of clusters, or close-ups, or some other interesting aspect of where they found them, like popping out of the snow.  Last year's winner had a picture of a bee that was on the flower!"

All entries will be printed in full color in 8x10" size and will be displayed at their local Hall.  The judging takes place by those who come to the festival!  

So, now it's time for a treasure hunt!  Find the ever-elusive wild prairie crocus, snap that photo and submit it!  And then visit the village of Arden on May 4th to join in on the fun at the Prairie Crocus Festival, and the judging!  You'll probably catch a glimpse of that giant crocus before entering town!

Contest Rules:

  1. All photos must depict the Wild Prairie Crocus in natural habitat in the 2023 or 2024 growing season.
  2. Open to amateur and non-professional photographers only
  3. Digital photography only
  4. Entry deadline: Monday midnight April 22, 2024
  5. Maximum of 3 photos per person
  6. Photos accepted will be printed on an 8x10" paper
  7. Photos will be judged by attendees of the Crocus Festival May 4th, 2024
  8. Prints become the property of the LHRTC and may be displayed or used to promote the Crocus Festival
  9. The LHRTC takes no responsibility for lost or damaged entries.
  10. There will be cash prizes for winning entries.

Please identify each photo entry with:

  • Photographer's Name
  • Approximate location and date of photo taken
  • Photographer's Mailing Address
  • Photographer's contact phone number

Email photo submissions to:  crocuscontest@gmail.com

Visit the Arden-Glenella Municipality website for more information, or click HERE!