June 22, 2013 - 6:00 AM
KAMLOOPS – The caterpillars are crawling along the boulevards of Columbia Avenue while a large butterfly greets visitors to McArthur Island Park. The creative minds of city gardeners are giving Kamloops residents and visitors a reason to smile with the recent installation of annual gardens around the city.
Parks operations supervisor Shawn Cook says giving the gardeners creative freedom is not new, but some of the props they have chosen to use this year are, which is why some beds are standing out this early in the season.
“We want you to decide what you want to do. Try something. Be creative.” Cook says of the directive given to the gardeners.
The city owned greenhouse allows the gardeners to be more creative, and for the city to keep costs lower in doing so. Kirsten Wourms is in charge of making sure all the flowers the gardeners want for the annual beds, planters and hanging baskets are ready for the spring, all 60,000 of them. There are about 60 annual flower beds in the city for a total of about two acres of garden space to play with.
“A simple annual bed is a simple annual bed. If you do something creative it sparks conversation with the public, conversation with the employees.” Cook explains. “I have friends that could care less about flowers and they are actually talking about these beds. The fact they are talking about these beds speaks volumes.”
Lead gardeners Susan Helly, Dawn House, Leah Young and Jerilynn Bartella are responsible for coming up with the plans for their area of the city and Cook says this has sparked a bit of a friendly competition among the group.
Cook is impressed with what the crews have come up with this year and says the creative freedom will remain.
“We give them the creative freedom to do that. I wouldn't tell her she has to do a firetruck every year, it ruins the creativity.”
Among the 60 different sites there is a series of caterpillars, complete with antennae, on Columbia Avenue West, a firetruck design on Summit Drive, a happy face on Columbia Avenue West (McIntosh Heights lookout), the word 'welcome' at the north end of the Overland Bridge, a butterfly (and several other designs) at McArthur Island Park and two attractive swirls on the hills leading up to the old courthouse downtown. These are all in addition to the many perennial gardens the city takes care of.
Many of these sites are still young and the designs are not necessarily apparent at first glance but Cook expects in a couple of weeks the designs will really stand out and will be something residents can truly be proud of.
“We're doing it for the citizens, for the pride factor. That's why we do it, and we love what we do.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013