Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Garden Art Makes A Splash at Lang Creek

A school of life-sized salmon sculptures now greets visitors to Lang Creek. 

The "Salmon Garden" is the latest in a series of garden projects coordinated by the Lang Creek Garden Steering Committee and developed by many Friends of the Garden and community supporters.

The new art installation, which has been months in the planning, features thirteen metal sculptures gifted to the project by Powell River metal artist Peter Elvy.  Peter is passionate about the environment and excited to realize his blacksmithing skills could be used to make a statement about the importance of restoration and salmon enhancement.  Always the conservationist, Peter used recycled, plate steel and rebar in the crafting of the fish. 

A host of volunteers, equipment operators and donors were ready and willing to do their part to hatch the new project.  A vote of thanks is due each and every one of them. 

George Illes installed the metal anchoring rods to secure the fish and contracted the landscaping materials.  Terry Gustafson and Adams Concrete supplied and delivered the soil.  Rick Manson looked after the preliminary excavations.  Pete's Plumbing provided irrigation materials.  Dave Williams did a marvelous job with his machine work and artistic placement of the large, feature rocks donated by Mark Hassett.

Powell River artist, Wendy Halliday, and visiting artist, Judith Gilley from Shawnigan Lake, who is Michael Stewart's sister, were most helpful with their suggestions for layout and placement of the fish.

Fortunately, early in the planning stage, the Salmon Garden caught the imagination of grass expert, Ewan MacKenzie.  A horticulturist from Abbotsford, Ewan is well known in gardening circles throughout BC.  He visited Lang Creek in the fall of 2009 as a guest speaker for the Powell River Garden Club.  Impressed with Lang Creek Garden initiatives and the roles played by many volunteers, Ewan offered to design a layout with ornamental grasses to compliment the sculptures.  He generously donated sixty-one plants through his business, Exemplar Horticulture. 

While the Lang Creek gardens feature native plants of southcoastal British Columbia, the design team agreed to use non-native ornamental grasses for impact to lend colour and dramatic highlights to the installation.

On November 13th, Ewan delivered the new arrivals to the site and supervised and assisted with the planting.  Friends of the Garden volunteers enthusiastically spread loads of soil and helped with the planting.  As a result of their work, four different varieties of grasses including Festuca idahoensis, Panicum virgatum, Deschampsia cespitosa and Molinia caerulea now form a beautiful wave-like pattern.

Three pieces of Lois Lake driftwood, contributed by Barb and Dave Rees, add a finishing touch to the new garden.

In the Spring of 2011, the Salmon Garden will be completed with a crushed rock pathway and bench seating constructed by Lane Large with funds donated by the Oceanview Student Council.  

All involved in the project are delighted with the results and agree that it is a joy to see the fish and grasses dancing in the wind and occasional flurries of snow!  Our many visitors are already catching the action with their cameras.

Once again, we gratefully acknowledge all volunteers, donors and contributors for making the Salmon Garden a reality.  It takes a village to build a garden!

For more information about the Lang Creek Garden Projects, please contact Steering Committee Members -- Liz Kennedy, Michael Stewart, Gail Scholefield; Laura Johnson, Powell River Salmon Society Garden Rep; Shirley Cole, Master Gardener

Article kindly submitted by Gail Scholefield





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